Former Councilwoman: Don’t Fear The EFM Law

DETROIT (WWJ) – A former Detroit city official says those up in arms over the new Emergency Financial Manager law need to take another look. 

WWJ’s Vickie Thomas spoke with former Detroit City Councilwoman Sheila Cockrel, who said communities should not fear the new emergency financial manager law.

“The issue gets cut, basically in the media, as revolving around essentially a civil rights issue. We’re missing the real point of this law, which is to say, we want to give you the tools you need to make the tough decisions, because we know it’s hard to look across the table and say ‘You’re no longer going to get longevity pay,'” Cockrel said.

Cockrell, who teaches at Wayne State University, sat through a recent emergency financial manager training session.

“This is a question of giving a set of tools to local units of government, school boards and municipal governments as well, with a set of tools to stay away from having an Emergency Financial manager,” Cockrel said. “People understand, you know, here’s the bottom line, there’s no more money.”

Cockrel said communities need to start working together to build their strength.

“In a sense, there are going to be jobs lost. As tough as that is, we have to reinvent ourselves or we will become the first above-ground Pompeii. It’s just not going to survive,” Cockrel said.

Emergency financial managers are appointed by the state to take control of struggling municipalities and school districts.

Governor Snyder said the law lets the state offer help earlier when governments are in financial distress, instead of having to wait until they are on the brink of bankruptcy.

Ultimately, the Gov. decides whether an emergency manager is appointed to a district. The manager then could modify or end union contracts, order elections to raise or extend property taxes, or take a host of other actions.

A manager could also recommend that local governments consolidate and, with the Gov.’s approval, could  dissolve a municipal government.

The law has drawn much opposition from union leaders and Democrats, who say the measure is a state power grab that could set up virtual dictatorships and strip power from local elected officials.

Comments

One Comment

  1. City Employee says:

    If it is easy to look across the table and take our longevity which is paid ONCE a year, then it should also be easy to look at staff for city council and tell them: I can’t give you an $8 an hour raise to cover your health benefits, because I just voted for thousands of city employees to take a pay cut AND pay MORE for their benefits.
    Why should we pay 20% more for health benefits. Would’t it be “easier” is to tell city council staff & city managers… that the city can no longer pay over $150 a month for them to park, Also, you have to start paying your own cell phone bills.

    Then try telling your staff they cant make $14,000 in OT in 4 months. And, get rid of your personal attorneies. Try taking your spring break, the month of August and your winter break without pay. What have you all given up!

    How easy is it to tell the applicants for water board director to take the $160,000 or leave it, because for some reason its wrong for council to vote to increase the salary to $250,000.

    Also, shouldn’t it be easier to tell a person who is earning an $80,000 a year salary AND has a $1,000,000.00 budget that their position is elimanted vs telling employees who make less thatn $45,000, to take more concessions. What other means does the city have to generate income to help with the deficit. Because my $3500 (10% cut) is obviously not helping.
    See how easy it is to tell the Governor, that you have no idea how Kwame was able to get million dollar contracts, because there is no way council would approve or allow millions of dollars to fly out the window. I hope the Governor and/or the EFM (who never worked for the City) holds a meeting with the employees.

  2. CITY WORKER says:

    DETROIT CITY COUNCIL VOTED FOR ALL CITY EMPLOYEES TO TAKE A 10% PAY CUT. THEN A FEW LATER, VOTED TO GIVE EACH OF THEIR MEMBERS AN $8.00 AN HOUR RAISE!
    NOW THEY WANT TO VOTE TO HAVE THE SAME EMPLOYEES (WHO TOOK THE PAY CUT) TO PAY 20% MORE FOR HEALTH CARE.GIVE US AN $8.00 AN HOUR RAISE FIRST!

  3. CITY WORKER says:

    DETROIT CITY COUNCIL VOTED FOR ALL CITY EMPLOYEES TO TAKE A 10% PAY CUT. THEN A FEW MONTHS LATER, THEY VOTED TO GIVE EACH OF THEIR STAFF MEMBERS AN $8.00 AN HOUR RAISE!
    NOW THEY WANT TO VOTE TO HAVE THE SAME EMPLOYEES WHO TOOK THE PAY CUT, PAY 20% MORE FOR HEALTH CARE.GIVE US AN $8.00 AN HOUR RAISE FIRST!

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