Flint Gets Emergency Manager

DETROIT (WWJ) – As the city of Detroit continues to stuggle in fiscal crisis, Gov. Rick Snyder has appointed an Emergency Manager for Flint.

The state announced Tuesday that Michael Brown, who is currently president of the Prima Civitas Foundation and director of the Flint Area Reinvestment Office, will take control of the city on Thursday, December 1.

“Michael Brown has a strong track record of serving the Flint-area community,” Snyder said in a statement.  “Given his experience in public, private, and non-profit settings, I’m confident he is well equipped to take on this critical post.”

According to a media release, Brown’s appointment follows the governor’s concurrence that a financial emergency currently exists in the city of Flint after the unanimous recommendation of an eight-member financial review team, which included financial management experts from the public and private sectors.

Brown, who served as acting Flint mayor for six months in 2009, “plans to work collaboratively with Flint’s elected officials and community leaders to address the financial emergency and return the city to local control, as quickly and efficiently as possible.”  He will appoint an advisory committee to assist.

“I believe we can work together to resolve Flint’s financial emergency,” Brown said. “This is my hometown, so this is a personal task. With the available tools, I am optimistic we can work cooperatively to restore fiscal stability to Flint.”

Last spring, Snyder signed into law a controversial package of bills that gives emergency financial managers broad, some say dictatorial, powers.

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

Emergency managers have the power to modify or end union contracts, order elections to raise or extend property taxes or take a host of other actions.

A manager may also recommend that local governments consolidate and with Snyder’s approval could “disincorporate or dissolve” a municipal government. Local elected officials may be stripped of significant powers.

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