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EMs Dispute Claims Of Race Behind Public Act 4

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DETROIT (WWJ/AP) –  State-appointed emergency managers say fiscal responsibility, not race, is behind Michigan’s Public Act 4.

Some opponents of the law fear it will place Detroit under state control and claim it targets cities with large black populations. More than 82 percent of Detroit is black.

A state review team is trying to determine if a financial emergency exists in Detroit, a step that could lead to a manager.

Benton Harbor, Pontiac, Ecorse and Flint have emergency managers, as does the Detroit Public Schools.

Detroit Congressman John Conyers says the law unfairly targets minority communities. Benton Harbor pastor Edward Pinkney says the state wants control over those cities.

But Pontiac’s emergency manager, Lou Schimmel, says Public Act 4 allows him to “accelerate the process” of correcting past mismanagement by city leaders.

As enacted, Public Act 4  allows the governor to take over a local government or school district by appointing an emergency manager to assume the authority and responsibility of locally elected officials. It includes the power to terminate collective bargaining agreements and even dissolve a unit of government.

A state review team is trying to determine if a financial emergency exists in Detroit, a step that could lead to a manager.

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(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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