LANSING — A House Bill introduced Wednesday would effectively repeal Michigan’s emergency financial manager law.

State Representative and Minority Assistant Floor Leader LaTanya Garrett (D-Detroit) says decision making needs to be returned to the people in the community.

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“We need to return decision-making in our communities to the elected officials that residents voted into office,” said Garrett. “An emergency financial manager is an unelected official who is not accountable to residents, and that is simply undemocratic.”

The current law allows the governor to appoint an emergency financial manager to have control of a local government’s finances when they believe a city is having financial difficulties.

“The most foundational aspect of our democracy is electing our local leaders,” said Rep. Jeremy Moss, Vice-Chair of House Local Government Committee. “It’s clear that the governor’s use of the current system of the emergency financial managers have failed us and our residents.”

Garrett, the 2nd Vice Chair of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus, spoke out against Gov. Rick Snyder’s recent decision to reinstate an emergency financial manager in Highland Park and argues that the city’s financial distress is due to state underfunding revenue sharing and failed economic policies.

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The city of Highland Park was under the control of an emergency financial manager from 2000 to 2009 according to Garrett. Last year, the Michigan Department of Treasury began another review process and found that the city was in financial emergency.

“Instead of instating and reinstating emergency managers, the state should do better and adequately fund revenue sharing to municipalities and growing the economy in a way that helps areas like Highland Park,” said Garrett.

“The same is true for the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) which is also under an emergency financial manager. The state has had control of DPS for years and yet the district’s debt has grown and the school buildings have deteriorated. I think that clearly shows that this emergency financial manager law is a failure and deserves to be repealed.”

Michigan’s emergency financial manager law, Public Act 436 of 2012.

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