Detroit Pension Boards Fighting Back
You have to fight for what’s right. The appointment of Emergency managers by the Governor was as radical an idea as I have seen in politics. Local governments are under threat of being taken over by corporations and privatized.
Detroit Free Press reports: The City of Detroit’s two pension boards have challenged part of the state’s new emergency financial manager law, calling it unconstitutional and a threat to the pension systems.
The lawsuit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Detroit, claims the law gives the governor and state treasurer unbridled power to appoint emergency managers with “czar-like powers” that could usurp collective bargaining rights of city employees who negotiated pension plans. One pension system covers general employees, the other police and firefighters.
The 30-page complaint calls unconstitutional a portion of the new law that the suit claims allows EFMs to remove members of local pension boards “for any or no reason at all.”
The suit is the first challenge to the law, which has stirred controversy because of the sweeping powers it gives state-appointed managers to run financially distressed cities and school districts.
Gov. Rick Snyder and state treasurer Andy Dillon are named as defendants in the suit. Dillon can appoint an EFM when Snyder declares a financial emergency under the law’s guidelines.
The suit was filed on the same day a two-day training session began in Lansing for future emergency managers. It was the second such seminar, and more than half of the 325 attendees were local government and school officials who wanted to learn more about the new law, rather than become EFMs.
Snyder has said the new law is needed to prevent financial collapse of communities hard-hit by falling revenues.
Critics call the law a threat to local collective bargaining agreements and voters’ control of local governments.
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