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Michigan: Financial Swat Teams Being Trained to Restructure Local Cities and Counties Denying Citizens Rights to Representative Governing

April 26, 2011

The private companies will play an important role in state restructuring, said Joyce, the Ecorse emergency manager. For example, Southfield-based Plante & Moran PLLC works on accounting services and Miller Canfield Paddock & Stone Plc, a Detroit law firm, provides legal counsel to Ecorse, she said.

On Bloomberg Midday Surveillance with Tom Keane this morning, his guest reported financial “swat teams” are being trained to manage Michigan’s cities and counties amidst their fiscal crisis. Wake up Michiganites! Your state government is being restructured by corporate interests!

The ruse on this whole deal is the state is inviting public employees to participate in this unconstitutional action as though their involvement makes them stakeholders and thus legitimizes the action. This manipulation runs roughshod over citizen run representative government.

Bloomberg wrote an article on April 17th. Here is the justification laid out in a logical fashion but completely denying citizens rights to run their own government.

“The knowledge and expertise from both the private and public perspective can help an emergency manager do a better job,” said Joyce Parker, who has been in charge in Ecorse since November 2009. Public officials can better understand the best ideas of industry and company experts can learn about government operating environments and open meetings requirements, she said.

SWAT Approach

“A SWAT team is an OK way to look at this,” said Michigan State University’s Eric Scorsone, an economist who helped organize the class with the turnaround association. “This is coming together on the fly. We’ve had the program for 20 years without any real training.”

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican, signed a law March 16 granting state-appointed financial managers new powers that include terminating employee contracts and suspending collective bargaining for as long as five years. Snyder said the added restructuring powers will help keep Michigan communities out of bankruptcy. Enactment of the law came as governors in Wisconsin and Ohio confronted thousands of protesters against measures aimed at curbing union power and cutting state costs.

Michigan has emergency managers running the schools in Detroit as well as the cities of Pontiac, Ecorse and Benton Harbor. Flint, Hamtramck, Highland Park and Three Oaks Village have had managers in the past. Hamtramck has sought to reorganize under Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, which the state has refused to permit.

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