, , , , , , , , , , ,

Emergency Manager Michael Brown takes over in Flint

Hope For The Future by Flint Foto Factory
Hope For The Future by Flint Foto Factory

Last week Gov. Rick Snyder appointed Michael Brown as the emergency manager for the city of Flint under Public Act 4. A state-appointed review panel recommended a state takeover for the city of Flint, citing recurring cash flow shortages and other financial deficiencies. Flint had an estimated $15 million deficit in 2010 and is projected to have a $7 million deficit in 2011. The Flint Journal explains that:

Brown is under no illusion that fixing the city’s long-standing financial problems will be an easy task.

“I know it’s a major challenge, there’s no glossing it over,” Brown said hours after his appointment was announced by Snyder’s office. “I think there’s a long road ahead and we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Under state law amended in March under Snyder’s administration, emergency managers can strip local elected leaders of their power and have unilateral authority to cut pay, outsource city services, merge departments and, as a last resort, change employee contracts.

Flint Emergency Manager Michael Brown

Brown eliminated pay and benefits for the mayor and Flint City Council, ousted numerous appointees of Flint Mayor Dayne Walling and also canceled City Council meetings until further notice. Brown was interim mayor for six months in 2009 and is the current President of Prima Civitas and director of the Flint Area Reinvestment Office which he founded.  He will receive a salary of $170,000 for the position. There’s a special page now on the City of Flint website where you can view orders of the Emergency Manager.

You can hear an interview with Michael Brown from Michigan Radio and also a series of video responses from Cindy Shafran’s blog.  Follow the discussion at Flint Talk and check out more stories from Flint on Absolute Michigan.

In 2002 the state took over Flint, and Engler appointed Ed Kurtz who issued over 120 directives during his 2 year tenure. Last week the state also took the first steps toward a takeover of Detroit, and Jack Lessenberry notes that the Michigan Emergency Manager law may be placed on hold due to a ballot measure. You can also hear Jack Lessenberry’s thoughts on the Flint and Detroit takeovers and hear what Mayor Dave Bing and other Detroit officials to say about that and share your thoughts below.