Detroit faces the strong likelihood of having an emergency manager
imposed on the city
, overthrowing its elected leadership, thanks to a law Michigan voters repealed in November only to have it reinstated in December in the final minutes of a lame-duck legislature. That's a double blow to democracy, and, as Ned Resnikoff details, it's likely to be used to keep advancing the Republican pro-privatization, anti-union agenda
, as emergency managers have done in other Michigan cities:
Since Lou Schimmel became Pontiac’s emergency manager in 2011, he has privatized the Department of Public Works, outsourced police services to the Oakland County sheriff’s office, and turned over the city’s fire department to nearby Waterford Township, killing the public sector unions which represented the city’s firefighters and cops. He’s put every city property, including City Hall, up for sale and cut the city’s public employee workforce by about 90%. And he’s done it all without the consent of the city council. [...]
Managers in other cities have attempted similar maneuvers. In Muskegon Heights, the EM for the town’s public schools fired 158 teachers in Mid-2012 and turned over management of the school district to a private company called Mosaica Education. Reporters later discovered that many of the new Muskegon Heights educators were not legally certified to teach in Michigan. Meanwhile, in the historic union town of Flint, the EM unilaterally imposed contract concessions on public employee unions and outsourced waste collection.
It really is financial martial law, and it's entirely inconsistent with American democracy. But it's the Republican dream in action.
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