Michigan's Controversial Emergency Manager Law: A panel discussion on Fundamental issues of governance

A 2012 Policy Talks Lecture from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy

Free and open to the public. Seating is limited and tickets are required. Tickets will be available starting Monday, March 12 at the Michigan Union Ticket Office during regular business hours. ONE TICKET PER PERSON.

Auditorium doors will open at 3:30 PM on March 19.

This event will be live web-streamed; a link to the web-stream will be posted here on the day of the event at least 30 minutes prior to the start time. Limited overflow seating for this event will be available in Weill Hall, Room 1110.

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Michigan’s new “Emergency Manager” law (Public Act 4 of 2011, the Local Government and School District Fiscal Accountability Act) has garnered national attention and ignited debate on fundamental issues of democratic governance. Among the law’s most controversial aspects is the transfer of power from local elected officials to unelected Emergency Managers, providing them the ability to make sweeping changes to local government, including the power to terminate collective bargaining agreements. Proponents of the law argue that it encourages local actors to make difficult decisions themselves, negotiating local agreements in order to avoid a state take-over. In cases where that fails, proponents argue that the law provides critical alternatives to municipal bankruptcy. Opponents argue that the law is undemocratic and unconstitutional, and they have launched efforts to overturn the Act.

This panel discussion will examine the law’s impact on citizens, public employees, local governments, and communities in Michigan. Panelists include key leaders from all sides of the issue: Roger Fraser, Deputy State Treasurer, who plays a key role in implementing the law; Brandon Jessup, Chairman and CEO of Michigan Forward, the group leading the charge to repeal P.A. 4; Joseph Harris, Emergency Manager for the City of Benton Harbor, MI; and the Honorable Dayne Walling, Mayor of the City of Flint, MI, which was recently placed under the power of an emergency manager.

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