By William K. Black
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder secured passage of “Public Act 4, the Local Government and School District Fiscal Accountability Act. The Act allows the Governor to appoint emergency managers (EMs) for any government in Michigan. The EM has unlimited dictatorial powers. He can – and the EMs appointed by Snyder have exercised this power – effectively eliminate the elected government. Republicans have blocked a challenge to this remarkable law; arguing that the petitions had too small a font. Snyder has used the EM power to take over primarily cities with African-American majorities.
Chris Savage, writing in The Nation, quoted the Benton Harbor EM’s putsch:
In April the Benton Harbor EM, Joe Harris, decreed: “Absent prior express written authorization and approval by the Emergency Manager”—himself—‘no City Board, Commission or Authority shall take any action for or on behalf of the City whatsoever other than: i) Call a meeting to order, ii) Approve of meeting minutes, iii) Adjourn a meeting.’” The move in effect abolished Benton Harbor’s elected City Commission and replaced it with an unelected bureaucrat, perhaps the first time this has happened in US history.
I grew up in Michigan so I follow Snyder’s assault on democracy and African-Americans fairly closely. I can now report that European “austerians” are following Snyder’s lead.