Emergency manager bill draws protestors

LANSING, Mich. — The point of Michigan’s new emergency financial manager law is to keep school districts and cities out of bankruptcy, and to move quickly when they’re on the verge, state officials said Wednesday. But the law served as a spark to protestors who called it union busting, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Gov. Rick Snyder said the law gives the state authority to intervene before cities or school districts collapse and before managers are appointed, the Free Press reported.

At least 10 cities and districts currently may warrant a state review, State Treasurer Andy Dillon said, according to the report.

Critics disagreed with the new powers granted to emergency financial managers, including the authority to cancel union contracts, the Free Press reported. About 5,000 people rallied at the Capitol, both to oppose the bill and to build momentum for 2012 elections, according to the Free Press.

A list posted at the Michigan Department of Education website indicates there were 43 public school districts in deficit as of June 30, 2010, and nine were expected to still be in a deficit position as of June 30, 2011.

Detroit Free Press, “5,000 rally at Michigan Capitol,” March 17, 2011

Michigan Department of Education, “Michigan Public Schools with Deficits

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Mackinac Center Recommendations Found In New Financial Emergency Legislation,” March 17, 2011