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July 17, 2013

Detroit: Emergency Manager Law Rationale

Here is why I believe the Emergency Manager law makes sense and should remain in place for Detroit. The primary argument opposing the law is it takes away the constitutional rights of citizens. I submit that the law creating an Emergency Manager is very similar to a citizen losing much of his rights when he disobeys the law. When a citizen is caught driving under the influence of alcohol he can lose his right to drive. When he is convicted of a felony he can lose his freedom and spend time in prison.

The same concept applies to school districts and cities. Both types of entities are created under the laws of the state of Michigan and are expected to comply with certain rules, regulations and laws. If the entity does not comply with the laws, including meeting certain standards, the state can take corrective action including putting the school district under the emergency manager law.

The rational for such a law is that every citizen of the city of Detroit is also a citizen of Michigan and therefore the state has some responsibility to look out for the best interest of its citizens. Below are questions and answers concerning the Emergency Manager Law prepared by Michigan State University. (Click on the "expand" icon at the lower right corner of the slide presentation to read it in full screen)

Many people are upset because an Emergency Manager Law was turned down by the voters and then the legislature took the issue up and passed a similar law. I agree Snyder handled it poorly but the law was needed and Detroit indeed has an emergency. This may cost Snyder the election and I give him credit for doing what he believes was correct even if the result may be that he is a one term Governor.


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