There is a lot of talk about Emergency Financial Managers these days. Markmaynard.com (for all your Mark Maynard needs), posted an interesting email yesterday. It's from David Palmer, who recently attended a state training session for would-be Emergency Financial Managers. I don't know a great deal about the history of EMF's in Michigan, tax law in Michigan, or the relationship between local governments and the state government. I found this letter very helpful in gaining a deeper understanding of the issues at hand. From the letter:
It is fair to say that there is extreme conflict between the common concept of fairness and democracy, and the abilities of the EM, since there is no opportunity for debate and locally elected officials may have their powers suspended. Just as in a large business, decisions are made to fix the problems regardless of how observers feel about the solutions that are implemented, or who gets fired. While local officials may return to office after the EM leaves town, they are not able to amend the budget put in place for two years, and effectively remain on probation for that period.
As we react to the abilities of an EM to act on the behalf of the state with near impunity, and ponder all the terrible things that could/may/will happen, it is important to remember that we the people have the ability to change this situation by either electing a legislature that will make government more efficient and raise the revenues needed to pay for the services we want, or we can pass funding mechanisms by referendum.