Michigan communities, school districts left in quandary after Proposal 1 fails

Proposal 1 would have given emergency managers in Michigan any power necessary to fix financial crisis in community or school district

Author: Jay Kuhlman
Published On: Nov 07 2012 08:08:05 PM EST   Updated On: Nov 07 2012 08:25:51 PM EST
DETROIT -

Many Michigan communities and school districts are wondering what's next after Proposal 1 failed at the polls on Tuesday.

The proposal would have preserved the emergency manager law, also known as Public Act 4, which gives an emergency manager the power to do what ever is necessary to fix a financial crisis in a city or school district.

Many are now wondering if the existing emergency manager law remains in place. A hearing on P-A 74 will be held next week.

"I would have preferred to have had that one, but again I think we can succeed working with communities," said Gov. Rick Snyder, who was a supporter of Proposal 1.

Roy Roberts is the emergency manager in the Detroit Public Schools District and said this in a letter to the district today:

"It is regrettable that so much of the focus leading up to the election was about who is in charge and not about the real results that were able to be accomplished under Public Act 4 in such a limited amount of time, including the reduction of the district's deficit from $327 million to $74 million. I have also reached out to the school board to schedule a meeting to discuss how we can move forward in the best interest of educating Detroit's children."

Snyder admits that the legislature is looking at ways to write a new emergency manager law, but not everyone thinks that's a good idea.

"Instead of talking about bankruptcy there ought to be a discussion again, Democrats, Republicans and the locals (unions) sitting down and talking about a process that would end the fiscal crisis at hand," said AFSCME Union Chief Al Garrett.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing summed up what's next by releasing this statement on Wednesday:

"I am confident that my administration, in cooperation with the Detroit City Council and the state of Michigan, will find the right path for continuation of our much-needed reforms.  With or without the support of Public Act 4, our goal remains the reform of city government to better serve the citizens of Detroit."