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Mich. board certifies measure

Voters to decide fate of law this November

August 9, 2012
Associated Press

LANSING (AP) - Michigan voters will get the chance this fall to repeal the state's emergency manager law after a bipartisan panel agreed Wednesday to place the measure on the ballot against the wishes of Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers unanimously certified the referendum for the November election after the Michigan Supreme Court ordered that it go forward. The law, which Snyder signed into law last year, is currently suspended, and administration officials have said an older law granting managers fewer powers replaces it.

Emergency managers were appointed by the governor to turn around poor cities and schools and equipped with sweeping authority to cut spending, sell assets and tear up contracts without the approval of elected officials.

The Local Emergency Financial Assistance Loan Board re-appointed managers in Benton Harbor, Ecorse and Pontiac on Wednesday.

The board said in a release that it appointed Ed Kurtz as Flint's new emergency manager. He's a former emergency financial manager for the city.

The city of Flint said in a release that Kurtz plans to appoint Mike Brown, who had been emergency manager up until Wednesday, as city administrator. Flint was expected to get a new manager because of a technicality in the old law.

Emergency managers also were put in place in public schools in Detroit, Highland Park and Muskegon Heights.

A union-backed group called Stand Up for Democracy collected more than 200,000 signatures to get the referendum before voters. A divided Supreme Court ruled in favor of the group in a dispute over type size on the petitions.

Although Detroit doesn't have an emergency manager, the possibility of appointing one led Mayor Dave Bing and the city council to agree to a deal with the governor that put several strict requirements in place to repair the city's finances last spring, especially pay cuts.



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