Gov. Rick Snyder sat down with the Flint Journal on Friday to defend the reasoning behind the state’s recommendation to install an emergency financial manager in the city. The recommendation was released on Tuesday, hours before the polls closed in the city’s mayoral race.
In Flint, the state’s decision is a controversial one and carries with it a strong sense of deja vu. The city was led by an emergency financial manager from 2002 to 2004. If it is taken over again, it will become the only city in Michigan to have an emergency financial manager appointed twice.
Here is some of the key information handed down by the discussion with Gov. Snyder and the state’s recommendations.
* The state’s Democratic leadership, including Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer, blasted the decision to release the results of the state’s inquiries on Election Day.
* Several current and former Flint politicians weighed in on the state’s findings, including State Rep. Woodrow Stanley and Flint City Councilman Scott Kincaid. Stanley was mayor of Flint during the previous state takeover in 2002, while Kincaid held his current seat on the City Council.
* State Sen. John Gleason, D-Flushing, said he had asked for a “cooling-down period” before the governor made any decisions on how to proceed so all involved can have a chance to plan their next steps.
* Treasury spokesman Terry Stanton said it is not guaranteed that Flint will be taken over by the state, despite the inquiry’s recommendations. Mayor Walling and the city could offer state-approved alternatives.
* Gov. Snyder maintained the emergency financial manager law is meant to help cities get back on their feet faster and that the goal was not for the state to run Flint long-term. He also indicated that the city could still possibly take steps to avoid a state takeover and that he was waiting to hear from city leadership as to their intentions.
* Gov. Snyder also indicated the state was already looking into possible candidates for the position of emergency financial manager for Flint.
* The state has already appointed emergency financial managers for the cities of Pontiac, Benton Harbor and Ecorse, as well as the Detroit Public Schools. Flint would be the first city to undergo state takeover since the emergency financial manager law was heavily altered by state Republicans earlier this year.
* On Friday, Mayor Walling announced he had relieved two employees from the city’s Department of Community and Economic Development and its finance director of their duties. He also indicated that he had accepted the resignation of Department of Community and Economic Development Director Wendy Johnson.
Vanessa Evans is a musician and freelance writer based in Michigan, with a lifelong interest in politics and public issues.