You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 3:34 p.m.

Ann Arbor Education Association to head local effort to repeal emergency manager law

By Kyle Feldscher

This Saturday, the Ann Arbor Education Association will announce local plans to repeal the emergency manager legislation that was passed earlier this year.

Association president Brit Satchwell said the announcement will feature a press conference followed by a training session on gathering signatures on the group’s petition. The event begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at AAEA offices, 4141 Jackson Road.

Satchwell said state Sen. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor, Rep. David Rutledge, D-Superior Township, Ann Arbor City Council member Sabra Briere, 1st Ward, and Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber are all expected to speak at the press conference. Steve Norton, an Ann Arbor resident and public education advocate, is also scheduled to speak.

Satchwell said the campaign to repeal Public Act 4 is gaining supporters on both sides of the political aisle.

“The diversity of the groups who have and will soon endorse this campaign is a function of the universality of the threat imposed by PA4, an attack on the very core foundation of democracy: one person, one vote,” he said in a statement

Public Act 4 expands the powers given to emergency managers in charge of cities, townships and school districts. Opponents criticize emergency managers' authority to nullify union contracts, among other powers.

Ann Arbor is one of the Michigan cities to hold an effort to repeal the legislation. Other groups will head campaigns in Detroit, Grand Rapids and Traverse City, Satchwell said.

The petition campaign requires 161,400 signatures to get a repeal of the legislation on the ballot. Satchwell said the group’s goal is to get 250,000 signatures within 60 days.

The announcement is open to the public. For more information, email Satchwell here.

View Larger Map

Kyle Feldscher covers K-12 education for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.


Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 12:45 p.m.

Rick, PLEASE come knocking at my door as you did in 2010 so you can explain to me your "moderate" stance, which is how you described yourself then. But before that, PLEASE tell us how many times as a "moderate" you broke ranks with the RepubliKan majority in votes on the senate floor. From where I sit, it appears that you are thoughtlessly in lockstep with the governor's radical agenda, but why don't you show us proof of your "moderate" and "independent" streak. And PLEASE know that you can sell the lemmings who vote RepubliKan every election the line of bull in your link, but those of us who can read and can think on our own know otherwise about the EFM bill. Moreover, those of us capable of independent thought know that the Snyder budget, for which you voted at every turn, is designed to put dozens if not hundreds of communities and school districts into financial distress so that the governor can appoint EFMs for them. You were going to lose re-election before this re-districting because, like the governor, you misrepresented yourself in your campaign. This just seals the deal. Good Night and Good Luck

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 10:11 p.m.

Joe Hood asks: "Why doesn't the Ann Arbor Education Association voluntarily shift to a 401K type retirement like the rest of us taxpayers have (if we are lucky)." Good Question. And it is amazing how many people don' know the answer to this question. It is because THEY CANNOT. All K-12 employees, whether unionized or not, are required BY LAW to participate in MSPERS. Want to change the pension system for K-12 employees? Change the law. Good Night and Good Luck

Fire Rick

Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 4:57 a.m.

@ Charlie Brown's Ghost Joe Hood asks: "Why doesn't the Ann Arbor Education Association voluntarily shift to a 401K type retirement like the rest of us taxpayers have (if we are lucky)." Reread the statement. Changing the law is not his point. Joe Hood is suggesting that the AAEA members VOLUNTARILY shift to a different retirement plan. Joe says nothing about changing the law and, even if he did, it's not up to AAEA members to change it. We have to leave that to our brilliant lawmakers.

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 3:24 a.m.

"Change the law." Duh. That's his point. Good Night and Good Grief.


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 10:01 a.m.

@Sanpshot, if you think the only concessions teachers have made is from their retirement programs, I have some info for you. Almost every contract in the state in recent years either includes pay cuts or no raises for several years in a row. Teachers also are paying much more for their health benefits in co-pays, prescriptions, and premiums. Budget cuts to schools force teachers to pay more out-of-pocket for classroom supplies. Finally, teachers are working with larger class sizes which increases their work loads. Like you say, education takes time and effort; we should be supporting those who give their time and effort every day on behalf of our kids.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 9:28 p.m.

"The Census website shows no decline in the median wage for teachers in Michigan" Link, please. Else you're just makin' it up. And that link notwithstanding (don't worry, we're not holding our breath), as usual, DonBee is talking comparing avocados to sh1's apples. Good Night and Good Luck


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 9:14 p.m.

sh1 - The Census website shows no decline in the median wage for teachers in Michigan. On the other hand it shows the average household income in Michigan has fallen by more than $2,000 (on a base of $36,000) over the last 5 years. Whether you like it or not, teachers and other government workers have done better than the private sector. No I do not want to cut your pay, that is not my point. My point is that you need to be aware of what the people who pay the taxes that pay your salary and benefits are dealing with.

Robert Granville

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 4:22 a.m.

An EFM can make my vote disappear. That is all that matters about this law. I don't care who bankrolls the repeal campaign. I don't care who supported the law as a bill. I don't care who chalks up a political win. This law must be repealed. If I wanted to give up my right to local representation, I wouldn't vote.


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 6:53 a.m.

Mr. Granville - So can a bankruptcy court. Which do you prefer? If a city declares bankruptcy, then the long term cost of bonds goes up, the pension funds may be terminated, contracts are capable of being voided, so are retiree benefits. The city staff is capable of being fired and all the assets (e.g. parks and parking lots, water systems) are available for sale to settle the debt. The EM (financial was dropped in the undated law) - does not impact the bond costs and the bond rating of the city and potentially the state. Right now there are limits to what an EM can sell from the assets of the unit of government. Your choice sir?


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 4:45 a.m.

I voted for Snyder so I feel my vote matters. I don't think mismanaging officials deserve to impede financiaol salvation, I don't think unions should impede financial salvation, I don't think your vote matters when you voted for, are voting to impede financial salvation. that iswhy the law must stand. Our state viability depends upon it. If you want your vote to matter you better start getting those officials to manage better, If you are one of those official you better start doing your job and start serving the "public" interest instead of vote mongering interests.


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 4:10 a.m.

Roger Roth, please allow me to educate you. The UAW was and is a very large recipient of a taxpayer bailout. Your comment that unions have made "huge" concessions? Give me a number and I'll give you one. The MEA took a lousy 3% increased contribution to their health care to court. Pretty huge? Government workers are receiving "huge" subsidies in their comp plans that they attribute to "negotiated contracts". Bullhooyey! The democratic process is being corrupted and exploited to the max by uncompromising union behavior using misinformation tactics that would put the military's 1960"s "mind warfare and propoganda efforts" to shame. Here's more numbers for you, educator comp plans entail 85% of revenues while those big buck bank CEO's and all their employees comp plans including bonuses average less than 50% of revenues, and they fund and create jobs that generate "additional" revenue. Government employees not only "do not" generate revenue but they have not been doing their jobs well either as evidenced by BP regulators, FEMA and Katrina, and real estate and banking regulators. You don't argue about facts using misleading terminology such as "huge concessions" you use facts and figures. Education takes time and effort.


Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 6:23 p.m.

Emergency Financial Managers will not be necessary if districts and cities deal with their budgets on their own. While I get the objections that many are raising, these objections are mostly out of fear (for those who would potentially have their benefits cut) or lack of understanding of the law. There is too much fearmongering going on. I do not want to see ANYTHING from the MEA on how the EFM proposal "harms children" because we are increasingly seeing that educational unions oppose plans such as this not because of the children at all, but because of their own benefits and retiree benefits. Do the MEA and its allies have any real proposals for alternatives to the EFM proposal (other than amorphous plans to tax the rich and/or businesses)?


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 9:55 a.m.

One example of how this could harm children is that the EFM actually has the power to alter curriculum. So you might be saying goodbye to art and music teachers or lose your science programs. And what's wrong with taxing the rich? They are the only ones who've seen their incomes go up over the last decade while everyone else's remain stagnant or have gone down. You'd rather have teachers pay more out of pocket than the rich?


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 4:17 a.m.

John B. What you're proposing isn't reality. Stop the presses. Unions are doing all the recalling and there is not a corporation clause in the EFM language that I'm aware of and all EFM's are currently human. I suspect they will remain so because many of those elected official need adult supervision and a serious "time out" sometimes. The law is necessary and it's the law and it will stay the law if the court has any brains at all.

John B.

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 12:46 a.m.

So it's just fine with you that local officials that you duly elected can be dumped from office BY A CORPORATE ENTITY without any local recourse? The law states that the EFM doesn't even have to be a person. And the Governor has already begun to slowly push the districts into insolvency by removing state-controlled (but locally taxed and supplied) funds. Does that not smell bad to you?


Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 5:46 p.m.

Note To Rick Olson: The "misinformation" you yammer on about is sourced from your party. There can be no mistaking Richard Dale Snyder refused any more than perfunctory debate last year. At such he was deliberately evasive and even lied. His fraud prosecution is overdue within six(6) months. What the fudge? Your party lied us into bankrupting and horrific wars. Then your constituents robbed America blind with the bankster heists and are only now trying to subjugate both the public at large and constitutional approach to the once Great state of Michigan. If you want to clear the air on taxation without representation, call you own debate on it now. Don't snivel in party threads you are being misunderstood.

Lionel Hutz

Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 1:50 p.m.

The EFM laws are far more democratic than the alternative. An EFM is appointed by a popularly elected governor . Without the EFN law, failing governmental entities would fall into bankruptcy which would be handled by an appointed federal bankruptcy judge. These judges have the power to open and cancel contracts at will So what can you do if you don't like the federal bankruptcy judge or disagree with his/her actions? Not much. Bankruptcy judges are appointed to 14 year terms by a majority of judges of the U.S. court of appeals. These court of appeals judges in turn are nominated by the President and confirmed by the United States Senate and serve a life term - insulating them from political pressures. If you don't like the EFM, you can vote for a different governor. If you don't like a federal bankruptcy judge, you have to grin and bear it. Unfortunately, most folks don't get this and complain about the very laws that are trying to protect them.

Lionel Hutz

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 12:40 p.m.

John B, You missed the point of this article. This article makes no mention of Snyder or his policies. This article is directed to the EFM law and how some feel it is not democratic. My comments are directed to this article and more specifically about how the alternative is far less democratic than the EFM law. Second, Snyder is the governor. If you feel he is so unpopular, the folks who want to recall him should have no problem. However, we'll have to wait another six weeks to see if your statements about Snyder hold any water. Third, Snyder stated that he would get rid of the MBT. Cuts in another areas were expected. That's why the public sector unions fought so hard against him during the campaign, only to be trounced. Elected under false pretenses? That statement could probably be said of every elected official since Washington. Lionel

Basic Bob

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 1:40 a.m.

@John B., "(I didn't vote for him, fwiw)" Well, that would be impossible to guess from your partisan diatribes. Did he win the Republican primary and run in the general election as a Republican? That negates your opinion of false pretenses. The governor does not have the power to change the EFM law that was enacted by the state legislature. Should he be recalled or lose in a landslide in the next election, that would not give the next governor the power to overturn a law. That is part of the separation of powers - "checks and balances" - that you were taught in American History and Government class. Certainly the Governor has some influence on the declaration of a financial emergency, and the most prolific governor in this respect was a Democrat named Granholm. Does that blow you away?

John B.

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 12:41 a.m.

If Snyder had told the truth and said prior to his election that he would do this (and the other things that he has already done - go look at the disapproval numbers), he wouldn't have been elected, so your argument is moot. He was elected under false pretenses (I didn't vote for him, fwiw), so he deserves to be removed from office. It's really that simple.


Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 1:19 p.m.

When a city or school system is so poorly mismanaged and is doomed to bankruptcy, then someone needs to be able to step in and solve the problem. The individual needs to not have any sacred cows in the fight. Those that believe this is wrong, then come up with a plan that will work. Sitting around complaining about a law that was started under Granholm doesn't solve the problem. Attempting to repeal the law doesn't solve the problem. Solutions will solve the problem. Try to come up with one.

Rick Olson

Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 1:12 p.m.

There has been way too much mis-information spread about PA 4 of 2011. The opposition is totally partisan and union rhetoric. See The Truth about the Emergency Financial Manager Bill (PA 4 of 2011) at <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> for my perspective and links to objective sources of information.


Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 12:31 p.m.

&quot;Public Act 4 expands the powers given to emergency managers in charge of cities, townships and school districts. Opponents criticize emergency managers' authority to nullify union contracts, among other powers&quot; Nullify the law because because an EML can nullify their contracts. The public sector unions and their bloated contracts are the primary reason for cities being in such distress. I say change the laws and outlaw unions in the public sector. Good Day

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 10:27 p.m.

Mr. Chief Justice: Yes--the CONGRESS. Not the STATE LEGISLATURE. Good Night and Good Luck

Basic Bob

Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 9:12 p.m.

Article I, Section 8 trumps your Section 10: The CONGRESS shall have the power To... establish uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 5:48 p.m.

The first time any EFM tries to nullify any contract, union or otherwise, there will be a court case in federal court. Article 1, Section 10 of the US Constitution seems pretty clear on this. States cannot void contracts. Period. Good Night and Good Luck


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 10:29 a.m.

Please give an example of a bloated contract.

Greg Gunner

Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 12:16 p.m.

&quot;What you are not acknowledging is that the Ricktator is setting these communities up for financial failure by making drastic and unnecessary cuts!!&quot; I couldn't agree more. In essence the law says we are going to take away local control if you can't pay your bills, and to make sure you can't pay your bills we are going to steal money from the K-12 Education Fund to pad the pockets of Slick Rick and the boys. No more local control + Dictator (EFM) assigned by the Supreme Dictator (Governor Snyder) = Loss of Democracy for the Middle Class and Lower Class workers of this state.


Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 12:15 p.m.

I fully support this effort this effort to repeal the emergency manager law. I understand a version of this law has been in effect for some years, but Governor Synder took this to a whole different level which is inconsistent with a democratic style of government. Elected/designated officials can not just be booted out by the whim of a governor; rather an emergency manager should be working with the elected officials to resolve the issues. Taking money away from schools and then criticizing them for not managing their budgets is ludicrous. Eliminating unions is also not a role of an emergency manager. All of the hostile attitudes being exhibited towards teachers and the teachers' unions is without merit. Teachers are one of our most valuable resources who work tremendous hours and are responsible for such a multitude of tasks and objectives beyond just &quot;teaching&quot;. I note that very few people are protesting the continued exhorbitant benefits and salaries of our elected Lansing representatives and senators. I believe in a living wage and benefits for all, but when one group starts taking pot shots at another group putting themselves above as a rationale for the attacks, rational thought goes out the door and its just all about politics. Our State's budget woes are not caused by teachers or public employees's benefits and salaries, rather the decrease in taxes/income coming into local and State coffers due to the downswing in our economy. Supply side economics has been proven to not work - otherwise we would be rolling in money, jobs, etc. because of the stimulative effect of the Bush tax cuts, etc. However, Governor Synder along with far too many others, continue to beat this dead horse. In the interim, we need to do what we can to try to keep our communities as healthy as possible and that includes the schools.


Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 10:23 a.m.

I know that when people have formed an opinion the last thing they want is something that might make them rethink it, but here's food for thought for the union haters, from Robert Reich: <a href=";facebook" rel='nofollow'>;facebook</a>


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 6:36 p.m.

Charlie Brown -- posted the presentation, but it's given by Robert Reich. Take a look at it. It's only slightly longer than 2 minutes.


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 9:48 a.m.

So your opinion was already formed and you didn't want to see something that might tell you something you don't want to hear. Thanks for making my point.

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 4:36 a.m. Come on. Good Night and Good Grief.


Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 3:08 a.m.

AAEA has claimed their goal is the education of children and that the children come first. I have to wonder how this makes children first?


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 6:47 a.m.

sh1 - So let the union make the decisions, right?


Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 10:25 a.m.

Possible by allowing local districts and elected school boards to make decisions affecting children, rather than an appointed friend of Snyder's coming in from outside to make unilateral decisions.

Joe Hood

Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 3:22 a.m.

As soon as the children begin paying dues, they'll get representation.


Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 2:03 a.m.

AAEA should use their time to figure out how they can provide a better education to our kids rather than how they can protect the Union jobs that are directly responsible for the poor public educaiton system in America. Why do private schools out perform public schools??? they are non union the school boards are non union controlled, they are not politcal pawns, they are there providing what they say they are going to do. Great spend your saturday figuring out how to keep the old system - Pathetic!

John B.

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 12:02 a.m.

@Joe: Catholic schools are subsidized by their Diocese. And that school you mention has involved parents, and can pick and choose which students they accept or reject. You actually proved FR's point!


Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 4:11 a.m.

FIre Rick - There are requirements in state and federal law about public schools providing certain services to ALL children regardless of the school they are attending. If you are in the Public School's service territory, you are to be provided some services. In the current situation the public schools find any reason to delay these services. This results in many families moving back to the public schools to get services. The game is played by everyone on who goes to school where and who gets the funds.

Joe Hood

Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 3:52 a.m.

@Fire Rick: If government run schools are the only answer, how do you explain the success of the twenty-four Christo Rey schools (<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> in inner cities serving low income kids? 100% of the graduating kids go on to post secondary education. And to think, state law allows Catholic school ZERO dollars in state support.

Fire Rick

Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 3:14 a.m.

<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Refer to the link above to understand why some private schools outperform public schools. As a general rule, private schools enroll children whose parents are invested in their education! Even when parents are actively involved in their children's education, private schools are not required to enroll or keep children who are discipline problems. Further, they don't provide the same services that public schools are required to provide with regard to Special Education. Sorry, but comparing private and public schools is comparing apples to oranges.

Joe Hood

Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 1:25 a.m.

Why doesn't the Ann Arbor Education Association voluntarily shift to a 401K type retirement like the rest of us taxpayers have (if we are lucky). I mean if you're looking to make a statement, that would be it. If you're demonstrating because you don't want change, then go ahead, kick the can further down the road.

Roger Roth

Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 11:07 a.m.

&quot;The System&quot; is NOT incapable of fixing the problem; it chooses not to fix it. Why? Two reasons. Because political power and money, forever one in the same, have up to now trumped the ballot box and, two, because people like you accept that it is inevitable, just like you accept the bad roads we drive on, &quot;because there's no money to fix them.&quot; Poppycock!

Joe Hood

Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 3:21 a.m.

@Roger Roth - No, the criticism is not directed at the teacher, the cop, or of the some other public employee. The criticism is directed at a system that is incapable of fixing a problem. The problem is that political figures are beholden to the public unions that got them elected. This is a vicious cycle. The elected political figures have a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayer but are not able to break free from the union money. The EFM is the our only hope. The beauty of this country is that you can be whatever you want to be. The hard part is getting there. The bad part is that you can fall pretty far but that's what family is for.

Roger Roth

Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 2:10 a.m.

One of the real benefits of teaching is the state pension. Many people have been taken to the cleaners by private pension managers. Not only should everyone have a guaranteed pension, like SS, but it should be &quot;livable.&quot; Anyone who depends on a non-guaranteed private pension when a guaranteed, managed public pension is available is jeopardizing their retirement. How is it, do you suppose, that when the Bush administration watched millions lose 50% of their retirement in the Wall St./Bank collapse, Bush continued pushing for privatizing retirement? That might make sense for someone managing other people's money, Like Madoff, but it's a big mistake for working class people. As for the rest of you taxpayers, become a teacher, or a cop, or some other public employee that gets a public pension. Then, when you get nothing but criticism from the public, you can at least rejoice in your pension when you retire. My pension is considerably more than most people earn in a year. I don't apologize to anyone for that. On top of that, I collect SS. And you want me to have gone 401K? Take away the pension and young people will consider other career choices since the real pay to start is closer to minimum wage than you think.

Roger Roth

Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 12:56 a.m.

Just so I understand the truth, the Kool-Aid here, according to some, is that unions are responsible for EFM's being necessary. Is this true? Municipalities are going broke because of unions and their contracts? Unions are bad? I'm just trying to understand. Everything was going along OK with unions for decades, then, suddenly, unions got bad and made it necessary for Republican governors to attack unions and their contracts? My personal opinion is (some here who don't understand might call it Kool-Aid), with corporations having such great influence in our government (I think it's referred to as lobbying) and untold, gargantuan sums of money for lobbying (this comes in many forms), why is it that middle class people (I'm assuming many who post here are members of the Great Middle Class in America) would object to the presence and work of unions as perhaps the epitome of an agency/organization of democracy, as a means to at least slightly level an otherwise highly unfair playing field on which workers and corporate CEO's volley/compete for government &quot;consideration?&quot; A little more Kool-Aid for you Kool-Aid lovers: it's not at all the unions who put municipalities into their dire financial straits. Yours and other world citizens' federal/central governments have been spending themselves into The Tank, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, just to name three, the US has been fighting wars it can't afford, thanks to Bush, and has bailed out and made fabulously wealthy thousands of Bankers and Fund Managers (on your taxes), all this putting the world economy into the toilet, and you have the gall to blame it on working class union members! Shame on you! Yet, union members have made huge concessions, have received no bailouts, and get nothing but criticism from their non-union brothers and sisters and Republican Govs. and Legislatures. OK, glasses up. Hope it's not too bitter.

Roger Roth

Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 9:31 a.m.

Citizens pay for, expect and deserve services of the highest quality. This is still the wealthiest country in the world, yet the fed is sucking states dry by irresponsible, in some cases illegal, and mostly unregulated spending, owing mostly to Republican mishandling of government since Reagan. If you're middle class, you've been on the decline since the 80's and it's not because of unions. You give them way too much credit. I'll ask you this: Where do you think the billions per month to kill people in the MidEast are coming from? If your answer is TAXPAYERS, then apply a little more thought and you will understand why MI and other states are in the tank.


Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 2:13 a.m.

All you have to do is look at the city of AA AFSCME contract, free health care paid for by citizens who do not have or cannot afford health care . Guaranteed cost of living increases, and that is just for starters, lay off the kool aid and take a sniff of the BS you believe is reality which is anything but The governments purpose is to provide services for its citizens in a responsable manner. it is not the governemtns job to create and support a middle class. The services the city provide should be done in a cost saving manner for its citizens the savings can be given back to the citizens not the union boss's who are heavy lobbists and have plent of politicians in their pockets. Oh and the Union members can not even say who their union shoudl support how's that for Democratic process

Roger Roth

Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 1:56 a.m.

Collecting step raises only is a net loss for most teachers, especially considering that salaries have been largely flat for several contracts. Ann Arbor and some other few wealthier districts are least affected, but, for the most part, teachers' real compensation has been declining for several contract cycles. As for the UAW, they have lost thousands of jobs they'll never recoup and their wage and benefits have decreased, all while Ford and GM continue to gain in profits. Snyder only recanted on union rights--the reality remains to be seen--when it looked like it would cost him politically not to.


Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 1:42 a.m.

Roger - So far, the AAEA has made a very tiny concession on some very generous compensation packages, and collected their step raises paid in part with Federal stimulus funds while loudly claiming credit for accepting a pay freeze. On tghe other hand, Rick Snyder specified that his Emergency Financial Manager law, unlike those in Wisconsin, Indiana and other midwest states, was intended to to preserve many union bargaining rights, except in the most egregious cases of unaffordable claims and intransigent unions. The UAW, also a force to be reckoned with in Michigan, was the single largest beneficiary of the auto company bailouts, so don't tell me that unions have received no bailouts. The AAEA should spend their time on something more beneficial, but at least they had the smarts to wait until school was out to start this effort.

Fire Rick

Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 11:29 p.m.

To the so-called supporters of PA 4 in this Comment section . . . you defend PA 4 because you assume that the elected officials in any given community targeted by this Act are not managing the finances properly. What you are not acknowledging is that the Ricktator is setting these communities up for financial failure by making drastic and unnecessary cuts!! I support the AAEA and will be signing to repeal this ridiculous law that threatens our democracy. Way to lead this effort, AAEA!! You have my full support!

Basic Bob

Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 8:50 p.m.

@Ghostie, &quot;there will be dozens if not hundreds of communities and school districts that will be in financial emergency&quot; &quot;Want proof that this what the guv expects will happen?&quot; Sources? Facts? Studies? Analysis? Proof? Or perhaps just Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 10:07 p.m.

Justice Bobby: He has not declared any emergencies yet. That is because the state is still working on Governor Granholm's last budget. When Snyder's budget kicks in, there will be dozens if not hundreds of communities and school districts that will be in financial emergency immediately due to drastic cuts from the state (all the while Snyder's business buddies receive a $1.8 billion windfall). Want proof that this what the guv expects will happen? The &quot;boot camp&quot; held in Lansing earlier this year for prospective financial managers which more than 100 attended. Clearly the guv expects the need, else he wouldn't have held the boot camp. And clearly businessmen anticipate the need, else they would not have attended. So back to Lansing, Bobby, for more right-wing rulings. Good Night and Good Luck

Basic Bob

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 1:55 a.m.

@Fire Rick, The governor does not have the power to enact laws. PA 4 was passed by the state legislature. And please don't dance around the question - exactly HOW MANY emergencies has Snyder declared? How many contracts have been voided, how many assets sold off, how many elected boards suspended? NO local government has the right or the power to run themselves into bankruptcy. If this occurs while at the same time generous union contracts are &quot;negotiated&quot;, then it is only fair that they be voided on behalf of the voters as a breach of fiduciary duty by the elected officers.

Fire Rick

Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 2:56 a.m.

@ Basic Bob You clearly misunderstand the anger over the new EFM law. While it is true that EFMs existed during Granholm's tenure, it's the NEW law enacted in March by Gov. Snyder that must be repealed now! Emergency Financial Managers appointed under this Snyder law are given near-dictatorial powers to dissolve contracts, sell off assets and even disband elected boards. EFMs under Granholm didn't have these powers (and rightly so). Don't forget . . . we live in a DEMOCRACY. It is our RIGHT to vote in officials to represent us and to negotiate contracts. Snyder does not have the right to randomly appoint EFMs to overrule our ELECTED officials and dissolve contracts. Therefore, I choose to exercise my RIGHT to have that monster recalled.

Basic Bob

Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 1:04 a.m.

Talk about revisionist history, they set themselves up for failure BEFORE Snyder was elected. How many EFMs has Snyder appointed compared to Jennifer Granholm???


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 11:26 p.m.

I got in too late to comment; the Kool-aid has been drunk.

Stephen Landes

Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 10:42 p.m.

The effort by the AAEA and others has nothing to do with one man one vote and everything to do with maintaining the union strangle hold on municipalities and school districts. This is about power and the unions trying to maintain what they have. If the unions and their allies are opposed to PA4 then let's see them propose an alternate: municipalities and school districts should be allowed to &quot;opt out&quot; of the emergency manager provision in exchange for being allowed to totally fail, go bankrupt, lose their status as independent political entities, and be swallowed up by their neighbors -- no State bailout. I am not willing to pay the price for a municipality or school district whose residents are so inept that they allow their elected leaders to lead them into bankruptcy. These residents/voters need to hold their leaders and their unionized employees accountable for the financial damage they do either at the ballot box or in bankruptcy court.

average joe

Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 11:53 p.m.

I wish I could vote on your opinion more than once.... Totally agree.


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 10:33 p.m.

When you don't handle your personal finances responsibly and can't make your car payment the bank assigns a personal fiancial manager (called a repo man) to take your car even if you don't want them to and have a contract to &quot;buy&quot; it. Same goes with your house, it ends up in a sheriff sale if not paid for. When irresponsible politicians or city administrators sign contracts that they don't have the financial comprehension to understand and how it will be paid for, someone needs to step in and do the unpopular thing and break the unsustainable contract. I know the unions would like to see the taxpayers bail them out but we're broke too. I'd like to drive a Ferrari but I settle for an old truck because that's what I can afford. Sometimes employers in the private sector hire someone and pay them $200,000 to do a job then have to let them go and they can only find a $100,000 job to replace the one they lost. They then have two choices: readjust their lifestyle and spending habits or have the banks impose their form of financial manager upon them (see repo man above). Why is this any different and why can't intelligent people involved understand this concept? It's because in the past someone was always there to bail them out; those days are gone and the sooner we adjust to the new reality the fatser this country will reach financial equilibrium and begin to heal.


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 10 p.m.

It's about time someone challenged this pathetic law. AAEA, you have my full support!


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 9:28 p.m.

There is a lot more to this Emergency Financial Manager law than the union contracts. These appointed people (not elected) have the power to cancel out ANY contract. It is also nullifying every person's vote in the area these EFMs are appointed, thereby eliminating democracy and introducing a dictatorship. Yes, there is corruption in politics, from the smallest of villages right up to the governor. The solution is NOT to declare citizens incompetent, but rather ASSIST the smaller governments to emerge from financial woes. This law is doomed from the start, as more communities are losing state funds (because the state is also in financial hardship), then being taken over by the same state that helped create the hardship in the first place. This is not the answer.

Will Warner

Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 8:48 p.m.

As I understand it, the State is responsible for municipalities. The State cannot just let them slide into ruin. Even when a city's impending insolvency is not the result of corruption or incompetence, and city leaders have identified and are pushing measures to address the situation, the population may resist. An emergency administrator with the power to make them take the medicine may be what is needed. Better keep the law.

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 1:42 p.m.

If a Democrat was Governor, it would be en entirely acceptable law, in the same way the anti-war yard signs all disappeared when a Democrat was elected President. Good Night and Good Grief


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 8:46 p.m.

Ann Arbor Education association? Is that a chapter of the MEA? If so, I see their motivation. For all those &quot;untouchable&quot; public servant union members, it's time to get back to reality. Without the emergency manager act, the state could have cities, like Detroit go bankrupt. I personally, do not wish to pay for corruption, and mismanagement of another community. Consequently, if enough cities file bankruptcy, our state's bond rating could be ruined. I wonder, is the MEA, or the AFSME going to pay the tab then?

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 8:36 p.m.

&quot;The announcement is open to the public.&quot; Like readers have asked before, when is going to publicly give credit to their volunteer editors when they win their awards each year? Good Night and Good Grief.