Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced Tuesday that the state would appoint an emergency financial manager to Detroit. Beginning Monday, Washington D.C. bankruptcy lawyer Kevyn Orr will begin examining the city’s finances in the hopes that in the next 18 months he can make a dent in its massive debts.
Detroit is only the latest city (and Michigan’s largest) to come under control of an emergency financial manager.
Other cities have fallen under control of EFMs since PA 72 was introduced in 1990, with the aim of allowing the state to intervene in municipalities and school districts facing financial emergencies. Snyder strengthened the law when PA 4 came into effect in 2011, giving an emergency manager extended powers. State voters repealed PA 4 last year, but another law goes into effect in late March that gives an emergency manager the power to dismiss elected officials, abrogate labor contracts, sell off public assets and impose new taxes on residents.
Detroit will be one of six cities under an EFM, leaving nine percent of the state’s population without democratically elected leadership, according to census figures. However, most of the cities are majority African-American. Orr’s appointment in Detroit will put 49 percent of the state’s African-American population under EFMs. African-Americans make up about 14 percent of Michigan’s population.