Hunter Opposes Emergency Manager Takeover of Detroit
Hunter urges local elected officials to get financial house in order to prevent state takeover
LANSING—Senate Democratic Floor Leader Tupac A. Hunter (D-Detroit) voiced his adamant opposition today to a possible takeover of the City of Detroit by an Emergency Manager following comments from Detroit Mayor Dave Bing to City Council members that a takeover is likely unavoidable. According to news reports, Mayor Bing discussed a possible intervention of a state-appointed Emergency Manager with City Council members in a recent private meeting.
"We should be treating the takeover of the City by an Emergency Manager as an absolute last resort, not a foregone conclusion, and any comments to the contrary clearly overlook the gravity of what a state takeover would mean for Detroit, its workers and its residents," said Senator Hunter. "We should be fighting it at all costs, not surrendering, and I urge the Mayor and City Council to get our own fiscal house in order so that someone else doesn't have to come in to clean up our own financial mess."
The City of Detroit recently had to return $9.2 million in federal funds intended to help low-income homeowners reduce their energy bills this year because the City was unable to spend the money in time. This is a prime example of the poor financial management by the City that has continued to squander vital funding intended to help Detroit residents. Another example of the City's financial mismanagement was when the City's Human Services Department was forced to return $7 million in federal funds intended for the Head Start early childhood education program.
"The City is certainly not doing itself any favors with these high-profile incidences of mismanagement of funds, but we need to take the lead on fixing our own problems instead of ceding control to an Emergency Manager," Hunter said. "We need to all come together—state and local leadership, unions and residents—to make the tough decisions to avoid a financial emergency and keep the management of our City in our own hands."
Senator Hunter warned that a takeover of Detroit by an Emergency Manager comes with way more risks than rewards, and puts the economic vitality of the whole region in jeopardy. Senator Hunter opposed the Emergency Manager legislation in the Senate over concerns that the gubernatorial appointees are given too much power and autonomy with little to no oversight. Emergency Managers have the ability to oust elected officials and overtake local governments and schools, break contracts, undo collective bargaining agreements, privatize government services and lay off teachers and public employees with absolutely no input from or accountability to the community.
Sen. Hunter represents the 5th District, which is comprised of Northwest Detroit, Dearborn Heights and Inkster. He serves as the Minority Floor Leader. He is the Minority Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Banking & Financial Institutions and the Senate Committee on Economic Development. He is a member of the Senate Government Operations Committee.