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Local city officials support repeal of Michigan’s Emergency Manager law

Traverse City Commissioner Jim Carruthers and Traverse City Schools Superintendent Stephen Cousins were among the local officials who gathered at Traverse City’s public waterfront Monday to announce support for efforts to repeal the Emergency Manager law.

“Our new governor is pushing his corporate model and trying to take over what we elected people do,” Carruthers said. “This is something we should fight to stop and keep the power in the peoples hands.”

Cousins said that the school funding crisis was created by moves to use $900 million of the School Aid Fund for other purposes.

“It makes no sense to me that we would enact a law that would strip the power of elected officials … It is a rejection totally of our community values when we say that we are going to create a scenario that bankrupts government and then we are going to bring in people that are going to just slash and burn.”

A better solution to budget problems in local communities is to encourage broader citizen involvement, he said.

“I personally was told by my state representative that this was not something we in Northern Michigan needed to worry about. That this wasn’t for us,” Reject Emergency Managers spokeswoman Betsy Coffia said. “But low and behold the specter rises, schools as close by as Central Lake, Alba and Bellaire, all in Antrim County our neighbor, were named just this last week by their state representative Greg McMaster as very much in danger of their very own emergency manager.”

The State Bureau of Elections has accepted petition language calling for a referendum on the Emergency Manager law.

Opponents of the law must gather about 161,000 signatures in order to suspend the law and have it placed on the ballot.

The Coalition to Build Michigan has planned a June 1 training session for petition circulators.

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