Rev. Jesse Jackson planning challenge of Michigan's emergency manager law

Published On: Mar 21 2013 08:43:08 PM EDT   Updated On: Mar 22 2013 06:24:06 AM EDT

Detroit’s emergency financial manager, Kevyn Orr officially begins the task of getting the city’s finances back on track on Monday, but efforts to challenge his authority are already underway.

Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. is opposed to the appointment of an emergency manager in Detroit, and is planning a news conference on Friday, March 22 to announce plans to challenge the constitutionality of the law.

The civil rights leader told the Associated Press Tuesday that turnaround expert Kevyn Orr’s appointment by the state is a “constitutional crisis” because it usurps local control.

Detroit Councilwoman JoAnn Watson is hosting the event.  Jackson will be joined by members of Congress, state legislators, city council members, union leaders, community leaders and others.

The conference begins at 10 a.m. at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center on Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit.

Detroit’s Democratic Reps. John Conyers and Gary Peters are asking the General Accounting Office to investigate Michigan’s emergency manager law.  The congressmen made their request in a letter sent to the agency Thursday, one week after bankruptcy expert Kevyn Orr was appointed Detroit's emergency financial manager.

Conyers and Peters asked the office to "conduct a study of the Michigan emergency manager law, including the operation of federally funded programs." 

In a statement, Conyers says it’s "difficult to identify a single instance where an emergency manager has succeeded in turning around the financial fortunes of a city or jurisdiction."

Emergency managers have wide-ranging authority to mend a city's budget.

Benton Harbor, Pontiac, Flint, Ecorse and Allen Park are other cities currently under state oversight.


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