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Michigan governor OKs takeover of Flint

A chain-locked gate keeps visitors out of what was once a sprawling industrial complex known as Buick City near downtown Flint, Michigan
A chain-locked gate keeps visitors out of what was once a sprawling industrial complex known as Buick City near downtown Flint, Michigan

By Karen Pierog

(Reuters) - Flint, Michigan, will be run by an emergency manager appointed on Tuesday by Governor Rick Snyder, who concurred with a review team's assessment that the city is in a financial emergency.

Flint is the latest Michigan government to have its sagging finances lead to the appointment of a manager -- a move that comes as Detroit, the state's biggest city, struggles with big fiscal problems that could lead it down the same road.

Emergency managers are currently in place in the cities of Pontiac, Ecorse and Benton Harbor and for the Detroit Public Schools, while the Highland Park School District's finances are under review.

Snyder tapped Michael K. Brown, president of the Prima Civitas Foundation, director of the Flint Area Reinvestment Office and a former Flint acting mayor, to run the cash-strapped city.

"Given his experience in public, private, and nonprofit settings, I'm confident he is well-equipped to take on this critical post," the Republican governor said in a statement.

Flint Mayor Dayne Walling was not immediately available for comment.

The state's review team concluded this month that a financial emergency exists in Flint, which is about 60 miles northwest of Detroit, and that no satisfactory plan was in place to address the city's fiscal problems.

Flint previously had an emergency financial manager from June 2002 through July 2004 and its financial emergency declaration was lifted in January 2006.

Officials in Detroit, meanwhile, have been scrambling to get the city's finances in order amid projections it will run out of cash in April. That news heightened expectations the city could be the subject of a state financial review that could lead to an emergency manager.

A state law enacted in March increased the power of emergency managers, allowing them to modify or end collective bargaining agreements with public sector workers.

(Reporting by Karen Pierog; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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