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re: efm really is "unbelievable"

March 15, 2011

So doing a bit more research about HB-4214, I discovered that it’s only the House version that states the EFM can be “an individual of firm,” whereas the more recent Senate version states that it has to be an individual. The Senate bill does not preclude said individual for being associated with, or influenced by, a private corporation, however.

In addition, the EFM must have “a minimum of 5 years’ experience and demonstrable expertise in business, financial or local or state budgetary matters” to be qualified for the position,” not just two days of training and to pay a fee. (It seems the report I read stating that “a candidate needs to undergo only two days of training and pay a fee” must have either excluded, or was simply unaware, of this additional requirement.)

The EFM would still have control over a municipality’s elected officials, which have no power “except as may be specifically authorized in writing by the emergency manager and are subject to any conditions required by the emergency manager.” However, an EFM would need the approval of a majority of the electors in the municipality under their control to sell a public utility.

The EFM can also “reject, modify, or terminate 1 or more terms and conditions of an existing contract [including collective bargaining agreements]” if the EFM and state treasurer decide that it’s “reasonable and necessary.”

Finally, the EFM, which is granted immunity of liability, has the ability to suspend elected officials’ “access to the local government’s office facilities, electronic mail, and internal information systems” if they fail to carry out the EFM’s orders. The bill also says, “Immediately upon the local government being placed in receivership under section 15 and during the pendency of the receivership, the salary, wages, or other compensation, including the accrual of postemployment benefits, and other benefits of the chief administrative officer and members of the governing body of the local government shall be eliminated.”

While some of the things aren’t as bad as previously reported (or have been since amended), I still think it’s an egregious piece of legislation giving the governor and his appointed EFM far too much authority.

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