Benton Harbor City Council and Commissioners Stripped of All Power

With the support of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a city's emergency financial manager does the unthinkable.

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Fresh from our "Isn't this America?" file, Todd A. Haywood of the Michigan Messenger is reporting that Joe Harris, the emergency financial manager of the city of Benton Harbor, Mich., has issued an order stripping all city boards and commissions their authority to take any action.

The order, signed Thursday, limits the actions available to such bodies to calling a meeting to order, approving the minutes of meetings and adjourning a meeting. The bodies are prohibited under the act from taking any other action without the express authority of the emergency financial manager, Joseph Harris.

Harris' actions are allowed under a newly approved law that granted sweeping new powers to emergency financial managers. That legislation had drawn large protests, including attempts by some protesters to take over the state capitol. The sit-in resulted in numerous arrests.

What in the world? The people don't get a voice or representation in any matters related to the city in which they live and pay taxes? Apparently this move is spreading. Robert Bobb, the emergency financial manager for Detroit Public Schools, announced that he would use powers granted to him under the act to change union contracts.

See what happens when you don't pay attention and you don't vote? Extremists get into office and strip everybody of their right to representation, including members of their own political party. That is not democracy; nor is Harris' ability to strip elected officials of their power, thereby silencing the people.

Read more at the Michigan Messenger.

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