Santiago Esparza writes in the Detroit News
Benton Harbor — In a move believed to be the first under sweeping new state legislation, Emergency Manager Joseph Harris suspended decision-making powers of city officials Friday.
Officials only can call meetings to order, adjourn them and approve minutes of meetings as part of the order issued Friday.
The action is likely the first since Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law in March a new statute that grants more powers to emergency managers appointed by the Treasury Department to take over distressed schools and communities.
At least one elected Benton Harbor official was sanguine about the order. “It doesn’t bother me,” said City Commissioner Bryan Joseph. “I’m in favor of it.” Joseph said he has watched financial mismanagement for decades, which was one of the reasons he ran for election in 2008.
“This is sad news for democracy in Michigan,” said Mark Gaffney, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “With the stripping of all power of duly elected officials in Benton Harbor … we can now see the true nature of the emergency manager system.”
Read More: Detroit News