26th February 2013
Michigan is trailblazing here, and the machinations of emergency rule are still evolving. I’ve called the emergency managers our modern “dictators” because they resemble the old dictators of Republican Rome, who were appointed for a set period of time (one year) with unlimited powers. Yet Michigan is now about to enter the third iteration of its emergency-manager (EM) law. The first, Public Act 72, was deemed too weak to deal with issues like collective bargaining with the public-sector unions that are bankrupting the state’s cities; it was followed by Public Act 4, which was voted down last November by Michigan residents who thought it gave too much power to the EMs. Not surprisingly, the most vociferous opponents of PA 4 were unions, who feared the EM’s ability to unilaterally break and renegotiate union contracts.