Representative Woodrow Stanley Speaks on Flint’s Financial Manager
In November, it was announced that the City of Flint would be put in charge of a Financial Manager. Due to the changes made in Public Act 4, passed in 2011, managers who are appointed to manage a municipality’s finances have more control over budget items, including more control over collective bargaining agreements. Supporters claim the new changes allow troubled cities and school districts to become fiscally-sound quicker, while opponents see the act as a violation of democratic principles by giving too much power to the state and to an appointed official that cannot be held responsible by voters in the area.
Representative Woodrow Stanley represents a majority of the City of Flint and is opposed to P.A. 4, as well as the takeover of Flint. However, the problem is not just about who is in control of the city, but the direction of the State of Michigan and its attitude toward funding local government, schools, and helping the needy.
When asked if Flint’s financial situation was dire enough to warrant a financial manager, Rep. Stanley pointed out that the trouble that Flint, other cities, and schools districts face are not holes they dug themselves into by corruption or poor decision making, but the result of the legislature in Lansing not investing money into schools and giving less back through revenue sharing to local units of government to fund city projects and law enforcement. Indeed, the economy also has played a role in the amount of revenue being taken in by the state, as well as the level of need in communities for assistance or unemployment.
As far as his opinion on financial manager Michael Brown’s appointments to help him serve and his feelings about how the city has to pay for his salary, Rep. Stanley said the entire act creates a situation with no real winners; neither for Mr. Brown nor city residents. City residents will have little control or say in the decisions made by Mr. Brown and Mr. Brown faces a situation in which he has little resources to work with to try and turn Flint around.
When asked if Representative Stanley had any other remarks or messages to constituents, he said this “I am optimistic about our city, because of its people and grand history, but I am saddened by this legislation and the Republican administration’s goal in killing our townships, cities, and counties. I know changes to revenue sharing, dollars allocated under the old MBT for redevelopment, deteriorating roads, taxing the elderly, and cuts to education hurt our communities. It is time for change.”