Skubick: Call heard in Capitol to overhaul Emergency Manager law

LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – A legislative committee is calling for a major overhaul of the state’s controversial Emergency Manager law.

The recommendation is part of a study of the state’s role in the Flint water crisis.

The conclusion is giving too much power to one person doesn’t work.

The bi-partisan House committee met six times, took 18 hours of testimony and interviewed 60 witnesses.

This was not an investigation of any state wrongdoing but it was a study to see what changes in public policy are needed.

There are five recommendations to modify the states emergency manager law. It was the Emergency Manager in Flint who engineered the switch from Detroit to Flint River water.

  • Three Persons Not One
  • Expert Approval
  • EM Is Liable for Harm
  • More Public Input
  • Cost Not Only Factor

“With one individual focused on financial issues vs. a balanced approach and someone who represents the community who looks at finances but also has government experience is how i think that is a better approach,” explains Sen. Jim Stamas.

The panel also recommends taking away from the governor the power to appoint the state Department of Environmental Quality and give it to a commission.

“The commission would help select the director and it would help make sure you hold that person accountable,” says Sen. Jim Ananich.

However, Sen. Stamas, the Republican chair, is not set on that proposal and does not think the governor is to blame in the Flint water crisis.

“Do we have a mess up here. Yes. Do I blame my Governor? No, I don’t,” say the senator.

Sen. Stamos said he trusts the governor to make a good appointment and when asked about the need for a commission he replied “I felt that even though it wasn’t my key point, it was a key point that should be discussed.”

Lawmakers hope to take up some of these recommendations soon with the objective of avoiding another water crisis somewhere else in the state.

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