Republican Governor Rick Snyder out of Michigan has put a new controversial law he signed last month into play and completely shut down the city government of Benton Harbor. The city’s Mayor and commissioners held their regularly scheduled commissioners meeting Monday, but couldn’t conduct any business. Snyder’s new law allows him to put Emergency Manager Joseph Harris in total control of all functions of government.
Wilce L. Cooke, Mayor, City of Benton Harbor, Michigan, said the following about House Bill 4214:
“What some of the State of Michigan’s House and Senate representatives have done in supporting House Bill 4214, is and will be an absolute travesty to the citizens and the entire State of Michigan. This bill, which I believe to be unconstitutional and illegal, will be a great downfall to our state. This party-alliance voting, by Republicans, did not provide any solutions, blue print, and/or plan. Michael Moore said it best when he commented on the day the Senate passed this bill, by calling this day, “The Ash Wednesday Massacre” when Michigan voted to end democracy.
The residents of Benton Harbor are furious. Emergency Manager Joseph Harris doesn’t answer to voters, he only answers to the Treasury Dept. He was appointed the post a year ago under then-governor Jennifer Granholm, but only had the authority to handle financial matters. According to Harris, the Department of Treasury will reinstate the power of elected officials as soon as the financial emergency is over. Of course it’s up to the dept. to decide when that may be. City commissioners compared Harris to a city dictator, forced on the people by the state.