The Michigan Court of Appeals says state review teams don’t have to meet in public as they decide whether a city or a school district faces a financial crisis. That decision is one of the steps in the process that can lead to the governor naming an emergency manager.
Opponents of the emergency manager law sued under Michigan’s open meetings law. They want to overturn the consent agreement between the state and Detroit and to oust the emergency manager running Flint.
Sarah Wurfel, Governor Rick Snyder’s press secretary, says it’s time for the legal battles to end.
“The litigation has been rampant,” she says. “We’re focused on really moving forward now, and now with this affirmative ruling from the court that says there was no violation, and we can actually move forward is good news for the state of Michigan and for the city of Detroit and for some of these communities in distress.”
But Robert Davis, who filed one of the lawsuits, says the court made a mistake and he plans to appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court.
“The financial review teams are able to exercise extraordinary powers, including issuing subpoenas and compelling testimony of local elected officials, and, certainly, since they are discussing financial management of a local unit of government certainly that should be open for every person and every citizen to be privy to,” Davis says.
The Court of Appeals is also still deciding whether to allow a referendum challenging the emergency manager law on the November ballot.