Panel debates Michigan’s controversial emergency manager law

March 14, 2012


DATE: 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday, March 19, 2012.

EVENT: Michigan’s new emergency manager law has attracted national attention by sparking debate on basic issues of governance. Key leaders on all sides of the issue will discuss the law at a panel discussion that is free and open to the public at the University of Michigan.

The law’s most controversial aspects include the transfer of power from local elected officials to unelected emergency managers, who have the ability to make sweeping changes to local government. Proponents of the law argue that it encourages local actors to make difficult decisions. Opponents insist the law is undemocratic and unconstitutional. They have launched efforts to overturn the act.

The panel at U-M’s Ford School of Public Policy will examine the law’s impact on citizens, public employees, local governments and communities in Michigan.

Panelists include:

Roger Fraser, deputy state treasurer for local government services in Michigan. Fraser oversees the Local Government Services Bureau, which includes support for the State Tax Commission and administration for the emergency manager law.

Joseph Harris, emergency manager in Benton Harbor, Mich. Harris, a certified public accountant and certified internal auditor, was the auditor general for the City of Detroit from 1995 to 2005. He was also Detroit’s chief financial officer from 2008 to 2009 under interim mayor Kenneth Cockrel.

Brandon Jessup, chairman and CEO of Michigan Forward, the public policy organization working to repeal the emergency manager law. Jessup is also conducting research and analysis of Michigan’s political and economic landscape, creating policy initiatives for the progress of Michigan’s urban centers and metropolitan areas.

Dayne Walling, mayor of Flint, Mich. Walling’s experience includes: owner and manager of 21st Century Performance, work with the Genesee County Land Bank’s affiliated Genesee Institute and founder of Flint Club.


Brian Jacob, Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Education Policy, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

LOCATION: Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, Annenberg Auditorium, 1120 Weill Hall, 735 South State Street, Ann Arbor.

TICKETS: Seating is limited and tickets are required. Tickets are available at the Michigan Union Ticket Office during regular business hours. One ticket per person. Sponsored by: Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP), and Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

WEB: The event will be webstreamed live, and a link to the web stream will be posted on the day of the event at least 30 minutes prior to the start time. Visit: for the link.