State Board of Canvassers certifies emergency manager referendum - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

State Board of Canvassers certifies emergency manager referendum

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LANSING (WJRT) -

(08/08/12) - The State Board of Canvassers has now certified the emergency manager referendum for the November ballot.

This means Public Act 4 is now suspended and the state's previous emergency manager law, Public Act 72, takes its place.

It also means Mike Brown, emergency financial manager of Flint, is now out of the job.

The Supreme Court doesn't usually hear cases in mid-summer, but they did so this summer because of how important they felt this issue is.

The state has appointed Ed Kurtz to lead the city. You may remember that name - since Kurtz was appointed in 2002 as Flint's first emergency financial manager.

His appointment came shortly after the recall of Mayor Woodrow Stanley, when the state took control of Flint's finances. At the time, the city was $40 million in debt. Kurtz served as emergency financial manager until 2004. The deficit had been lowered to $9 million, and executive power was handed over to the elected Mayor, Don Williamson.

This decision comes after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Stand Up Democracy, the group behind getting the controversial law repealed.

They fought for months for this very moment, having collected more than 200,000 signatures when they only needed 156,000.

They believe justice is served and cheered when the state board of canvassers certified the petitions.

The process getting to this point was a back and forth battle.

In April, the State Board of Canvassers deadlocked on the issues, 2-2. Wednesday was a different story - all four agreed in favor to put Public Act 4 on the ballot.

All the actions Brown took during his time as emergency financial manager of Flint remain in effect. All the resolutions, contracts and orders he signed stay in place. Nothing has been reversed.

Stand up Democracy says their sights are now set on Nov. 6.

"We are so thrilled," said Larry Roehrig of Stand up Democracy. "It's the right thing to do. It's absolutely the right thing. And the end game is to let the voters vote. The end game is not the politics or playing with or manipulating the laws or using the court as a buffer, and I just want to say this - the supreme court in Michigan made the right decision. It belongs on the ballot."

The EFM law is suspended, and the old one takes its place - the EFM will have less power.

The House Speaker's office in Lansing says right now, lawmakers aren't taking up any legislation to strengthen the old law.

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