Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez interview Curt Guyette of the ACLU about the effects of the Emergency Manager law in Michigan. They note that the Emergency Manager who poisoned the water in Flint is now the Emergency Manager of the crumbling Detroit public schools.
Guyette, an investigative reporter explains how it works:
“Well, one of the things about the emergency manager law is that these managers were given extreme unchecked authority. And the thinking was, the reason for doing that is they were given the ability to come in, clean up the problems and get out. And so there was an 18-month time limit put on their terms. Except that this governor is exploiting what amounts to a loophole in that law. So what happens is that these emergency managers serve for 17 months and 29 days, and the day before their term expires, they resign. A new emergency manager is put in place, and the clock starts ticking all over again. And they just shuffle them from one place to another. So Earley goes from Flint to run DPS. And it just perpetuates this control. It can go on, really, forever, if they want it to, denying people of their democratically elected representation, because the school board, which has been fighting emergency management every step of the way, gets completely marginalized. They have zero authority whatsoever. And that goes to the heart of the problem of this law. It eliminates the democratic checks and balances that make a democracy functional.
“And the other thing is, what we’re seeing here is really the imposition of austerity. This is what austerity looks like. So you have all the problems in these schools that you just reported on, because they’re treating it like a managerial problem rather than a structural problem. I’ve used before the analogy: It’s like being the captain of the Titanic, and you hit an iceberg. It doesn’t matter who’s at the helm; the ship is going down unless you plug the hole. And they haven’t plugged the holes. They haven’t fixed the structural problems.”