Tenants at will of the legislature : an exploratory case study of Michigan's emergency manager statues
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Type of Work372 leaves
DepartmentUniversity of Baltimore. College of Public Affairs
ProgramUniversity of Baltimore. Doctor of Public Administration
RightsThis item may be protected under Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. It is made available by the University of Baltimore for non-commercial research and educational purposes.
emergency financial management
Crisis management in government
In July 2013, the city of Detroit filed for bankruptcy, representing the largest filing for municipal bankruptcy in the history of the United States. The public administrator behind the filing, Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, was not a resident of Detroit, or the state of Michigan, and was never elected by residents of Detroit or Michigan to any public office. However, under Michigan law, Mr. Orr possessed the roles of both the executive and legislative branches of government for the city of Detroit. Orr was not the first emergency manager in Michigan, where an experiment in state intervention of local government financial emergencies has taken place since 1988. Unelected emergency managers have become a sole source of power in financially distressed cities across Michigan. The experiences and results of these emergency managers have important implications for the study of intergovernmental relations and public administration. This dissertation research project will present a qualitative, exploratory case study and theoretical inquiry that will examine how the actions of public institutions and key policy players account for the placement of emergency managers in local governments in Michigan, culminating in the state takeover of Detroit. The intergovernmental implications of the complete state takeover of local governments in financial emergency will be analyzed. The study will also seek to understand how the placement of an emergency manager in a financially distressed local government accounts for the larger socioeconomic causes for the local government’s financial crisis. The values of local government democracy are pitted against the values of local government fiscal sustainability. This presents a challenging question - in a local government financial emergency, who should rule? This case study is exploratory, with the objective to provide a foundation for future research in this emerging field of inquiry.