Sunday, July 24, 2011

Response to "Minerva" on the Petition to Recall Gov. Snyder

By Joanne Thomas*

I am a petitioner in the effort. My time is valuable to me, and I only care to invest it where I feel my abilities will go to the most good. The gravity of this governor's actions, so early in his term, is drastic and largely unnecessary and may carry dire consequences if not halted. Simply not liking a Republican governor in office would hardly be a motivator.

There is one particular transgression from the Snyder administration that pushed me into action, and that is the seizing of the Jean Klock Park in Benton Harbor. An order the EFM issued on May 4 restricts access to the public waterfront park. This park was deeded to Benton Harbor in 1917 "in perpetuity." Part of it has now been turned into a private luxury golf resort, with the help of an economic development group that until recently included the sponsor of the Emergency Financial Manager (EFM) law on its board of directors.

Yes, having a full account of another of Snyder's actions -- implementing the EFM -- is important and difficult to understand. And yes, I like your "Exercise your mind, don't wash it" quote. Here is one caveat in this law that you, and the sources you received your information from, may have missed. It is apparent that these regulations were not followed.

A member of one financial review team explains, "The EFM law has been on the books for years. Unfortunately, it had no teeth. Also, by the time an EFM is appointed, the public body will have had (?) a number of warnings and hearings (?). In fact, the public body must execute a Consent Agreement which includes a road map of how to comply with applicable laws that govern financial management and reporting. It is only when the public body violates the Consent Agreement that an EFM is even considered. Even then, the public body has a right to a hearing before an EFM is appointed. The entire process can take 18 - 24 months." (So, how long has Mr. Snyder been in office?)

During that time the citizens have plenty of opportunities to convince their elected officials to clean up the problems. Only after these phases does the EFM law actually benefit the citizenry and provide fair warning that their elected officials are not in compliance with law.

While this Web site, like many others, offers the advantage of anonymity in posting comments, I believe those who post comments still need to be correct and civil and to be responsible for the content of their words. And it is unhelpful when any of us resort to verbal attacks like "greedy" and name-calling -- such as "dictator," "thugs," "hacks," etc. It is an unfortunate tendency on all sides of the political spectrum. I trust that you correct your associations when you hear them make such calls about our president and other Democratic officials. I will try to be more vigilant about that too.

* Editor's Note: Keweenaw resident Joanne Thomas is responding to the first comment under our July 1 article on the Recall Rick Snyder petition signings.

No comments: