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Officials receive training on new emergency financial manager law

More than 300 local officials and prospective emergency managers are in Lansing today and tomorrow to be trained in the state's new fiscal crisis law.

The law gives sweeping authority to emergency managers named to run school districts and local governments that can no longer pay their bills.

Terry Stanton of the Michigan Department of Treasury says the goal is for the state to intervene earlier to avoid the drastic step of a state takeover.

"The hope is that we never have to appoint an emergency manager. That's the goal of this is to never have to get to the point of having to do so, but if an emergency manager is necessary and needs to be appointed that that individual has the power and authority to do the job they were put in place to do."

Three cities and one school district in Michigan are run by emergency managers.

The emergency manager in Benton Harbor just acted under the new law to assume many of the duties formally held by the city council.

Stanton says many of the people attending the training session are also local officials who want to know how the new law will help them avoid insolvency.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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