Due to legislation passed by Michigan's Republican-controlled state legislature and signed into law by Governor Snyder, the democratically elected government in the city of Benton Harbor has been dissolved. Benton Harbor's elected officials now have only the power to call meetings, adjourn them, and approve minutes. The power to do everything else is up to one man, Joseph Harris, Governor Snyder's appointed emergency manager of the city. Mr. Harris can now break union contracts, gut public services such as police and firefighters, and close schools unilaterally, without any sufficient checks and balances on his power. David Vines: The Laboratory of Autocracy On March 16, 2011, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed into law a bill that would allow the state to appoint an Emergency Financial Manager (EFM) to essentially take over a city within the state when it is deemed that the city is in a state of financial crisis. The locals no longer have a voice in their own government. Despite numerous protests held by locals indicating that they do not, in fact, wish for their rights to a democratically elected government to be impeded, the policy has not changed. They cannot make decisions. They cannot ensure that the voices of the people they represent will be taken into account in policy-making decisions made by a state-appointed official. They can, however, be removed by the EFM. Benton Harbor Public Workers Forced Into Concessions ------------------------------------------ I didn't realize it had gotten that bad. Republicans really have over reached.