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First white city falls under EFM

By Marcus Wright
Special to the Michigan Citizen

Joyce Parker

Joyce Parker

DETROIT — Another Michigan city has fallen under the command of an emergency financial manager (EFM).

Joyce Parker was appointed as EFM to Allen Park on Oct. 25. The city, with a budget of $15 million, faces an estimated $6 million deficit for this fiscal year.

Parker also serves as the EFM for the city of Ecorse and formerly served as EFM of Highland Park School District. Don Witherspoon replaced Parker in Highland Park.

“We’re different than every community that has an emergency manager,” Mayor William Matakas has said in media reports. “We haven’t defaulted on any payments yet.”

Allen Park is also the only majority white entity for which the state has imposed an EFM. All the others are majority Black.

Parker has advised State Treasurer Andy Dillon “that the condition of financial emergency in the city of Ecorse has been substantially rectified.”

Parker’s position over the city of Ecorse will come to an end and a Transition Advisory Board will be appointed if the Ecorse City Council votes to enter into an Interlocal Agreement with the state.

Ecorse Mayor Darcel Brown said Parker has steered the city away from a financial emergency. “She did what she had to do,” Brown said. “I didn’t always agree with her but the city’s financial condition has improved.”

Pontiac, Flint, Benton Harbor, Muskegon Heights, Highland Park and Detroit school districts are currently under emergency financial management. The city of Detroit, several months ago, entered into a Consent Agreement with the state to avoid the imposition of an EM.

Many voters think the fate of EMs will be decided with Proposal 1 on the Nov. 6 ballot, which if approved will repeal Public Act 4. However, the Republicans say they are ready to introduce new emergency manager legislation if PA4 falls.

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