20 July (LPAC) Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich), who represents a section of Detroit, issued a letter July 20 to the head of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va), seeking a hearing on the July 18 decision by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr to file for bankruptcy for the City of Detroit.
In his letter, according to excerpts published in The Hill, Conyers echoes the concerns of Michigan State Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, who ruled July 19 that the bankruptcy filing may be violating the law. He express concerns that the petition is being “misused to unilaterally abrogate obligations otherwise protected under law, such as pensions, healthcare and other legal obligations, without sufficient legal safeguards.” “This represents a potentially troubling trend which could not only have a dangerous and irreversible impact on stakeholders… but could have a deleterious effect in Michigan and nationwide.”
AFSCME President Lee Saunders has also castigated the bankruptcy, castigating Governor Rick Snyder for authorizing the action to “suspend democracy, drive one of America’s largest cities into bankruptcy and deprive workers of their hard-earned retirement security.” Orr, a former corporate bankruptcy lawyer who is committed to rampant privatization of services, was appointed after a knock-down, drag-out fight in the GOP-controlled state legislature, which, contrary to the outcome of a state referendum, passed a law effectively permitting the Governor to appoint the Emergency Manager.
The Michigan State Attorney has announced his intent to challenge Judge Aquilina’s ruling as early as Tuesday, June 23, and has threatened to seek to convict her of contempt.
Meanwhile, Orr “assured” city workers, who are slated to lose the bulk of their pensions and health benefits, that they don’t have to expect any changes for the next 6 months. In other words, they have time to prepare for their funerals