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Thu May 3, 2012
Court of Appeals Hears Open Meetings Lawsuit
It is now up to the Michigan Court of Appeals to decide whether state financial review teams must meet in public.
The court heard a challenge Thursday to determinations of financial emergencies in Flint and Detroit.
The teams’ deliberations are one step in a process that can lead to state takeovers. In the cases of Detroit and Flint, those deliberations took place behind closed doors. Critics of the process sued, saying that violated Michigan’s open meetings law.
Eric Restuccia is an attorney for the state. He says the teams only offer advice and it’s up to the governor to decide whether financial emergencies exist.
“The governor has the ultimate say," he says. "Nothing happens without the governor’s say.”
Attorney Andrew Paterson says the public deserves to know what goes into the decisions.
“There’s hardly any public bodies that have as much authority as this where in which it would be even questioned whether they are a public body," he says.
Detroit is operating under the terms of a consent agreement with the state, while Flint is being run by an emergency manager.