Court Rules Review Teams Can Meet in Secret

May 22, 2012

Review teams that recommend whether a city or school district should be taken over by a state-appointed emergency manager don’t have to meet in public.

That’s according to a ruling Tuesday by the Michigan Court of Appeals. 

The appeals court rejected three separate challenges to the emergency manager in Flint and to a consent agreement governing Detroit. The court ruled the review teams did not break the state’s open meetings law. That’s because the teams make recommendations, but the final decision on state intervention rests with the governor. 

Sara Wurfel is Governor Rick Snyder’s press secretary. She says he’s pleased with the ruling.

“They understood that we actually met the letter and the intent of the law and the governor feels like it’s very important now to move forward,” she says. “To suggest that financial review teams are not public bodies was quite a stretch.”

Robert Davis is one of the plaintiffs who sued the state. He says his next stop is the Michigan Supreme Court.

The appeals court could also rule soon on whether a challenge to the emergency manager law will go on the November ballot.