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Thu April 1, 2010
Emergency manager named to run Benton Harbor
By Rick Pluta, Michigan Public Radio Network
LANSING, MI –
A state panel has named an emergency financial manager to run the city of Benton Harbor. Governor Granholm declared a financial emergency in Benton Harbor in February.
State officials say Benton Harbor's financial troubles include a deficit that has been growing by double digits. The city asked for an emergency infusion of cash from the state last month to make its payroll.
A state board named former Detroit auditor general and chief financial officer Joseph Harris to run the city, with the power to control all spending and renegotiate union contracts.
Terry Stanton is a spokesman for the state Treasury. He says drastic action is needed at times to set a city's finances right.
"The state is only as financially strong as the units within the state and, unfortunately, sometimes it's a long ways down the road before the state can step in," he says.
Benton Harbor is the third city in Michigan being run by an emergency manager. The others are Pontiac and Ecorse.