EFM named for Allen Park

Sunday Times Newspapers

ALLEN PARK – An emergency financial manager has been named to Allen Park.

One day after Gov. Rick Snyder announced that the Local Emergency Financial Assistance Loan Board would assign an emergency financial manager for Allen Park, the board Thursday announced that Joyce Parker would take the position effective Monday.

Parker, currently also EFM of Ecorse, will keep that position, but will resign from her position as EFM of Highland Park Schools.

Mayor William Matakas expressed his disappointment with the news Thursday.

“For me — the person who campaigned to say there’s not a necessity of an EM in this city, but it will take millages and concessions — it’s a very big disappointment to me, so I won’t belittle that.”

Matakas said that of the available EFMs in the state, she is a preferred choice.

“Of the EMs out there, she’s the one with the most experienced in municipal administration,” he said. “She seemed to be pretty well liked in the city of Ecorse, so if we have to have one of the current EM group, she seems to be that person that is most community oriented and I’m pleased to know that about her.”

Matakas said he had not yet met or spoken with Parker.

In the letter, State Treasurer Andy Dillon, also chairman of the Local Emergency Financial Assistance Loan Board, said he chose Parker for her “outstanding track record of making the tough, but necessary financial decisions to address financial emergencies.

“Throughout her time as an emergency manager, Joyce has worked collaboratively with local officials, citizens and others to address financial crises and ensure delivery of services. I am certain that will continue in Allen Park.”

The appointment followed Snyder’s confirmation that a financial emergency existed in Allen Park and that an EFM was needed to fix it, made Sept. 7.

On Sept. 19, the city appealed the decision at a hearing in Lansing and presented a plan to address its $6 million budget deficit this fiscal year, but Snyder confirmed his original finding.

In a letter Wednesday, Snyder directed the board to appoint an EFM and called the city’s plan a “series of disjointed efforts rather than a satisfactory plan.”

The plan included applying for an emergency loan to the Department of Treasury, placing a millage proposal on the November ballot to fund the former studio property — similar to one that had failed twice before — and plans to reduce retiree health care costs.

In Ecorse, Parker reduced city expenditures by more than $3 million annually and produced a positive general fund balance for the city for the first time since 2005.

Parker will be appointed under Michigan Public Act 72, which does not allow EFMs powers such as breaking union contracts and dismissing public officials that Michigan Public Act 4, up for a vote in November, did.

Parker did not return phone calls seeking comment by press time.