2011.03.30 Bruce Caswell: Job creation is main priority

Written by David Green.

Job creation is the main priority in Lansing. In order to create a positive atmosphere for job creation, we must first get our fiscal house in order, at both the state and local level. I want to take this opportunity to share with you information about the recently passed emergency financial manager legislation that has drawn a lot of attention in the past two weeks. I would like to share my thoughts on the legislation and, hopefully, clear up some misconceptions about the new law.

I voted for the emergency financial manager legislation when it came before the Senate for consideration. I supported a number of amendments to modify the legislation prior to its passage, such as limiting the salary of an emergency financial manager to the amount the Governor receives and requiring an emergency financial manager for a school district to have a background in teaching or education. However, these amendments were defeated. I successfully amended the bill to eliminate a reference to school district consolidation out of the bill, so that this will remain under the purview of the local voters.

Contrary to the rhetoric, this legislation does not take away the collective bargaining rights of municipal employees or school employees. Should a municipality or school district not operate in a fiscally responsible fashion, a series of steps would be taken up to the appointment of an emergency financial manager.

Under the manager, collective bargaining could be suspended, along with a number of additional actions. However, this is a last-case scenario with several steps along the way before it would reach that point. Upon enactment of this legislation, public employees and teachers still have their collective bargaining rights. Furthermore, the law does not remove elected officials from their positions or bar them from running for re-election.

I believe that this legislation will give municipalities and school districts, along with their employees, the incentive to work out their financial issues locally to avoid any state intervention. If a municipality or school district chooses not to be financially responsible, I do not feel that the taxpayers in other areas of the state should bail them out. We all have to be personally responsible in these hard times.

As always, I appreciate citizen input on any issue on which the Senate is working.

– Senator Bruce Caswell

P.O. Box 30036

Lansing, MI 48909

866/305-0316

SenBCaswell@senate.michigan.gov.

  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Front.little Ball
    Fayette's Demetrious Whiteside (left)Skylar Lester attempt to keep the ball from going out of bounds during Morenci's recent basketball tournament for fourth and fifth grade teams. Morenci's Andrew Schmidt stands by.
  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

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