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

[email protected]

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
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    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
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    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
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    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
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    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
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    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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