CHICAGO — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder Tuesday announced the appointment of an emergency financial manager for Flint, finalizing the state's takeover of the struggling city.
The move has been expected since Snyder declared the city to be in a state of fiscal emergency in early November.
The governor said Tuesday afternoon that he tapped Flint native Michael Brown, who has held a variety of public- and private-sector jobs, for the EFM position.
Brown begins his new job Thursday.
"This is my hometown, so this is a personal task," Brown said in a statement. "With the available tools, I am optimistic we can work cooperatively to restore fiscal stability in Flint."
Flint is the first city to be taken over by the state since the passage last spring of Michigan's new financial management law, which significantly broadens an emergency manager's governing powers.
As emergency manager, Brown will have the authority to terminate or modify existing labor contracts, privatize city assets, and dissolve the government.
Brown is currently president of Prima Civitas Foundation, an East Lansing-based group that works for Michigan's economic growth, and director of the Flint Area Reinvestment Office, which seeks grants and other state and federal funding for local organizations.
He served as acting Flint mayor for six months in 2009, after the resignation of one mayor and before the election of a new one. He also was a Genesee County commissioner and worked for the Michigan Association of Counties.
"Michael Brown has a strong track record of serving the Flint-area community," Snyder said in a statement. "Given his experience in the public, private, and nonprofit settings, I'm confident he is well-equipped to take on this critical post."
Brown said one of his first tasks would be to appoint an advisory committee to help him in his new post. The committee will be made up of one elected official, one business representative, one citizen and two professionals with "relevant professional skills."
It is the second time in 10 years that the state has taken over Flint. An emergency manager ran the city's finances from May 2002 until early 2006.
Located 60 miles outside Detroit, Flint has relied on the domestic automobile industry for most of its history. Like many aging industrial cities, it now faces falling property and income-tax revenue. Nearly a quarter of its 100,000 residents were unemployed as of fiscal 2010.
Snyder declared Flint to be in a fiscal emergency based on the findings of a financial review team that spent a month reviewing the city's finances. Problems include chronic deficits in most funds, unrealistic budgets, and failure of elected officials to tackle the problems, the report said.
Flint had $134 million of outstanding bonds as of 2010, most of which are hospital revenue bonds issued for Hurley Medical Center.