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Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 25, 2010

CONTACT:   Matt Bach
Dir. of Communications
Michigan Municipal League
(734) 669-6317 or mbach@mml.org

Governor Granholm Should Veto SB 1072

Local Government Leaders Urge Legislature to Enact Real PA 312 Reforms or State Will Continue to Lose Police Officers and Firefighters

LANSING, Mich. (June 25, 2010) —A bill passed Thursday (June 24, 2010) by the Michigan House will do nothing but cause more police and firefighters to lose their jobs and harm taxpayers, the Michigan Municipal League (MML) said.

State lawmakers should put real reforms into Pubic Act 312, because what was approved Thursday - Senate Bill 1072 - does nothing to fix the problem with existing law dealing with the local arbitration process, League officials said.

SB 1072, which now awaits Governor Granholm’s signature, expands what is technically referred to as PA 312. The Senate had already passed the bill and the House approved it today (June 24, 2010), despite strong opposition from the League and other organizations. The League thanked the House Republicans who voted against the bill and the Democrats who also opposed it: Timothy Bledsoe, D-Grosse Pointe, Douglas Geiss, D-Taylor, and Robert Jones, D-Kalamazoo. Click here for the complete roll call vote.

“Those who voted ‘no’ on this legislation were the ones who truly stood up for real reform,” said Samantha Harkins, legislative associate for the Michigan Municipal League.

Local government leaders across Michigan will continue to urge their lawmakers to pass legislation that keeps more police officers and firefighters on the job and to protect taxpayers.

“Senate Bill 1072 as approved by the House and Senate is hollow and meaningless. We are encouraging Governor Granholm to veto this bill,” said MML Director of State Affairs Summer Minnick. “As local governments continue to fight skyrocketing costs, this legislation actually increases expenses by expanding PA 312. We continue to urge the Legislature to reject this sham reform, or write real reforms into the bill that will help local governments control the biggest costs in their budgets and protect public safety.”

PA 312 forces local governments into binding arbitration with police and firefighters when they reach a contract impasse. By law, the arbitrator must consider a community’s ability to pay the negotiated rates, but the law does not define ability to pay nor require the arbitrator to consider it as top priority. This often causes local governments to layoff police officers and firefighters and cut other programs and services to pay higher wages to those with more seniority. Michigan has lost more than 2,400 firefighters and 2,000 police officers because of declining property tax revenues, revenue sharing cuts and PA 312.

“The Michigan Legislature continues to cut revenue sharing and instead of passing cost-saving reforms, they expand PA 312, which will result in even more costs borne by our local units of government,” said MML President Jeff Jenks, who is also Huntington Woods Mayor Pro Tem. “If this legislation becomes law, the Michigan Legislature will have again shirked its duty to provide real reform, instead choosing to help police and fire unions at the expense of public safety and other areas of local budgets.”

Jenks added: “Make no mistake, passage of Senate Bill 1072 as currently written will mean fewer police officers and firefighters on the job.”

Related links:

The Michigan Municipal League advocates on behalf of its member communities in Lansing, Washington D.C., and the courts; provides educational opportunities for elected and appointed municipal officials; and assists municipal leaders in administering services to their communities through League programs and services.


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