Spring 2016 Griffin Policy Forum on Emergency Financial Managers

Do They Have a Legitimate Place In Michigan Government?    ​

Monday, March 21
7:00 to 8:30 p.m.​
Powers Hall Ballroom (2nd floor)
View event ​flier

Since being enacted into law, the Emergency Financial Manger Act has been the center of considerable controversy. The basic premise of the act was that it provided a mechanism for state government to intervene and save local units of government from economic collapse.  Several local governments, including Flint and the Detroit Public Schools, have been the subject of state intervention and the appointment of an EFM to correct the situation. In some communities the EFM has had great success in correcting financial woes and in others the EFM has yielded little or no relief. In almost every case where an EFM has been appointed, some local residents have bitterly objected to the state intervention. Some have contended that the EFM has created even greater problems and that the whole idea is in conflict with our ​fundamental belief of the relationship between state and local government. 


The forum participants represent a collection of the most informed, influential, and passionate players in the fight to determine the current and future use of Emergency Financial Mangers to solve economic problems with local units of government. 

Brian WhistonBrian J. Whiston, State Superintendent, Michigan Department of Education

State Superin​tendent Brian Whiston began his tenure as State Superintendent in July 2015, selected by Michigan’s State Board of Education. He previously served as Superintendent of Dearborn (MI) Public Schools – the state’s third largest school district. He also served 10 years as Director of Government and Community Services for the Oakland County ISD and 17 years as a local school board member. View bio courtesy of the Michigan Department of Education​

Rep. Al PscholkaRep. Al Pscholka, Sponsor of the Emergency Financial Manager Act

State Rep. Al Pscholka was first elected to t​he Michigan House in November 2010. He represents the 79th District, which includes part of Berrien County including the cities of Coloma, St. Joseph, Benton Harbor, Bridgman and Watervliet. Rep. Pscholka serves as the chair of the Committee on Appropriations. He also serves as the chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Supplementals and as a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Joint Capital Outlay. Previously, he was the district director for U.S. Congressman Fred Upton. He is also a former vice president of Cornerstone Alliance, where he served for nine years and won several national and state awards for developing the Community Partnership for Lifelong Learning, a business-education partnership. Read bio courtesy of Rep. Pscholka's website​​

Sen. KnezekSen. David Knezek, sponsored a bill to repeal the Financial Manager Act​

State Sen. David Knezek represents District 5 in Wayne County, including Dearborn Heights City, Detroit City, Garden City, Inkster City and Redford Township. He serves on the Senate Democratic leadership team as Chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus. A United States Marine Corps veteran, Sen. Knezek served two tours of duty in Iraq as a Scout Sniper Platoon member. The recipient of numerous military awards and commendations, he was honorably d​ischarged from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2012 having risen to rank of sergeant. He became the youngest member of the 2013-2014 House Democratic Caucus at the age of 26. He also is the first Iraq War Veteran elected to the Michigan Legislature. Read bio courtesy of Sen. Knezek's website


Chad LivengoodChad Livengood, Detroit News Political Reporter

Chad Livengood is a political reporter in The Detroit News' Lansing bureau. He covers Gov. Rick Snyder's administration, the Legislature and Michigan politics. He also covered Detroit's municipal bankruptcy for The News. He is a regular guest on "Off The Record," a public affairs show on public television stations in Michigan. Prior to joining The News in February 2012, Chad was a political reporter at the Wilmington (Del.) News Journal (2010-2012) and the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader (2008-2010). He also previously worked as an education reporter at the Jackson Citizen Patriot (2006-2008). Chad is a 2005 graduate of Central Michigan University and a native of Chelsea.​ View bio courtesy of The Detroit News​

Media Stories & Video

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Event ​Sponsors

The Griffin Policy Forums are hosted twice yearly by the Robert and Marjorie Griffin Endowed Chair in American Government, the College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences, and the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at Central Michigan University.

​For more information, contact the College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences at 989-774-3341 or CHSBS@cmich.edu​.

About the Griffin Endowed Chair

​The Griffin Endowed Chair in American Government at Central Michigan University was established through generous gifts from alumni, faculty and friends of the university. It provides continuing support to fund the salary and associated costs of a government and public policy expert to serve as a faculty member in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration​ and to host twice yearly forums addressing public policy issues.

The endowment is named to recognize the significant public service and contributions of distinguished CMU alumni Robert P. Griffin (1923-2015)​ and Marjorie Griffin. Robert Griffin, '47, was a former U.S. Senator, and Marjorie, '44, is a former Clarke Historical Library board member. Read more​​