News from Progress Michigan

October 13, 2014

Contact: Sam Inglot,

Progress Michigan FOIA Reveals Gov. Snyder Lied to Public About ‘Objective’ Financial Emergency Process

Emails show Snyder administration’s goal is to dissolve Highland Park School District

MICHIGAN — Documents released by Progress Michigan today show that Gov. Rick Snyder not only lied about the supposed “objective” process that goes into declaring financial emergencies for local governments and schools, but that his administration ultimately wants to dissolve the Highland Park School District.

Over the past week, Gov. Snyder has said at various media forums that his placement of emergency managers and declarations of financial emergencies for schools and communities are decided by an objective process.

At MLive’s Ballot Bash“My goal is wait until it’s truly [an] emergency, it’s objectively decided. There’s no subjectivity to deciding it’s an emergency or not.”

At the town hall at Wayne State: “It’s not a subjective process…I don’t simply decide that. Certain conditions and terms of financial emergency have to exist first.”

However, documents obtained by Progress Michigan through the Freedom of Information Act show that the Snyder administration began discussing possible emergency manager candidates for the Highland Park School District before Gov. Snyder confirmed that a financial emergency existed.

In an email from Dennis Muchmore to State Superintendent Mike Flanagan, dated December 21, 2011, Muchmore says: “Some concern over the Highland Park schools EM choice. Any thoughts on that one?”

Flanagan replies the next day: “D, you asked about possible names for HP EM.” And goes on to suggest two people.

However, the biggest blow to Snyder’s claim that no financially struggling school district or community’s fate is predetermined by his administration falls flat when an email is sent from Muchmore to the following recipients: Mike Flanagan, Andy Dillon, Brom Stibitz, Carol Wolenberg, John Roberts, Thomas Saxton, Dick Posthumous, William Rustem and Michael Gadola.

Muchmore reveals in that email, dated January 17th 2012, that the Snyder administration ultimately wants to abolish the Highland Park School District.

The email says, in part, the following (with emphasis added):

“Do we have an endgame regarding this system? I understand we all think it should ultimately be abolished, the hearing is set, we have an EM candidate and a date of the announcement should the Supt.’s designee find cause to move forward, but then what?”

“Gov. Snyder continues to show that he cannot be trusted. This situation speaks directly to the integrity of Gov. Snyder and his administration,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “It’s clear that the administration had a predetermined outcome for Highland Park Schools before the governor ever confirmed that there was a financial emergency. Gov. Snyder has quickly called teachers, administrators and superintendents liars around education funding, but now it’s clear he lied multiple times directly to voters about the emergency manager law.”

Copies of the emails can be viewed here.


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