State Rep. Jeff Yaroch of Richmond introduced a plan that would reform the state’s emergency manager law, replacing the single person emergency management structure with a three-person Financial Management Team.
The plan is part of a larger reform package addressing the safety and security of Michigan’s drinking water supply.
“If we learned anything from the Flint water crisis it’s that one person should not be in charge of a community— it takes a team of skilled people to help a community get back on its feet,” Rep. Yaroch said. “These changes will help ensure oversight of the major public services delivered by local government to residents—especially families’ drinking water. I am proud to stand behind this bipartisan effort to prevent another Flint Water Crisis and keep our state’s drinking water safe.”
House Bill 4752, introduced by Rep. Yaroch, includes recommendations from the 2016 Joint Committee on the Flint Water Emergency, which replaces the single-person emergency management structure with a three-person committee made up of one financial expert, one local government operations expert and one local ombudsman. The governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, would be responsible for making all three appointments, having selected the local ombudsman from a list of three local residents recommended by the local unit of government.
In addition to Rep. Yaroch’s plan, the package includes House Bills 4742-4769. The 30-bill reform proposal looks at water quality across the board: from improving municipal safeguards and oversight to tightening up environmental protection and conservation.
“Ensuring safe drinking water is a top concern to our residents. State and local government need to work together to address the condition of our water infrastructure system,” Rep. Yaroch noted. “If we don’t fix the broken Emergency Management Law, we will be doomed to repeat the mistakes made in Flint.”
HB 4752 has been referred to House Committee on Government Operations for further consideration.