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Daniel J. Weiner (top photo) is senior partner
and co-founder of Schafer Weiner PLLC, and
Jeffrey J. Sattler is an associate with the firm.
Weiner channels his energies toward business
reorganizations, working with Chapter 11 debtors,
unsecured creditors' committees, secured lenders,
and trustees. Sattler has extensive experience
in the realm of bankruptcy law practice, having
worked for a debtor-oriented law firm, a creditor-oriented law firm, two Chapter 13 trustees, and
four bankruptcy judges in the Eastern District
of Michigan. His expertise further extends
to commercial workouts, for which he has a
particular interest. Weiner can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org and Sattler can
be reached at email@example.com.
Limits of the Law
Simply unacceptable in advanced society
is the breakdown of a municipality’s
ability to provide for the health, safety,
and welfare of its citizens and basic
educational opportunities for its children.
When such a failure does occur, someone
absolutely must ride in and clean up
the town, despite any ensuing chaos.
Right now the EML offers the best hired
gun available. Under Act 436, EMs can
step in and manage emergencies in the
short term, most effectively in a Chapter
9 bankruptcy. The repeat offender pattern
that Michigan has experienced in the
longer term, however, shows that EML
has its limits and is by no means the
end-all, cure-all for municipal messes. J
1 Petitpren v. Taylor School Dist., 304
N. W.2d 553, 558 (Mich. Ct. App. 1981).
2 P.A. 4 § 18( 1)(c).
3 Most of the following information
in this section is from the Michigan
Department of Treasury at michigan.gov/
4 Lindsey Smith, “After 4 years of state
oversight, Benton Harbor’s financial
emergency is over,” Michigan Radio (March
7, 2014), available at michiganradio.org/
5 Steven Yaccino, “Pontiac’s Rough Road
to Recovery Could Foreshadow Detroit’s
Path,” New York Times (September 15, 2013),
available at nytimes.com/2013/09/16/us/
6 Steven Yaccino, “Lessons for Detroit in a
City’s Takeover,” New York Times (March 13,
2013), available at nytimes.com/2013/03/14/
7 Ned Resnikoff, “Cash-strapped cities seized by
new management,” MSNBC (March 3, 2011),
available at msnbc.com/the-ed-show/cash-strapped-cities-seized-new-management.
8 Steven Yaccino, (March 13, 2013).
9 The foregoing should by no means be
construed as a denouncement of Schimmel’s
work. To the contrary, Shimmel’s accomplished
career in serving as an EM appears to be
second to none, which is why reference
to his work best illustrates the differences
among EML theory, application, and effects.
10 Robert Daddow, “Responding to Municipal
Fiscal Crisis: Bottom Line Lessons from Ecorse,
Michigan,” Mackinac Center for Public Policy
(May 1, 1992), available at mackinac.org/261.
11 See Leonard N. Fleming, “Strictest emergency
manager statute in the nation,” The Detroit
News (January 26, 2012) (in reference to P. A. 4).
12 See Kristi L. Bowman (Professor at Michigan
State University College of Law), “Before School
Districts Go Broke: A Proposal for Federal
Reform,” 79 U. Cin. L. Rev. 895, 921 (Spring 2011)
(discussing basic benefits of bankruptcy).
13 Matt Helms & Suzette Hackney, “Detroit
unions object, but city pay cuts look like
done deal,” The Detroit Free Press (July 17,
2012), available at freep.com/article/20120717/
14 See Mike Patton, “Detroit Files for Bankruptcy
Protection: The Facts, The Figures, And The
Fallout,” Forbes (July 22, 2013), available at