Brad Coulter is a Certified Turnaround Professional
with more than 15 years of experience working
with financially troubled organizations. He is the
first private-sector turnaround consultant named as
an emergency manager in Michigan and acted in
that position for the City of Lincoln Park from July
2014 to December 2015. Coulter is currently the full-time president & CEO of Matrix Human Services.
With more than 600 employees and 40 locations,
Matrix is one of the largest nonprofit organizations
working to educate children, support families,
and rebuild neighborhoods in the City of Detroit.
voter turnout for city council elections
ranging from 10 to 15 percent when only
local issues are on the ballot, a small
group of people can end up controlling
city government. In addition, low voter
turnout allows special interests, such
as real estate developers or employee
unions, to sway an election and vote
in candidates of their choice. Many
a sweetheart union contract has
been put in place by elected officials
supported by public sector unions. All
of that, combined with the apathy that
most residents have toward getting
involved, attending meetings, or
running for office, produces a perfect
scenario for mismanagement.
With any receivership or chief
restructuring officer assignment, a
crisis manager takes control from
the stakeholders who have gotten
the entity into the financial mess.
Government is no different. When
a city is in dire financial straits, a
strong argument can be made that
democracy is broken at the local level
and appointing an emergency manager
is the only way to fix the situation.
Michigan’s emergency manager
appointment lasts for 18 months.
Within that time frame, Lincoln
Park went from a $1 million general
fund deficit to a positive balance
of $187,000. In addition, the city is
projected to have positive general
fund contributions going forward.
Lincoln Park’s turnaround was
accomplished via a combination of
improved cost efficiencies; stabilized
property values; and new sources of
revenue, such as towing income, as
well as one-time revenue generated by
the sale of city-owned cell tower leases.
Acknowledging the value of having a
restructuring professional involved in
fixing local government, Michigan Gov.
Rick Snyder stated at the conclusion of
my term that I had “provided a shining
example of how the system can work;
first collaborating with local leaders to
address the city’s financial emergency,
then working to enhance economic
development to help ensure continued
financial stability for Lincoln Park.” 1 J
1 “Lincoln Park’s financial emergency over, state
says”, The Detroit News, December 23, 2015
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