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Benton Harbor Emergency Manager Orders More Restrictions for City Government

by Eartha Jane Melzer

Joe Harris, the Emergency Manager in Benton Harbor, has issued an order informing all city officials and employees that they are not to attend city commission meetings without his written permission.

WJSM reports that the one exception to this rule is for the city clerk who is to take the minutes of the city commission meetings.

Additionally, the order from Harris goes on to state that the city clerk must attach language to the minutes of all Benton Harbor Commission meetings stating that any resolution passed by the body has no legal effect.

Benton Harbor’s City Commission has continued to pass resolutions in defiance of an April order from Harris that stripped them of all decision making authority.

Earlier this month the commission passed a resolution calling for Harris’ removal and declaring the law that allows Emergency Managers virtually complete control over local governments unconstitutional.

In an interview with the Herald Palladium Commissioner Dennis Knowles responded to the new order by saying, “Joe Harris is doing exactly what he’s told to do by the state and Whirlpool.”

Knowles called Harris, Gov. Rick Snyder, state Rep. Al Pscholka and state Senator John Proos “traitors to the country, traitors creating anarchy.”

On June 18th opponents of the Emergency Manager law will gather in Benton Harbor to protest and organize to repeal it.

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