Highland Park Returned to Local Control
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The Local Emergency Financial Assistance Loan Board (ELB) has announced that the 90-day term for Highland Park's Second Successor Emergency Financial Manager, Robert Mason, will expire at the close of business today. At that time, authority over the city's finances will be returned to locally-elected officials and department heads, while the declaration of a financial emergency will remain in place pursuant to Public Act 72 of 1990.
"This has been a long and sometimes difficult process for the residents of Highland Park," said State Treasurer Robert J. Kleine, Chair of the Emergency Loan Board. "Despite the ups and downs, Highland Park residents should be pleased that their elected representatives are committed to working together to ensure a return to self-governance in the not-too-distant future."
While local officials will assume control of the city's finances, the Mayor and City Council President have represented to Mr. Mason that they will abide by a number of provisions laid out to them in Mr. Mason's Final Directive. Should any of the provisions not be followed or acted upon, the Emergency Loan Board has authority to again place an Emergency Financial Manager into Highland Park. If the provisions are successfully carried out by Highland Park during the next year, the Emergency Loan Board will recommend to Governor Granholm that the declaration of financial emergency be lifted.
The Department of Treasury first conducted a review of Highland Park's finances in 1996. The city has been under the authority of an Emergency Financial Manager since 2001.