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Mason Named Highland Park Financial Manager

Contact: Terry Stanton, (517) 335-2167

The Local Emergency Financial Assistance Loan Board (ELB) today appointed Robert Mason as Emergency Financial Manager in Highland Park. Mason replaces Arthur Blackwell, who has been Emergency Financial Manager since March, 2005.

Mr. Mason is an Executive Strategy and Management Consultant, with more than a decade of experience in both the public and private sectors. "Robert Mason's experience, with both government entities and private businesses, will be an asset in taking Highland Park's financial recovery to the next level," said State Treasurer Robert J. Kleine, Chair of the Emergency Loan Board. "The ELB believes Mr. Mason, working closely with elected officials, can help return self-governance to Highland Park in the not-too-distant future."

The Local Emergency Financial Assistance Loan Board also approved several provisions which will put in place additional financial controls for units of local government under the authority of an Emergency Financial Manager. Provisions include monthly reports from a local unit's chief financial officer regarding any payments made to an EFM, a quarterly review of a local unit's financial records, and a requirement that Emergency Financial Managers quickly report possible financial irregularities to the ELB. In addition, in the future, all Emergency Financial Managers will be paid solely by the unit of local government for which the EFM has been appointed, and not by the State.

These actions were taken following a determination that payments had been made to Mr. Blackwell, upon his authorization, by the City of Highland Park, that were not authorized by the Local Emergency Financial Assistance Loan Board. The State Treasurer has directed Mr. Blackwell to reimburse the City of Highland Park, immediately.