The Silent Expansion of Fiscal Control Boards in the U.S.
Regardless of their size or financial problems, U.S. cities under the command of fiscal control boards have faced the firing of public employees, the implementation of pension cuts, increases to the cost of public college education, and a reduction in essential services, such as health. The structures, the laws that create them, and the names of the boards vary; the public policies they impose, not so much.
Despite the normalization of the boards and their commonly broad powers, the federal government and Congress lack control mechanisms, studies, databases, or an entity that actively monitors a fiscal control board's impact or efficiency, the Center for Investigative Journalism (CIJ) in Puerto Rico has found.
“In the United States, there is no centralized information across states [about fiscal control boards],” says Deborah Kobes, author of the thesis Out of Control? Local Democracy Failure and Fiscal Control Boards, published in 2009. “There also isn’t a real definition about what a board is.”