Planetizen - Urban Planning News, Jobs, and Education

The Silent Expansion of Fiscal Control Boards in the U.S.

The power and process of boards that take control of a city or territory's finances is becoming more generalized, although they affect local democracy, impose austerity measures without controls, and lack mechanisms to evaluate their efficiency.
June 11, 2017, 11am PDT | Keli_NHI
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments

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.”

Full Story:
Published on Thursday, June 8, 2017 in Shelterforce/Rooflines
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email