Interlocal Agreements – Good Intent, Bad Practice
Some 40,000 private day care owners and providers in
Ditto for another 60,000 private home care workers.
And yet another organization gets to play in the sand on the taxpayers’ dime.
All of these became possible because of an innocuous and arguably well-intended law that’s been on the books for more than 40 years.
The Urban Cooperation Act of 1967 allows two or more units of government to create so called “Interlocal Agreements” (ILAs). Under these agreements, local governmental entities can join forces on services such as public safety, transportation and water usage, without having to jump through big bureaucratic hoops or bog down the Legislature for approval. For instance, a 1985 Interlocal agreement between five communities in
There are, to date, 999 ILAs on file with the Michigan Secretary of State. A Mackinac Center review of these ILAs found several eyebrow-raising trends in not only the sheer growth in number of these agreements, but even more disturbing, in the ways ILAs have recently been used.
Here are the numbers:
There were just three interlocal agreements signed prior to 1970.
From 1970 to 1979,
From 1980 to 1989 there were 108 more ILAs.
From 1990 to 1999, 121 were created.
From 2000 to present, 727 new interlocal agreements were created; 91 so far in 2011…
The rate of increase may be due in part to the fact that ILAs are no longer used for the sole purpose of facilitating so-called “core functions” of government.
For example, 58 ILAs involve the Michigan Economic Development Corporation which itself is a product of an interlocal agreement between the Michigan Strategic Fund and “Participating Public Agencies”:
“As a public corporation created through an interlocal agreement between state and local governments, the
The Michigan Quality Community Care Council (MQC3) is the product of an interlocal agreement between the Michigan Department of Community Health and the Tri-County Aging Consortium. Created in 2004, the MQC3 touts on its website that it “offers a tool for finding, choosing, and hiring a Provider.” What’s not mentioned, is the existence of the MQC3 also provided a so-called public “employer” for the SEIU to create the 55,000 member SEIU Healthcare Michigan. The SEIU takes union dues from the Medicaid subsidies paid to home care workers (as well as registered nurses, nursing home aides and hospital support staff) and amounts to as much as $6 million a year.
The Michigan Home-Based Child Care Council (MHBCCC) was another such interlocal agreement, formed by the Michigan Department of Human Services and
At least one
The ECIC is funded by the Child Care and Development Fund (the same money that subsidizes day care providers). But much of its activity seems to focus on events that aim to get legislators’ attention, such as the ECIC’s Sandbox Party initiative, which “asks our candidates and policy makers to demonstrate that infants and young children are a priority…”.
The purposes of these last three examples are a stretch from the spirit of the law under which they were created, given that they also do not improve any core government services.
Fortunately, due to the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation’s lawsuit against the DHS over the illegal withholding of union dues from private day care providers’ subsidy checks and the resulting public attention,
So make that
And that total could soon be 997. According to a
Interlocal agreements could also see some legislative treatment.
As a member of the Michigan House in 2010, Proos introduced House Resolution 270. The resolution would have urged the Michigan Attorney General to take steps to beef up scrutiny of interlocal governmental agreements, and require any
Though the resolution went no further than committee,
There may be hundreds of examples in which most entities are serving the people and doing what the Urban Cooperation Act of 1967 intended. But there are tens of thousands of reasons why the residents of Michigan should be on high alert when new
Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.