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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Give Mike Flanagan credit. He could have turned on the fog
machine the other day when the questioning got prickly, but he hung
tough, told the truth, but he must have been worried about the fallout
from what he admitted.
You may have noticed that labor unions and legislative Republicans
are engaged in a tit for tat battle over collective bargaining. The
R's maintain they are not trying to bust up the union contracts in
cities and schools with the Emergency Financial Manager law and labor
says they are.
So the question to the state school superintendent was a lose-lose
proposition which is why he paused for a just a second before he dove
into the thick of the debate.
Did Mr. Flanagan have concerns over the EFM legislation?
He started cautiously, "I do think we need to be careful about
protecting the rights of people with bargaining units and all that."
Notice he did not criticize the Republicans per se.
So far so good.
But then the uncomfortable follow up questions.
If this was legislation designed to "just bust up unions" how
would you vote?
The answer here would draw him closer to either the labor or GOP
side of the equation.
"I'm a no vote," he proceeds to cover himself but he quickly adds,
"I don't believe it is" a move to bust up the unions.
So now he is safely on both sides of the issue.
As the state's top educator he reveals he would never appoint and
EM if that person wanted to abolish contracts.
He delicately walked that fine line between both sides trying not
to offend either.
Maybe Mr. Flanagan is very smart or maybe it was just the Luck of
the Irish at work?


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