Benton Harbor Emergency Financial Manager agrees with decision t - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Benton Harbor Emergency Financial Manager agrees with decision to replace him


Wednesday night Benton Harbor Emergency Financial Manger said he knew he was going to be replaced, he just didn't know when.  Joe Harris held a press conference Wednesday, less than a week after finding out he's being replaced.  We've been waiting for his take on it.

Wednesday he said he's not sad, he's hopeful.  "Bittersweet" is how he described leaving.  In the Press Conference Harris held Wednesday, he talked about what still has to be done, along with what he's already done.  In fact, his agenda for the presser was two pages long.  Something at least one commissioner was happy about.  "We've never had any information from him in the last two and half years.  Finally getting some information," said Commissioner Juanita Henry. 

Harris' relationship with the Benton Harbor Commissioners hasn't been ideal.  Wednesday he admitted he didn't get along well with them and that's why they haven't collaborated.  "We haven't been able to.  It just didn't happen," said Harris.

Commissioner Henry said she knows Harris is not a people person so she's looking forward to a new Emergency Financial Manager.  "I am hysterical happy, because it wasn't working and that's the key it wasn't working.  I think Mr. Saunders (the new Emergency Financial Manager) is going to listen to us and try not to make those same mistakes," said Henry.

Henry said Harris did make some positive changes in Benton Harbor, but she is ready for more, "Hopeful that things are going to change, the people will get information."

Benton Harbor Residents are also ready to see more changes in their city.  "Put more jobs here, really, seriously," said Eddie Lee King.   And Booker T. Lark Jr. said, "I just want to see better things happen for Benton Harbor cause things is so out of place here and we need somebody in here fresh with new ideas, get this place back in order like it supposed to be."

Even Harris said he agrees with the decision for a new Emergency Financial Manager.  "It is appropriate to perhaps find someone who could work with the commission.  Yeah, I think that's a good idea."

Harris said he has been in touch with the new Emergency Financial Manger, Tony Saunders, they spoke on the phone earlier and they are meeting for lunch next week.

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