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Powers v. Secretary of Administration
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
412 Mass. 119, 587 N.E.2d 744 (1992)
The 1991 Receivership Act (RA) declared that a fiscal crisis existed in the City of Chelsea (city) and established a receivership for the city. Pursuant to the RA, the governor appointed a receiver to an initial one-year term to address the fiscal concerns. The mayor’s office was vacated, and the receiver was vested with all the mayor’s previously vested powers. The board of alderman was vested only with the power to advise the receiver, and the receiver had to report to the state secretary of administration (defendant). Powers and other citizens and homeowners in the city (city residents) (plaintiffs) sought declaratory judgment that the RA violated the Home Rule Amendment of the state constitution, alleging that the RA violated the Home Rule Amendment’s restriction on the legislature to pass special laws under explicitly defined special circumstances and the right of self-government in local matters in the state constitution. The city residents also alleged that the RA violated the one man, one vote rule under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Liacos, C.J.)
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