Flint, MI– After the recent Flint city council election brought six newcomers to the table, members chose their most experienced colleague to lead the way.
On Nov. 15, during the first council meeting with the newly-elected members, the council voted to elect first ward Councilman Eric Mays as president.
Mays, who has served two four-year terms on the council, received five votes from himself, fourth ward Councilwoman Judy Priestley, fifth ward Councilwoman Jerri Winfrey-Carter, sixth ward Councilwoman Tonya Burns, and eighth ward Councilman Dennis Pfeiffer.
“Let’s help each other help the citizens of the city of Flint,” Mays said after getting elected. “Let’s conduct ourselves in a way where we can be proud. Let’s take care of the business of the citizens.”
Mays is a controversial character in Flint, having been removed, arrested, and suspended from meetings over the years– incidents he sued city officials for last year, and lost. But he is loved by many constituents in the first ward who say he always answers his phone, and fights for them in council meetings. They have now elected him three times, this year with 631 votes although he was the only candidate on the ballot.
The council also elected Seventh ward Councilwoman Allie Herkenroder as vice president.
Herkenroder was one of the six newcomers elected on Nov. 2. She was elected vice president with five votes from herself, second ward Councilwoman Ladel Lewis, ninth ward Councilwoman Eva Worthing, Murphy, and Priestley.
“I’m excited to work with you, Mr. Mays, and the rest of the council, and get things done for our community,” Herkenroder said after she was elected.
Mays also appointed members of the council as chairs for the various committees. Here they are:
Finance Chair: Tonya Burns
Vice Finance Chair: Judy Priestley
Governmental Operations Chair: Jerri Winfrey-Carter
Vice Governmental Operations Chair: Ladel Lewis
Legislative Chair: Dennis Pfeiffer
Vice Legislative Chair: Allie Herkenroder
Grants Chair: Eva Worthing
Vice Grants Chair: Judy Priestley
At the beginning of the meeting, Mays made a motion to suspend the rules and govern with common sense and respect for each other, which the council approved. Whether it was the rule suspension, the in-person meeting, the dynamics of the new members, or beginner’s luck, the five-hour meeting on Nov. 15 went smoothly.
Mays said it was a blessing that God has given him the opportunity to try to work with everybody and make the city proud.
“I look forward to getting everybody ready for the positions that they hold,” Mays said. “And I’m telling you, I’ve been on this council for at least eight years.I ain’t tripping on a position. Just to have it and give to y’all has been a blessing.”
Herkenroder said she was proud to be a part of the council.
“I just wanted to say how proud I am with how much we’ve gotten done already in these five hours,” she said. “I think this is a really great start to our next five years together as a group.”