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Flint, MI– After two months of postponements, the Flint City Council has approved the appointment of a new chief financial officer.
During the Oct. 25 council meeting, the council voted 6-2, with one abstention, to approve the appointment of Robert Widigan.
Mayor Sheldon Neeley appointed Widigan in August when the former CFO Shelbi Frayer left the position after six months. As CFO, he will oversee all aspects of the city of Flint’s finances, and earn a salary of $135,000.
Widigan was born and raised in Flint. He attended Mott Community College and University of Michigan-Flint, and has a Bachelor’s of Business Administration with a concentration in finance. Before taking this role, Widigan served as the finance director for the city of Lansing. He has also served as the village manager in the Village of Shelby, and a departmental analyst for the State of Michigan.
Widigan started in the interim CFO position on Aug. 16. Appointments can remain interim for 90 days, but must receive approval from the council to continue beyond that.
During Monday’s council meeting, council members asked Widigan, who had been interim for 71 days at this point, several questions before voting to approve him.
Councilwoman Monica Galloway asked Widigan how he learned of the position, and if he had applied after seeing a job posting. Widigan shared that he was approached by the mayor, and asked if he’d be interested in taking on the job.
“When your hometown calls, you go,” Widigan said.
Galloway said she felt Widigan didn’t have enough experience, and that she was “alarmed,” to find out he hadn’t applied to a posting, but was instead approached by the mayor.
Councilman Eric Mays asked Widigan whether or not he would be planning to leave the meetings at 9 p.m. as the mayor recently instructed administration to do.
Widigan said that he serves at the will of the mayor, but referenced a prior special meeting where he stayed later to engage in the council’s discussion about the federal COVID-19 relief funding coming to the city.
“I am happy to attend your council meetings and provide you with any information that you need,” Widigan said. “And should you have questions past that deadline, I’ll be more than happy to come back and report back to you for the residents and for you at the next meeting.”
With that answer, Mays told him he may have lost his vote, but Councilwoman Eva Worthing voiced her support.
“I really don’t think we need to have meetings until one or 2 a.m, as well, so I’m in support,” Worthing said. “I hope that Mr Widigan hangs in there despite the abuse from council members. And it’s unfortunate that we have such high turnover because of this type of situation.”
Six councilmembers–Council President Kate Fields, Councilwoman Worthing, Councilman Allan Griggs, Councilman Santino Guerra, Councilman Herbert Winfrey, and Councilman Maurice Davis–voted in support of his appointment. Councilwoman Galloway and Councilwoman Jerri Winfrey-Carter voted against the appointment. Councilman Mays abstained.