Flint, MI—City Council voted on June 12, 2023 to cancel its remaining meetings in June.

The meetings would have taken place on June 21 and June 26. The vote was 5-2, with Councilmen Eric Mays and Quincy Murphy absent and Councilwomen Jerri Winfrey-Carter and Tonya Burns voting ‘no.’

According to city charter, Flint City Council is only required to meet twice a month, and the council has already exceeded that for June through budget meetings, noted Councilwoman Allie Herkenroder.

“Breaks are healthy, breaks are good. When we’re doing this week after week…it leads to burnout,” said Herkenroder. “It weighs on people and we can’t continue to show up day after day after day.”

Council also voted to approve a lawsuit settlement that gives five plaintiffs a collective $189,000 from a case accusing former city officials of sexual harassment and racial discrimination. This adds to a prior partial settlement approval totaling $360,000 to another five plaintiffs in the case.

Here’s what else happened at the June 12 council meeting:

New city employee compensation schedule

Council approved a new City of Flint exempt employee compensation schedule, which determines the wage scale for city employees. The former schedule had not been updated since 1999.

During discussion, Director of Human Resources Eddie Smith told councilmembers that Flint’s pay is not competitive with any of its surrounding municipalities.

The resolution explains that $1 in 1999 is worth $1.81 in today’s money, based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“That’s the whole point of this is to make us competitive,” Smith said told councilmembers.

Council approved the resolution through its consent agenda, which was an 8-0 vote with Mays absent.

Smoke detector purchase and installation for residents

Council also approved a $14,340 purchase of 500 smoke detectors that will last for ten years.

In the past, Interim Flint Fire Chief Theron Wiggins said, the fire department would hand out smoke detectors to residents, then later find them at garage sales.

Now, he said they are partnered with the Red Cross and the State Fire Marshal’s office to install the smoke detectors and register them.

“We have a program now we’re instituting . . . that the fire trucks carry fire, or smoke detectors, and when we’re on a call, and they’re [firefighters are] in that house, they’re required to check those smoke detectors and/or install a smoke detector,” he said.

Wiggins said the program allows for up to three smoke detectors per household, but he recommends one per level.

“Most of the time we will install a carbon monoxide detector as well in the lower level,” he said.

Everything else

Council voted ‘no’ on the second reading of an ordinance that would update the Flint Code of Ordinances to criminalize trespassing in a condemned building.

The ordinance would have made violators guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a $500 fine. Councilwomen Judy Priestley, Allie Herkenroder and Eva Worthing and Councilman Dennis Pfeiffer voted in favor of the ordinance. Winfrey-Carter and Burns voted no, Council Vice President Ladel Lewis abstained and Mays and Murphy were absent.

Council also passed 12 other resolutions and two appointments:

  • Council approved the appointment of Leon El-Alamin to the Flint Housing Commission through August 31, 2026.
  • Council approved the appointment of Gwen Huddleston to the Hurley Board of Hospital Managers for a five-year term, ending April 30, 2028.
  • Council approved a resolution to create an Ad-Hoc Housing Committee to meet with the city administration to discuss fair housing issues. The resolution, which was introduced by Council President Allie Herkenroder, also “urges repeal of the ban on rent control laws in Michigan.” Lewis and Councilwoman Eva Worthing will serve on the committee.
  • Council approved a resolution to allocate $121,397.69 for the Flint Police Department to purchase commercial-grade monitors connecting to city camera systems.
  • Council voted to adopt the 2023 operating millage rate of 1.8806 mills for the Downtown Development Authority.
  • Council approved the acceptance of $35,877.40 from the state to use for basic law enforcement training academy scholarships and salaries for employed recruits.
  • Council approved a resolution affirming the city’s commitment to proposed bridge projects like Western Road over Kearsley Creek, Grand Traverse over the Flint River, Sunset Drive over the Flint River, Leith Street over W. Boulevard and the Flint River, Beach/Garland Street over the Flint River and East Boulevard over the Kearsley Creek.
  • Council approved a resolution authorizing an $11,340 purchase from Red Wing Shoe Store for safety work boots for the fire department.
  • Council approved a purchase of no more than $18,000 to Municipal Emergency Services for the purchase of uniforms for the fire department.
  • Council approved $44,749.70 for the fire department to upfit and equip six Chevrolet Tahoes.
  • Council approved $136,080 to purchase three pickup trucks for the Water and Sewer Departments.
  • Council approved $246,561 for the purchase of four Chevrolet Tahoe police pursuit vehicles and one Chevrolet Tahoe special service vehicle for the police department. All of these will be replacing vehicles that are older makes/models or that have received extensive damages, according to the resolution language.
  • Council approved $250,000 for the police department’s Police Activities League (PAL) program. The program is for children ages 6 to 17 and its purpose is to “offer an alternative to the street life that they often turn to when not embracing ‘hope’ in their lives,” the resolution reads.
  • Council approved the acceptance of $115,469.69 from the State of Michigan for the public assistance grant program (FEMA). The funds will go toward COVID screening and testing of employees, as well as COVID-19 supplies like masks, sanitizers, wipes, gloves and disinfectants.
  • Council voted to send a resolution to the finance committee that would have approved the purchase of recycling and trash carts for the city and would extended its contract with Priority Waste, LLC. for two years.
  • Council voted to begin receiving resumes to fill the 7th ward councilperson vacancy starting July 3, three days after Herkenroder’s resignation goes into effect.
  • Council voted to postpone indefinitely a resolution authorizing the purchase of speed humps.

Sophia is Flint Beat's City Hall reporter. She joins the team after previously reporting for the Livingston Daily and the Lansing State Journal, along with some freelance work with The New York Times....