Flint, MI – Flint City Councilman Eric Mays has filed a lawsuit against the Flint City Council following their meeting on July 31, 2023 where they voted to suspend him from council until September 1, 2023.

The lawsuit was filed in the 7th Judicial Circuit Court on August 1, 2023, the day after the meeting that suspended Mays.

Mays’ attorneys submitted a request for an expedited injunction, meaning they requested that their complaint be viewed more quickly, given the timeline.

“Once again, we find ourselves trying to prevent an injustice from being perpetrated by various members of the Flint City Council,” said Joseph Cannizzo, Jr., one of the attorneys representing Mays, in an Aug. 1 email statement. “The unlawful resolution – Resolution 230236 – which was passed by the Flint City Council yesterday is a disgraceful attempt by the Council to silence its most senior member.”

The suit alleges that suspending Mays was in violation of the Open Meetings Act, which states that, “A person must be permitted to address a meeting of a public body under rules established and recorded by the public body.”

The brief says that in that sentence, the word “person” refers to “persons in both their individual and official capacity.”

The written brief of the suit also references Kate Fields v. Flint City Council, where the council voted in 2021 to keep Fields, a former city council member, from speaking at meetings for 30 days, but still allowing her to vote. The court ruled in Fields’ favor.

Mays’ brief states that the situation in that case is, “nearly identical” to the current situation.

Flint City Council voted 5-0 at its special council meeting on July 31, 2023 to suspend Mays.

The resolution referenced a July 10, 2023 meeting where Mays “shouted profanities at the chair and other councilmembers,” and, “failed to conduct himself with appropriate decorum.”

The suspension resolution language, which was submitted by Council Vice President Ladel Lewis and Councilwoman Judy Priestley, states: “While suspended, Councilmember Eric Mays is prohibited from taking his seat or participating, in any meeting of the City Council or its committees, in his official capacity as a City Councilmember.”

“This is unfortunate that the taxpayers’ time and money is being wasted in this way,” Lewis told Flint Beat in response to the lawsuit.

Lewis, Priestley and Councilmembers Quincy Murphy, Dennis Pfeiffer and Eva Worthing voted to suspend Mays. Councilwomen Tonya Burns and Jerri Winfrey-Carter voted against it and Councilwoman Candice Mushatt abstained. Mays was not present to vote.

City of Flint Communications Director Caitie O’Neill wrote in an email on the morning of Aug. 2 that the city had not been served with the lawsuit.

No date has been set for a hearing.

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....

3 replies on “Flint City Councilman Eric Mays files lawsuit regarding suspension”

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  2. His “act” is as expected: obfuscation.
    Thumbing his noses to the Department Of Defense; The Department Of Justice; and. The Health And Human Services Administration plus 3000+Municipal Union Members and one Federal Officer who was replacing The Honorable Mr. Senator Carl Levin in a meeting with a very powerful Federal Salaried employee from Chicago, and Councilman Mays chose to lean across his desk and insult me…That it was I that did not understand, I simply stood up and left his office.
    We have the personality and sense to simply turn our backs on that type of mindedness.
    Ego and well-being are symptoms of pushing away intellect.
    (we know about the “contracts”.) Blocking our Mayor? He played his hand again.
    He always shows his cards.
    His act is as “old” as the 1950s-1960s.
    La Grande testa created a gap between business and municipal government.
    Two sides are watching.
    Who is to say when those two sides will NOT “turn their backs”.

    Enjoy your breakfasts.
    Be safe; be well; and. be happy.
    Within three years things are going to get very serious.
    The Family stays away from me for a very good reason. MY Foundation is always watching…and we own much more that the Family.
    Be glad about freedom.
    Soon. WE will have untold wealth. A great wealth is coming. Banks will be competing for OUR fortunes.
    You are strong my neighbors. This life is for you. This was my Grandfather’s Creed…we have the same name.

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