Flint, MI — Flint City Councilman Eric Mays is suspended from his council responsibilities until September 1, 2023.
Flint City Council voted at its special council meeting on July 31, 2023 to suspend Mays.
The resolution references a July 10, 2023 meeting where Mays “shouted profanities at the chair and other councilmembers,” and, “failed to conduct himself with appropriate decorum.”
Mays told Flint Beat that he plans to talk with lawyers on Aug. 1 about legal action.
“I think it was unlawful. You put me out of that meeting, and then you come back with a double penalty,” he said. “I think it’s clear that there’s a different treatment for the same or similar conduct.”
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.”
The resolution to suspend Mays was approved in a 5-2 vote with one abstention.
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 in his seat for the vote.
Pfeiffer said the decision was more about Mays’ general conduct than about his swearing.
“Swearing and vulgar language is part of my daily vernacular,” Pfeiffer said. “However, when you shout derogatory and abusive language at colleagues, that’s where we draw the line.”
Burns said that it was discriminatory to suspend Mays for behavior that other council members exhibit as well.
“I get that . . . many of you don’t like him, but you’re punishing him for that same behavior that you often do,” she told her colleagues.
Lewis said that the behavior exhibited by Mays was not new and began immediately after she and other council members were sworn in.
“He [Mays] verbally attacks you when you don’t agree. You don’t believe me? Tune in to the first council meeting that we had, and he attacked the four people that did not vote for him for president,” she said.
The resolution to suspend Mays was not the only resolution to suspend a council member on the floor at the July 31 meeting, however.
A separate resolution detailed a plan to suspend both Priestley and Worthing following a July 19, 2023 meeting in which Worthing and Burns got into an argument and Worthing stood up from her seat.
Priestley, who was chairing the meeting, “failed and neglected to timely intervene,” the resolution states.
This second suspension resolution failed, with Lewis, Murphy, Priestley and Worthing voting against it and Pfeiffer and Mushatt abstaining.
Mays, Burns and Winfrey-Carter were absent from the meeting at the time of the vote.