Flint, MI— The Flint City Council approved multiple appointments, a budget amendment, and a resolution on hairstyle-based discrimination during the council meeting on April 26. 

Here’s what the council decided on:

Approved a budget amendment for the City Clerk’s Office 

The council voted to approve a budget amendment moving funds from the General Fund to the city clerk’s budget to cover election expenses. City Clerk Inez Brown requested the budget amendment.

This amendment adds funds totaling $169,556.28 to cover the costs of the May 2021 election, and the November 2020 election. The money would cover election wages, transportation, temp workers, overtime, and postage.

Here’s a breakdown of where the funds will go: 

Election Wages Acct. No. 101-262.110-702.000 = $45,000.00

Election Wages Acct. No. 101-262.100-702.000 = $16,489.15

Election Transportation Acct. No. 101-262.100-860.000 = $5,000.00

Election Rentals Acct. No. 101-262.100-940.000 = $6,105.00 

Election Temp Workers Acct. No. 101-262.110-707.000 = $27,982.26

Election Overtime Acct. No. 101-262.100-713.000 = $14,000.00

Election Overtime Acct. No. 101-262.110-713.000 = $41,979.87

Election Postage Acct. No. 101-262.100-902.000 = $13,000.00.

According to the resolution document, the City budgeted for two elections (Aug. and Nov. 2020) elections in the FY2021 election budget, but additional funds are needed for the third election in May of this year. 

Approved a resolution to retain a permanent easement on the North Dort Highway for a secondary water source 

With a vote of six yes, two no, and one abstention, the council voted to approve this resolution to retain a permanent easement on the North Dort Highway property at Frances Road for city use including Flint’s secondary water source. 

The City of Flint is completing construction of the water source through a partnership with the Genesee County Drain Commission and the Great Lakes Water Authority. 

According to Attorney Bill Kim who spoke on this item at the last committee meeting, retaining this permanent easement would allow the City to continue to use the property for a water source even if the City later sold it. 

Approved a resolution to issue a $50,000.00 purchase order for street light repair 

The council approved this purchase order of $50,000 to Siemens Mobility for “Eagle signal repair parts and services,” for Flint’s traffic lights.

On Oct. 26, 2020, City Officials approved a purchase order of $120,000 for the same purpose. The Department of Public Works/Transportation Division requested the additional $50,000 for “several intersections that need to be upgraded.”

At the last committee meeting, the City of Flint’s Director of Transportation Infrastructure John Daly III, said there are two programs being undertaken. 

“The first one is that we’re in the process of transitioning from our old analog controllers and incandescent bulbs that were in the signals, to digital controllers and LEDs, and we’re about two thirds of the way through the city. That program’s been going on for three years,” he said. “And then there are also parts that will add services that will be necessary when we have a traffic signal failure, say due to inclement weather.”

According to the resolution document, the intersections that will be upgraded are: Court St. and Crapo; Avon St. and Court St.; and Atherton Rd. and Van Slyke. 

Approved a resolution to issue $29,310 purchase order for electrical support services

The council approved a $29,310.00 purchase order to Weinstein Electric “for additional support services for the City of Flint Oak Business Center.” The center is a facility that provides office space to businesses. 

According to the Director of Planning and Development, Suzanne Wilcox, the center has 18 industrial units, 15 office units, a conference room and a training room. 

“This resolution is to provide upgrades to the Oak Business Center in units, including lighting, changing lighting to LED, repairing perimeter lighting, and adding electrical outlets to one of the units,” Wilcox said at the last committee meeting. 

Approved a resolution to go into third year of leasing 20 Police Pursuit Vehicles 

The council voted to authorize a purchase order for $257,877.66 to Berger Chevrolet, Inc., for the third year of a four-year lease/purchase agreement for twenty 2019 Chevrolet Tahoe Police Pursuit Vehicles with full police up-fitting.

This third purchase order brings the aggregate amount of money spent on this agreement to $773,632.98. 

Approved a resolution to encourage residents/business to become Volunteer Vehicle City Blight Busters

The council unanimously voted to approve a resolution encouraging residents to clean their properties “at least once a week and as needed,” as well as volunteer with the City as “Vehicle City Blight Busters.”

According to the resolution document, “more enlisted volunteers are needed to aggressively and successfully remove the blight.” 

Initially, this resolution said this was encouragement coming from Mayor Sheldon Neeley, and did not include the council. During the Special Affairs committee meeting, the council voted to amend the resolution to include “the council.” 

Approved a resolution to install a sign in front of Whaley Center

The council unanimously approved a resolution which would authorize officials to approve the placement of a “Reclaimed by Whaley” sign in front of the Whaley building located at 141 West Second Street. 

The city’s Zoning Ordinance requires that the council authorize placement of signs over public property, which is why this resolution was necessary. 

Approved a resolution prohibiting discrimination based on hair texture or style 

The council unanimously approved a resolution which would prohibit discrimination based on “hair texture and protective hairstyles,” as it relates to employment and services with the city. 

The City’s Title VI Non-Discrimination plan already prohibited discrimination based on race, color, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, and other factors unrelated to an individual’s ability to perform the duties of their job. 

This resolution declares the term “race,” will now be inclusive of traits associated with race, such as hair texture and protective hairstyles which include braids, locks, and twists. 

The City put forth this resolution with the understanding that “people of color have historically been subjected to…discrimination based on hair texture and protective hairstyles,” but also in light of recent studies highlighting current issues in employment discrimination.

Approved appointment of Page Brousseau IV to the Ethics and Accountability Board

Brousseau was nominated by Councilwoman Eva Worthing to represent the 9th Ward. Worthing said she didn’t know Brousseau well, but that she had been struggling to find people to appoint to this position, and he was interested.

According to his resume, Brousseau is an educator and military veteran. He will fill the rest of Joseph Pettigrew’s term, as Pettigrew resigned in February. His term will expire June 25, 2024. 

The council voted 6-3 to approve Brousseau. Some council members wanted to postpone this item to another meeting where Brousseau would be present to answer questions, but the postponement failed. 

Approved two Water System Advisory Council appointments

There were four appointments to the Water System Advisory Council on the agenda. The purpose of this council, according to the resolution document, is to improve transparency in the community by “developing materials and advising the water system on public awareness and education efforts.” 

The city council voted to approve two members, but tabled other appointments out of concerns with being in line with the charter. 

The council approved Sheryl Thompson, appointed by Mayor Sheldon Neeley, to this council. Thompson is currently a Notary Signing Agent, and has previously worked for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The council also voted to approve the appointment of Earnestine Yvonne Lewis, the Director of Outreach for Genesee Health Plan, and CEO of the National Center for African American Health Consciousness, after approving an amendment to adjust her address. 

The appointments of James Gaskin, CEO of United Way of Genesee County, and Dr. Nancy Love, a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Michigan, were tabled to the next council meeting.

Councilman Eric Mays said he would like to vote for them, but wanted to get the Flint appointments first to be in line with the charter. Gaskin lives in Fenton and Love lives in Ann Arbor.

The council voted to postpone those appointments along with the rest of the agenda to the next council meeting.

Amy Diaz is a journalist hailing from St. Petersburg, FL. She has written for multiple local newspapers in her hometown before becoming a full-time reporter for Flint Beat. When she’s not writing you...