Flint, MI– On March 22, the Flint City Council approved resolutions to condemn violence against Asian Americans, request greater transparency from the court involved in the Flint water settlement, and more. With only six members present, they also tabled other agenda items to future council or committee meetings.

Here’s what the council decided on: 

  1. Appointment of Shelbi Frayer to chief financial officer moved to the next committee meeting

Mayor Sheldon Neeley announced the appointment of Frayer as the new chief financial officer on Feb. 24. On March 3, her appointment failed to move from a committee meeting to a regular council meeting where it could be approved, so it was put back on the agenda for reconsideration.

Council voted to move it back to the next committee meeting to go over a few technicalities in her job description. 

“I don’t want to kill this lady’s appointment, I want to eventually vote for her, but there have been concerns,” said Councilman Eric Mays. 

Councilwoman Monica Galloway said she too would eventually be voting to approve her appointment, and commended her for attending a special city council meeting when some council members and members of the administration did not. 

Galloway asked that Frayer not let politics play a role in her job, and that she remain transparent with the budget, but that she’s shown “extreme leadership” so far. 

As CFO, Frayer will oversee all aspects of the city’s finances. She previously served as the chief strategy and financial officer for the City of Lansing, and served the State of Michigan in different roles including executive director for the Financial Review Commission, director of the Office of School Review and Fiscal Accountability, and director of Local Government.

  1. Appointment of Michael Brown to Director of the Department of Public Works tabled to the next council meeting

This agenda item was also brought before council for reconsideration after it failed to move to council during a committee meeting on March 17.

On March 11, Mayor Sheldon Neeley announced his appointment of Michael Brown to the position that had been vacant since September of last year.  Brown has worked in multiple wastewater plants in the past, according to a press release sent out by the City last week. He was the utilities administrator at the wastewater treatment plant until 2011, the chief chemist for the city of Saginaw’s Wastewater Treatment Plant, and most recently, an operations supervisor for two wastewater plants in Oakland County. 

The council voted to table the appointment to the next council meeting. 

  1. Reappointment of Quincy Murphy to the Mass Transportation Authority Board of Directors approved

Council voted to approve Murphy’s reappointment for a two-year term that would expire in March of 2023, with five yes votes and one abstention from Councilman Mays. 

According to his resume, Murphy was a former charter commissioner for the City, a former elected NAACP executive board member, and spent over 25 years organizing community projects, activities and programs. 

4. Rowe Professional Services Co. Change Order tabled to the next council meeting

Rowe is requesting an additional half a million dollars to continue their project management for the lead service line replacement program since the project is continuing into 2021. Rowe entered into a contract with the City on March 11, 2019 in an amount not to exceed $2,138,735. The project was supposed to be completed at the end of 2019, but due to COVID-19 and other delays, it is still ongoing. The change order would raise their contract price to $2,638,735.

Mayor Sheldon Neeley has called on the council to approve the resolution, after they have repeatedly voted not to move this change order from committee meetings to the regular council meeting where it could be approved.

With only six members present, Councilwoman Galloway said she would not be supporting the change order, but didn’t want to see it die without getting a fair chance. Council voted to table it to the next council meeting.

5. $300,000 contract for Flint River map revision approved 

FEMA is requiring the City to update their flood maps for the Flint River since it has been decades since they were last updated, and in that time, two dams have been removed, and Consumers Energy dredged a section of the river to fuel a power plant.

The council voted to approve a resolution entering into a contract with Stantec Consulting Services, the lowest bidder, to remap the floodplains. The project is entirely grant funded.

Mark Adas, an engineer for the City in the department of Transportation, said the City has been threatened with fines over the completion of this project, and that it will likely take over a year to complete. 

6. Purchase order for lift station pumps approved

Council voted to approve a $277,782.00 purchase order to Kennedy Industries, Inc., for lift station pumps for Water Pollution Control. According to the resolution, the existing pumps are “old, obsolete, and in urgent need of replacement,” and the new pumps “will increase reliability” and “reduce operations and maintenance costs.”

7. Resolution from the City requesting more transparency from Judge Judith Levy as it relates to matters of the Flint water lawsuit settlement approved

Council voted to approve the City sending a “general notice” to Judge Levy to request greater transparency in settlement matters.

According to the resolution, the City is requesting “transparency at every step of this settlement process including the Court’s review of the Motion for attorney fees and, in particular, the reimbursement of expenses.”

The resolution also includes a request for Judge Levy to “retain a court-appointed expert or appoint the special master to assist in reviewing the Motion,” filed on March 8 by the Plaintiffs’ counsel related to attorney fees. 

City Attorney Angela Wheeler explained that the resolution is basically a request for more transparency as decisions are made, and explaining to the court that the public deserves transparency, especially when it comes to attorney fees. 

Councilman Mays said he wasn’t sure what kind of legality the notice would have, but still supported it. 

“I don’t see any real meat in it, but we’ll see what it does,” Mays said. 

8. Amendment to a grant agreement for the Flint Police Department approved

The council voted to approve an amendment to increase the budget of the Enhanced and Integrated Blight Elimination and Community Policing grant by $30,000, for a total of $127,000.

The council approved a $97,000 grant to the police department to cover neighborhood safety officer expenses on January 25, 2021. The amendment adds $30,000 to cover Data Analyst wages and fringes. 

9. Resolution from the City condemning violence against Asian Americans approved

Council approved an add-on resolution from the City condemning violence and discrimination against Asian Americans in the City of Flint.

City Attorney Wheeler said this resolution came about after a mass shooting in Atlanta last week, where a gunman fatally shot eight people, including six women of Asian descent. 

The Stop Asian American Pacific Islander Hate reporting center found that there were 3,795 reported hate incidents against Asian Americans from March 19, 2020 to February 28, 2021. Stop AAPI Hate has reported that Asian Americans are experiencing an increase of racism during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Wheeler said the City felt that something should be done to recognize the racism that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are experiencing. 

“Flint has a rich history of really looking at civil rights struggles, and really that includes all people of all backgrounds and ethnicities, and so this was prepared in that spirit, to denounce those things that are happening, the recent violence and harassment…against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders,” Wheeler said.

According to the resolution, “the City seeks to prevent and remedy barriers that would adversely impact the commitment to human dignity based on race, color, and national origin, including those that impact Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities.” The City will also “do all things necessary” to call upon higher levels of government to condemn the violence and harassment against AAPI people and communities.

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...

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