By Meghan Christian
Meeting for the first time Monday night after a swearing-in ceremony just hours before, the new Flint City Council elected two members to serve as its leaders and approved two of Mayor Karen Weaver’s appointments — for chief financial officer and director of public works.
Sixth Ward Councilman Herbert Winfrey, returned for a new four-year term Nov. 7, was elected president over First Ward Councilman Eric Mays, six votes to three. Voting for Winfrey were Kate Fields, Monica Galloway, L. Allan Griggs, Santino Guerra, H. Winfrey and Eva Worthing. Those voting for Mays were Mays, Maurice Davis and Jerri Winfrey-Carter.“I want to thank all my colleagues and for trusting me with your vote,” Winfrey said.
Seventh Ward Councilwoman Monica Galloway beat newly elected Second Ward Councilman Maurice Davis for vice president in a closer vote of five to four. Those voting for Galloway were Fields, Galloway, Griggs, Winfrey and Worthing. Voting for Davis were Mays, Davis, Guerra and Winfrey-Carter. “I do want to thank my colleagues for the opportunity to serve for the vice president,” Galloway said. Like Winfrey, Galloway was re-elected Nov. 7. Davis is a newcomer to the board, having ousted incumbent Jackie Poplar in the Second Ward. All council members serve four-year terms.
Mayor Weaver, who was in attendance, addressed the newly-elected and re-elected council members with an invitation to collaboration and hard work after a period of years of often tempestuous disagreements between her administration and the council.
“I am looking forward to working with you. We got a lot of work to do and the people have set a mandate. They want to see the business of the city move forward and I hope that’s what we are all here to do. I’m ready to work and I’m ready to work with you all,” Weaver said.
City Council also approved Weaver’s appointments of chief financial officer and director of the Department of Public Works. Hughey Newsome, former senior manager for MorganFranklin Consulting in Washington D.C., was approved unanimously for CFO. Robert Bincsik, water distribution and sewer maintenance supervisor and city employee since 1996, was approved for director of the DPW with a vote of eight to one.
About 100 residents, a larger crowd than usual, attended the meeting, which lasted more than three hours (Photo by Meghan Christian).
Residents responded to the new city council in various ways, but for some the new council brings the potential for change. Tony Palladeno, Flint resident, community activist and recently defeated mayoral candidate, addressed the council, stating that he was proud they were able to reach some decisions.
“Although we might not all see eye to eye, I seen something tonight that I haven’t seen in a long time: you all agreed to disagree… You guys appointed something; you got some people in the administration who are going to work. I haven’t seen that. And although we might not agree, you guys did something tonight,” Palladeno said.
“This is what we have been screaming for… By God, I’m proud of you guys tonight,” Palladeno added, suggesting hope that the new council would continue to get things done.
EVM Managing Editor Meghan Christian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.