By Tom Travis
Eric Mays, the subject of ongoing controversy on the Flint City Council including a recent brouhaha when he made a Nazi salute and compared Council President Monica Galloway to Hitler, was ejected from the council meeting Monday night and then stripped of all leadership roles by unanimous vote of the remaining council members.
The Special Affairs Committee and Flint City Council meeting lasted nearly six hours, and included the usual flared tempers and contentious behavior between council members. Galloway (7th Ward) had had enough of Eric Mays’ (1st Ward) interruptions and contentious behavior and removed him from the meeting.
Then one council person took action. Councilperson Maurice Davis (2nd Ward) made a motion to suspend the rules so that the council could talk about leadership on the council. Davis then moved that Mays be removed from all leadership roles on the council.
The six remaining councilpersons, Davis (2nd Ward), Santino Guerra (3rd Ward), Jerri Winfrey-Carter (5th Ward), Herb Winfrey (6th Ward), Monican Galloway (7th Ward) and Allan Griggs (8th Ward), voted unanimously to remove Mays from all leadership roles. Kate Fields (4th Ward) and Eva Worthing (9th Ward) had already left the meeting for the evening at the time of the vote.
Mays had been council vice-president and chair of both the Finance Committee and Special Affairs Committee.
Numerous warning were not heeded
It all began when City Administrator Clyde Edwards was at the podium attempting to speak. Galloway (7th Ward) called on Mays (1st Ward) to stop talking out of order from his seat. Galloway had given Mays a first warning at the beginning of the four-and-a-half hour council meeting and had recently warned Mays numerous times that he was out of order.
Galloway informed Mays he was going to be removed from the meeting and she called forward Flint Police Officer Bill Metcalfe, who is regularly assigned to cover the council meetings, to remove Mays.
Mays appealed the decision of the chair to have him removed, but his motion died for lack of support from other council members. Mays continued to talk and disrupt the meeting, Galloway again asked Mays to stop disrupting.
Galloway made a point to thank the administration officials who were present and had stayed through the entire nearly six hour meeting: Edwards, Chief of Staff Brian Larkin, Interim Director of DPW Transportation Division John Daly, and Chief Financial Officer and City Treasurer, Amanda Trujillo.
Mays interjected as he left his seat, “I want you all to buckle up.”
Galloway asked Mays to leave. Officer Metcalfe picked up papers falling from Mays’ chair and briefcase as he stood to leave. Mays pointed his finger at Galloway and waved his arms at her, arguing with her decision to remove him. Addressing the council, he said “Get ready for the ride.”
Mays continued to stand at his seat, collecting his papers, yelling at Galloway and the council. Officer Metcalfe stood beside Mays waiting to escort him from the council chamber.
Mays finally left the council chamber marching down the center aisle, continuing to yell with his head turned yelling at the council. Officer Metcalfe stayed on Mays’ heels escorting him from the room.
With Mays in the back of the council chamber still yelling, Davis (2nd Ward) made a motion to suspend the rules and Councilperson Guerra seconded the motion. Davis continued by stating he’d like to talk about council leadership.
“Sometimes you have to put teeth to it”
“I promise this community that we must do better,” Davis pleaded. ” I’ve been sitting here patiently all day. I hope my colleagues understand, I’m not playing. This community deserves better than what they’re getting.…
“Sometimes you have to put teeth to it or a force it if you’re tired,” he continued. Motioning with open arms to the remaining audience, he said, “The community is tired. Let’s rise up tonight and make a difference for our community.”
Davis then made a motion to remove Councilperson Mays from all leadership positions on the council. Allan Griggs (8th Ward) seconded. The vote was unanimous to remove Mays from all leadership roles on Council.
One final piece of business was to approve all other resolutions on the agenda except for one resolution brought by Mays to subpoena Genesee County Commissioner John Gleason. That resolution was dropped and removed.
Plan to hire parliamentarian for 90-day trial approved 8-1.
Earlier in the meeting there was a discussion about hiring a parliamentarian to help bring more order and to assist the council in observing the council rules and Robert’s Rules of Order. Winfrey-Carter (5th Ward) said she would vote yes to have a parliamentarian hired for council meetings. She added, “But you know at the end of the day it’s about respect. We still have to come together and act like adults.”
Councilperson Fields (4th Ward) clarified that council rules comes first, asserting that Robert’s Rules of Order come into play if council rules do not say anything about a particular procedural issue. Fields added, “A lot of our council rules are modeled after Robert’s Rules of Order.”
Galloway related a conversations she’s had with a parliamentarian who said the role of a parliamentarian is not to change the behavior of the council members, but to help a council exercise the rules.
The motion to seek a parliamentarian on a trial basis for 90 days passed 8-1, with Mays casting the lone “no” vote.
EVM Staff Writer Tom Travis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.