By Tom Travis
Moments before the Flint City Council was to hold their bi-monthly Monday evening meeting a public notice was sent out from the City Clerk’s staff notifying the public that the meeting was cancelled. The notice was signed by Council President Monica Galloway (7th Ward) and Council Vice-president Maurice Davis (2nd Ward).
Also, Monday evening Tane Dorsey, Flint’s Ombudsperson, sent out a public notice that the Tuesday evening Ethics and Accountability Board meeting is cancelled.
The Public Notice sent out Monday evening read in part:
“On Friday, October 5, 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court (MSC) issued an order declaring that the Emergency Powers of Governor Act (EPGA) was an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority, which was the primary authority relied on by Governor Whitmer for her COVID-19 related executive orders. Subsequently, Governor Whitmer requested that the MSC clarify that their order does not go into effect until October 30, 2020.
On Monday, October 12, 2020, The Michigan Supreme Court rejected Governor Whitmer’s request to delay the effect of its decision to strike down the EPGA. Therefore, the City is without authority to continue to hold in electronic meetings until the State House and Senate act to adopt House Bill 6207 and Senate Bill 1108, amending the Open Meetings Act to allow for electronic meetings.”
The entire Public Notice of cancellation document can be read below.
Beginning in April City Hall was closed due to the coronavirus ensuing pandemic and in an effort to lessen the spread of coronavirus. City Hall has since reopened with added public health safety measures and a limited schedule including making appointments necessary for some city department visits. During the pandemic the City Council has been meeting twice a month and for special City Council meetings electronically via YouTube.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has issued nearly 200 executive orders since March dealing with public life. A list of all the executive orders signed by Gov Whitmer can be viewed here on the michigan.gov website.
Gov Whitmer’s executive order 2020-129 specifically gave “temporary authorization of remote participation in public meetings and hearings and temporary relief from monthly requirements for school boards.” This was the authority under which Flint City Council was able to conduct their electronic bi-monthly meetings via YouTube. Because of the Michigan Supreme Court’s ruling against Gov Whitmer’s power used to enact the executive orders, the Flint City Council was unable to meet.
Last week Mayor Sheldon Neeley sent out a press release commenting on the Michigan Supreme Court’s ruling against Gov Whitmer’s executive orders. EVM reported on that press release from the Mayor and that report can be viewed here.
If anyone has questions concerning the Public Notice or future City Council meetings they can call The City Council Office at (810)766-7418.
EVM Managing Editor, Tom Travis, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org