By Tom Travis
On Wednesday Mayor Sheldon Neeley released a statement scolding the council for a “failure to act” on a resolution that would allow for additional $500,000 in funding towards the “Fast Start” water line replacement. Neeley added that the council’s “failure to act” on that resolution “jeopardizes completion of Flint service line replacement project.”
In Monday’s six-hour council meeting of the Special Affairs Committee, the council discussed a resolution authorizing a $500,000 change order to pay the Rowe Engineering contract. Rowe is in charge of project management for the “Fast Start” water line replacement project.
Councilperson Allan Griggs (8th Ward) suggested to the council that another entity should pay for the change order, not the City of Flint.
The Special Affairs committee failed to pass the resolution to the council floor where it would be voted on. The resolution will remain in committee until the council can take action on it in a council meeting.
The Mayor’s statement read in part, “Mayor Sheldon Neeley today called on City Council to stop delaying a critically important contract extension for project management of the service line replacement project. Council’s failure to vote on the issue will force work on Flint’s service line replacement project to come to a halt.”
The Mayor explained that the service line replacement aimed for a 2019 completion date but when his administration took over in November, 2019. the work was “behind schedule.”
Neeley continued, “All we want is for Flint City Council to do what is in the best interest of the residents of the City of Flint. Instead we are seeing obstructionists who attempt to sideline every issue before them. Petty politics has no place here when lives are at risk…”
The statement ended, “The service line replacement project is in its final stages. So far, the City of Flint has excavated 26,800 service lines. Of those 9,200 were lead or galvanized steel. There are fewer than 500 service lines estimated to be checked as part of the project.”
Where the City Council meetings stand
The City Council convened Monday night, March 8 for their regular round of Special Affairs committee and City Council meetings. The Special Affairs committee lasted six hours, until nearly 11 p.m. The Council never convened for its regular meeting that was supposed to begin at 5:30 p.m.
Then on Tuesday, March 9, Council President Kate Fields called a Special City Council meeting to be held Monday, March 15, to cover the agenda items never tended to from Monday’s agenda.
Later that same day, Councilperson Monica Galloway (7th Ward) and Eric Mays (1st Ward) called another Special City Council meeting for Wednesday, March 10. (According to the Flint City Charter any two council members can call a special meeting.)
At the Wednesday, March 10 meeting only four council members attended: Monica Galloway (7th Ward), Eric Mays (1st Ward), Jerri Winfrey-Carter (5th Ward) and Herb Winfrey (6th Ward), meaning there was not a quorum.
Council Vice-President Maurice Davis (2nd Ward) said on his nightly Facebook program “Blues and News,” that he hosts with his wife Beverly, that he was not aware of the meeting and that he would have been there if was notified. The council only needed one more council member to meet the quorum requirement.
However, Councilperson Jerry Winfrey-Carter (5th Ward) contended at the end of the meeting that all council members had been properly notified of the Special Council meeting.
EVM Managing Editor Tom Travis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.