By Tom Travis
Shelbi Frayer has joined the City of Flint Finance department as the new Chief Financial Officer (CFO). “Frayer comes to Flint with a wealth of experience in municipal finance, previously serving in key leadership roles with the City of Lansing, State of Michigan, and multiple school districts,” Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley explained in a press release.
Frayer, 35, lives with her husband of 13 years, Chris, north of Lansing. The Frayers have two children ages 8 and 11 and a five year old tea cup poodle named Mardi. Frayer told EVM that, with school age children, they have chosen to stay where they live and not move to Flint. Frayer commutes to City Hall saying, “I actually enjoy the drive as it gives me some down time!” Frayer’s salary, once approved by city council, will be $148,000 per year. Frayer is currently serving as Interim-Chief Financial Officer.
$71 million 2021-2022 city budget
Frayer comes to the city just in time to help navigate upcoming negotiations on a proposed $71 million 2021-2022 city budget. A hearing before the city council on the budget is set for 5:30 Thursday, March 25.
The proposed budget, and if approved by council the final budget, can be viewed online at www.cityofflint.com and choosing the finance tab. Links are available online at the EVM website as well.
Neeley explained that as Chief Financial Officer, Frayer will oversee all aspects of the City’s finances, including preparation and administration of the City’s budget and financial reports as well as accounting payroll, grant reporting, and purchasing.
“We are so pleased to have Shelbi Frayer join our team. Her leadership, expertise, and eagle-eye toward savings are exactly what the City of Flint needs,” Mayor Sheldon Neeley said. “With her extensive knowledge, the City of Flint will tackle its financial challenges and continue to move forward in a positive direction.”
“I am excited to be a part of this team that is creating positive change in the City of Flint. I am eager to work with the administration, council, and residents to continue moving this city forward,” said Frayer in the press release.
Frayer brings a “wealth of experience”
Before joining the City of Flint team, Frayer served the City of Lansing as its first chief strategy and financial officer.
Frayer also previously served at the State of Michigan, where she specialized in sustaining financially stressed areas. Her roles included serving as executive director for the Financial Review Commission, director of the Office of School Review and Fiscal Accountability, and director of Local Government (overseeing audits, municipal borrowing, issuance of State bonds and notes). Frayer also led a team that implemented legislation for fiscal solvency in Detroit Public Schools.
Frayer started at the City of Flint in February and is currently serving as interim CFO. The CFO appointment must appear before the city council for consent. In last Monday’s council meeting Frayer’s appointment was sent back to the Government Operations committee for consideration which will meet April 7.
Frayer has joined every council meeting since she came on as interim CFO answering questions and explaining the City’s financial situation to council.
$71 million proposed budget presented by Mayor Neeley
The mayor presented earlier in March a $71-million FY(fiscal year)2021-22 proposed budget to the Flint City Council.
“The balanced budget proposal makes investments in blight cleanup, the City Clerk’s office and the Ombudsperson’s office while keeping staffing levels and expenses stable,” a press release from the mayor’s office stated.
‘In this proposed budget, we are keeping costs down while also fulfilling our responsibilities to serve residents, care for our retirees and fulfill Charter requirements,'” Neeley said in the press release.
Mayor Neeley outlined large increases to the city‘s pension system that are draining the General Fund. Last year’s budget projected a $12-million deficit for the FY22 budget. Through the City‘s operational audit, that $12 million gap was closed and the mayor presented a balanced budget.
“This is a blessed budget, but it is a fragile budget,” Mayor Neeley said.
“Emergency managers failed to truly fix the City‘s finances because they never addressed these known legacy costs — and at the same time they created a false sense of security by raiding the Water & Sewer funds and taking out loans that the city still is paying back,” asserted Neeley in the press release.
A proposed budget was presented to the council earlier in March. On Thursday, March 25 there will be a budget hearing with the city council at 5:30 p.m. EVM will continue to report on the city’s budget online at www.eastvillagemagazine.org.
EVM Managing Editor, Tom Travis, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org