By Tom Travis
Councilperson Allie Herkenroder (Ward 7) was selected Monday on a 6-3 vote to be Flint city council president, with Councilperson Ladel Lewis (Ward 2) as vice-president. Councilpersons Eric Mays (Ward 1), Jerri Winfrey-Carter (Ward 5) and Tonya Burns (Ward 6) voted against Herkenroder and Lewis.
In addition, the council accepted a $10 million grant from the C.S. Mott Foundation and an additional $1.5 million from the city’s ARPA funds for a total of $11.5 million towards the Berston Field House improvements. (See related story)
Herkenroder won the presidency in one round of voting and Lewis won the vice-presidency in two rounds of voting. Voting in favor of the new president and vice-president were Councilpersons Ladel Lewis (Ward 2), Quincy Murphy (Ward 3), Judy Priestley (Ward 4), Allie Herkenroder (Ward 7), Dennis Pfeiffer (Ward 8) and Eva Worthing (Ward 9). Herkenroder and Lewis will serve as president and vice-president for one year.
Last year Councilperson Eric Mays (Ward 1) was voted president of council with Herkenroder as vice-president. In February, the council voted to remove Mays from the presidency and Herkenroder, as vice-president, presided over city council meetings until September when she informed the council she could no longer chair the meetings due to a change in her personal employment. The council selected Councilperson Pfeiffer to preside at the meetings until the annual council organization meeting usually held the week following election day.
In an email, Herkenroder explained why she had changed her mind about being president, “It looks like my capacity wasn’t as slim as I thought it would be.”
Once elected, president Herkenroder asked council members to email her in the next week to let her know if they would like to serve as a chairperson of one of the five committees which include: Finance, Governmental Operations, Grants, Special Affairs and Legislative. According to the city’s charter the president of the council appoints chairpersons and vice-chairpersons to each committee.
Interviews for city clerk position will be Dec. 5
With the retirement of long-time City Clerk Inez Brown in October, Deputy City Clerk Davina Donahue was named Interim City Clerk. On Monday the city council learned that the city’s Human Resources Director Eddie Smith had received 24 applications for the position.
The council went into executive session for Smith to present applications for city clerk. Councilpersons Eric Mays (Ward 1), Jerri Winfrey-Carter (Ward 5) and Tonya Burns (Ward 6) objected going into closed executive session and stayed in their seats in council chambers while the rest of the council went behind closed doors of the committee room in the rear of council chambers. The three said they thought the discussion should have been an open meeting.
Once out of closed executive session and back to the open public meeting, Smith told the council his staff reviewed each application and eliminated resumes that did not meet minimum requirements. Smith said only two applicants of the 24 resumes met the minimum requirements. The council had earlier been agreed the applicants would be given a number and referred to by that number in public meetings. Smith explained the reason for using a number to refer to the applicants was to protect the confidentiality of each applicant. During the meeting the two applicants were referred to #4 and #9.
During the public council meeting Councilperson Eric Mays (Ward 1) stated that Interim City Clerk Donahue had told him she did submit an application. Mays asked Smith if Donahue was one of the two chosen. Smith refused to say if Donahue was one of the two applicants chosen.
Inez Brown served as Flint’s City Clerk for 25 years, hired in 1997. She had previously been an aide to U.S. Senator Don Riegle.
The council voted 6 to 3 to accept the two applications. Councilpersons Lewis, Murphy, Priestley, Herkenroder, Pfeiffer and Worthing voted in favor while Mays, Winfrey-Carter and Burns voted against the resolution for acceptance of the city clerk applications. At the time of the vote Councilperson Mays abstained but said, “this is a bogus process and not transparent.” The council will conduct interviews of the two finalists in an open public meeting Dec. 5. The applicants’ names will be revealed then, according to Council President Herkenroder.
The council did manage to pass a master resolution containing 10 resolutions including:
- approved the purchase of a wheel loader with grapple bucket for the blight department
- approved $148,000 to be allocated for electrical upgrades to council chambers by Weinstein Electric Co.
- As noted above, accepted a $10 million grant from the C.S. Mott Foundation and an additional $1.5 million from the city’s ARPA funds for a total of $11.5 million towards the Berston Field House improvements.
EVM Managing Editor Tom Travis can be reached at email@example.com.