Council considers an update to the city’s employee compensation schedule; and a $474,000 invoice from MDOT

By Tom Travis

Council considered 12 resolutions in the finance committee at last night’s meeting. Including a resolution for the payment of a $474,000 invoice from MDOT for damage caused by a former city of Flint employee to an overpass in Flint Township and another resolution that seeks an updated city employee compensation schedule that hasn’t been revised since 1999.

Quorum was lost around 9 p.m. after meeting for four hours as council members began to exit beginning with Dennis Pfeiffer (Ward 8), then Quincy Murphy (Ward 3) and Ladel Lewis (Ward 2). Council President Allie Herkenroder (Ward 7) and Councilperson Eva Worthing (Ward 9) did not attend the meeting.

Because quorum was lost at 9 p.m. the other council committees (governmental operations and legislative) did not meet. While no action is taken during committee meetings most of the 12 resolutions were voted upon to either keep them on committee agendas for a meeting in two weeks or sent to the council-as-a-whole meeting next Monday.

Public speakers and EAB leaders chastise council’s recent behavior

During public speaking eighth ward resident, Jackie Wood, chastised the council for their behavior in recent past meetings saying she was “appalled” at their behavior. She quoted from a poem by Octavia Butler, “Parable of Talents.” A portion of what Wood quoted was, “Choose your leaders with wisdom and forethought…”

Following Wood were both Chair and Vice-Chair of the Ethics and Accountability Board (EAB) Joe King and William Harris, respectively. They addressed council on their recent “chaotic” behavior. King pleaded with the council to “tone it down.”

Ethics and Accountability Board Chair Joe King (Photo by Tom Travis)

Harris said he sees a “non-working environment on this council. This city is on a precipice.” adding, “you are out of control because of inciting words …. leave your personal attitudes at the door …. we are tired.” “There is nothing nice on the horizon if you don’t act right,” Harris concluded.

Recent council meetings have been scarred with racial language and chaotic behavior. EVM articles depicting these meetings can be read at these links: May 8 meeting and May 15 meeting.

$424,000 invoice from MDOT seeks payment done by city employee

The city of Flint has received an invoice from the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) for $424,000 for damage to an overpass at US 23 and Hill Road in Flint Township. Director of Transportation, Rodney McGaha, told council that a city employee was returning to Flint, in October 2022, after going to a dump just south of Flint. McGaha said the employee did not know the dump truck’s bucket was in the upright position while going north on US 23 and hit the overpass.

Damage to the overpass caused the highway to be closed and traffic detoured. The MDOT invoice is for repair work including heating up the overpass beam so it could be straightened and strengthening epoxy applied. The accident happened in October 2022. The city employee driving the truck at the time of the accident is no longer employed by the city, McGaha explained.

Director of Transportation, Rodney McGaha (Photo by Tom Travis)

The city’s interim Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jane Mager explained that the city is self-insured. According to the resolution the city plans to take the payment out of the Major Street Fund account. Councilperson Dennis Pfeiffer (Ward 8) pressed Mager on his view, “with five more accidents like this and the city would be bankrupt.” Council voted to send the resolution to Special Affairs committee meeting next Monday.

Interim Chief Financial Officer Jane Mager (left) seated with former Planning and Development Director Suzanne Wilcox and another city employee during a recent Budget Hearing. (Photo by Tom Travis)

City’s employee compensation schedule has remained unchanged for 24 years

The city’s Human Resources Director, Eddie Smith, explained to council what an outdated compensation schedule means for the city. “We can’t even compete [with an outdated compensation schedule]. The purpose of updating the schedule is to make us competitive. We may not be at the top but just make us competitive. To retain our employees and to be able to recruit.”

Human Resources Director Eddie Smith in a 2022 city council meeting (Photo by Tom Travis)

Smith said, “This is urgent. I’m speaking purely from the human resource point of view. In order for us to keep people that we currently have and to attract new people there is a sense of urgency. normally to look at our compensation system every two to three years it’s been 24 years.”

In the end, council voted to have the resolution remain on the next finance committee agenda in two weeks.

Councilpersons Mays and Burns call special Saturday, noon meeting to discuss ARPA funding

Councilpersons Eric Mays (Ward 1) and Tonya Burns (Ward 6) have called a special city council meeting to be held in the Dome Auditorium on Saturday at noon. The purpose of the special meeting is to discuss ARPA funding.

Mays specifically invited the compliance firm, Ernst & Young,. hired by the city and city council in January 2022 for $1.1 million. Ernst & Young was hired to assist the city city in assuring it meets the criteria for using the ARPA funds.

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The City Clerk informed the council during Wednesday’s meeting that Ernst & Young has communicated they will not be at the Saturday meeting. Further, City Administrator, Clyde Edwards told council the city administration will also not be at the Saturday meeting.

Mays predicted that there will not be quorum of the council on Saturday but expects there will be “100 or 120” residents in attendance. Mays indicated he will invite all those that attend the Saturday meeting to Monday’s regularly schedule meeting at the Genesee County Building.

Mays and Burns have also called for a 10 a.m. Friday press conference to be held in the City Council conference room on the third floor of city hall. The press conference’s purpose is to discuss and preview Saturday’s meeting.

EVM Managing Editor Tom Travis can be reached at

Author: Tom Travis

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