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Flint City Councilman sentenced to 6 months probation, calls it a "slap on the wrist"

“I’ll take this slap on the wrist as it relates to (the Flint City Council) getting it wrong," said Councilman Eric Mays.
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
“I’ll take this slap on the wrist as it relates to (the Flint City Council) getting it wrong," said Councilman Eric Mays.

Flint city councilman Eric Mays said he’ll take a “slap on the wrist” from a Genesee County judge.

Tuesday, District Court Judge Vikki Bayeh-Haley sentenced Mays to six months probation and a small fine for a disorderly conduct conviction.

The charge stems from Mays’ refusal to leave a Flint city council meeting after other council members voted to eject him from in April 2022.

But during sentencing, Judge Bayeh-Haley noted numerous mistakes made by council members during the meeting leading up to the vote to oust Mays. The judge even expressed the desire to order the council to undergo “coaching” to learn how to conduct meetings.

Mays took note of the judge’s comments after the sentencing hearing.

“Will I flaunt it and put it in their face? No,” Mays told reporters, “But I will continue to follow the rules and try my best to hold these newly elected council people accountable.”

Special prosecutor Michael Gildner asked the judge for jail time for Mays, if just to get the councilman’s attention. Gildner described Mays’ behavior during city council meetings as “outlandish” and “boorish”.

“I don’t see any purpose in punishing him. That’s not what this case is about,” Gildner told the judge before she sentenced Mays, “It’s to try to alter his behavior.”

Though Gildner also expressed doubt that any sentence in this case would change Mays’ behavior at council meetings.

During his decade on the Flint city council, Eric Mays has delayed meetings with repeated procedural maneuvers. He also often gets into heated arguments with other council members which at times become extremely personal. During a meeting in January, Mays referred to other members of the council as “handkerchief-head Negros” and “Uncle Toms.”

Mays was ordered to leave that January 23, 2023 meeting.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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