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Full pay restored to Flint's elected leaders; council OKs borrowing to pay off deficit

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Flint’s mayor and city council are getting a pay raise.

They are going back to their salary levels before the state takeover.

Flint’s elected leaders saw their salaries reduced to zero when the first emergency manager stepped in in December, 2011. Since then, as their roles running the city were slowly restored, their pay checks grew. 

Emergency Manager Jerry Ambrose Monday fully restored their salaries.

Flint Mayor Dayne Walling will now receive an annual salary of just under $92,000. City council salaries will rise from $10,500 to $20,856. 

Ambrose credits the mayor and city council with taking steps toward getting ready to retake control.

“The council adopted what I call sustainable financial ordinances, which really imposed upon themselves requirements to act in a financially responsible way,” says Ambrose.

The restored pay does come with a catch. The mayor and city council are required to complete management training. Some have completed the training. Others have not. If any council members fail to complete the training by November, their pay will once again be cut in half.

Emergency Manager Jerry Ambrose was glad to see last evening the council endorse his recommendation to apply for a loan to pay off the city’s remaining $7 million budget deficit.

The city will now apply for the loan to the Michigan Local Emergency Financial Assistance Loan Board. 

Councilwoman Jackie Poplar says this loan “smells of (former emergency manager) Darnell Earley.”

Earley was Flint’s emergency manager for nearly a year and half. He left earlier this year to become the emergency manager of Detroit Public Schools. 

“I believe (Earley) is still in this building,” says Poplar. “He may not be here physically, but I still believe he is giving out orders.”

Current emergency manager Jerry Ambrose says this is a decision that was dependent on the state Treasury Department.  

He says the city is in a better position today, having trimmed its deficit from $19 million to $7 million, to apply for the loan.

Ambrose hopes to hear back from the loan board in the coming weeks.

That’s a similar time frame to a possible milestone in the state oversight of the city of Flint. 

Ambrose continues to decline to put a date on when a Receivership Transitional Advisory Board will be appointed to assume oversight from Flint’s emergency manager. However, when pressed, Ambrose says he expects to see that happen this month.  

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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