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Flint's new mayor wants total local control restored

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Flint’s new mayor says she wants her city to return to total local control.

Soon after Karen Weaver took her oath of office as Flint mayor, she called on Governor Snyder re-instate total local control in her city.

“I do not embrace the current governance model on a moral or political basis,” Weaver told the standing room crowd that packed the city council chambers to watch her take her oath of office. 

Flint’s last emergency manager left in April, but the city remains under state oversight, with much of the local power controlled by a city administrator appointed by an emergency manager. There is also the Receivership Transition Advisory Board, which oversees Flint city government with the authority to overrule decisions by the mayor and city council.

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio
Flint Mayor Karen Weaver (left) and City Administrator Natasha Henderson (right) may soon face off over control of city government

Weaver says she was elected to change things at city hall.  But that’s difficult to do when all the personnel decisions rest in the hands of City Administrator Natasha Henderson.  Henderson says the current “performance” based review system for evaluating top city staffers is working. 

“The hardworking citizens of Flint deserve a full voice in the operation of their governmental affairs,” Weaver said, to the cheers of the capacity crowd.

The governor’s office issued a statement in response to Weaver’s call for total local control:

Flint's made solid progress in dealing with its financial crisis, and there is still more work to do. The measures set in place since the end of emergency management have proven effective and we expect to work closely with Mayor Weaver and the council moving forward.

Flint was initially placed under an emergency manager in 2011.  

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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