Major changes proposed to Flint governance

Jul 25, 2014

Flint city government may undergo some major changes, if the recommendations from a blue ribbon committee become reality.

Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley holds a copy of a blue ribbon committee's report calling for major changes to Flint city government.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Before the governor appointed an emergency manager to run the city of Flint in 2011, the city’s mayor ran much of the city’s day-to-day business.   The city council, ombudsman and civil service office also held significant control.

When Flint eventually emerges from state oversight, someone else could be calling the shots.

In January, Flint Emergency Manager Darnell appointed a 22-member committee to review how the city is governed and make recommendations for making city government work better. 

Among its recommendations, the committee wants to turn over much of the day-to-day control of city government to a city manager.  The city manager would be appointed by Flint’s mayor and city council, which would serve in a more supervisory role.

Emergency manager Darnell Earley says the committee’s recommendations are important to guiding Flint out of its financial mess.

“The change of government to a professional manager, in my opinion, is one of the strongest recommendations to come from that group,” says Earley.

The committee is recommending Flint residents vote on several city charter changes in November, and create a city charter commission. A charter commission would consider more extensive changes to Flint’s city charter, shifting it from a "strong mayor" form of government to more of a hybrid form, with a city manager wielding more control of city business.

Robert Wesley chaired the committee which is recommending major changes to Flint city government
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

“These are some of the things we think will stop Flint from going back into a third financial crisis,” says Robert Wesley, the chairman of the Blue Ribbon committee.

Flint has been under a state-appointed emergency manager since 2011.

The city is still dealing with a $12.9 million deficit. 

Meanwhile, Emergency Manager Darnell Earley is taking steps to hire a city manager, who will step in to assist with a transition back to local control.