Flint pastors demand an apology to mayor, city council members say no

Mar 11, 2019
Originally published on March 11, 2019 9:57 pm

Some Flint pastors are demanding an apology from three city council members who voiced concerns about possible financial mismanagement at city hall.

The council members say they are not planning to apologize.

The dispute is over a letter the council members sent to the Governor Gretchen Whitmer's office. It questioned how the mayor planned to pay the company overseeing Flint’s pipe replacements.

Councilwoman Kate Fields says her letter was about “serious concerns about financial management."

Fields stands by the letter and says she does not plan to apologize.

“It is not my job to make the mayor look good,” Fields says. “It is my job and other council people’s job to provide financial oversight.”

But state officials responded to the letter, saying they were not the proper venue to raise these concerns. 

Pastor Chris Martin accuses the council members of making “false allegations” in the letter. At a Monday afternoon news conference, Martin said “this is the silly season,” referencing the fact that Flint’s mayor is facing re-election this fall. But when asked if the pastors could also be accused of playing politics in their support of Weaver, Martin admits the pastors are standing up for the mayor as she faces re-election.

“If people want to say that this is just something to rally around the mayor, then maybe they’re not all the way wrong. Because we need to make sure that the city moves forward,” says Martin.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says she was not aware of the pastors’ plans, until she saw the announcement of the press conference go out last week.

“I’m always glad people are supporting me,” says Weaver.

The dispute between the mayor and her city council critics has resulted in Flint’s Chief Financial Officer’s resignation.

Hughey Newsome tendered his resignation Monday.

Newsome told the city council he was resigning after 17 months because he’s tired of being accused of “lying, cheating and mismanaging funds.”

Weaver calls Newsome’s resignation “a loss for the city.”

Copyright 2019 Michigan Radio. To see more, visit Michigan Radio.