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Flint police, fire chiefs & city administrator out as mayor starts restructuring

Feb 12, 2016

Flint police Chief James Tolbert. Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says she accepted Tolbert's and fire chief David Cox's resignation Friday morning.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The heads of Flint's police and fire departments are out of those jobs.

Mayor Karen Weaver said Friday in a press release she's restructuring city operations and has accepted the resignations of Police Chief James Tolbert and Fire Chief David Cox Jr. She's also fired City Administrator Natasha Henderson.

“I’m doing what I told the people who voted for me that I would do," says Weaver, "My focus is moving the City of Flint forward and I feel these personnel changes are necessary to keep us on the right path.”

But Tolbert tells MLive.com that he and Cox were told Friday would be their last day.

Weaver was elected in November and given authority in January to appoint the city administrator and department heads as Flint transitioned from state financial oversight.

Flint fire chief David Cox.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Tolbert,Hederson and Cox were hired by state-appointed emergency managers.

Capt. Colin Bernie will lead the police department, and district Commander Stephen Cobb will run fire operations during a search for new chiefs.

When Natasha Henderson was tapped to be Flint's city administrator by former Emergency Manager Darnell Earley, she was given control of hiring and firing at city hall.  

Weaver made regaining that power a top priority.   

Former Flint city administrator Natasha Henderson
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Snyder supported Weaver's efforts as the state's handling of Flint's water crisis was questioned.   

Recently, the Receivership Transition Advisory Board approved a change shifting hiring and firing power to the mayor.   The RTAB does retain oversight of the city.

Since Weaver took office after winning November's election, several top Flint city officials have resigned or were fired, including city attorney Peter Bade, public works director Howard Croft  and city spokesman Jason Lorenz. 

Weaver has been seeking help for Flint as the city deals with a lead-tainted water crisis.

*This post has been updated.