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Push to give more authority to Flint's mayor stalls

Jan 15, 2016

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver has the backing of Michigan’s governor to wield more power.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver has the governor's backing for more authority at city hall. Now, she just needs the approval of a state oversight board.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

But she needs to get the approval of a state oversight board. 

At a news conference earlier this week, Gov. Rick Snyder said Weaver should have more authority to hire and fire at city hall.  

Those powers were stripped from the mayor’s office when Snyder appointed the first of a series of emergency managers to run the city of Flint in 2011.    The last emergency manager left nearly a year ago.   But a city administrator retained many of those powers.  Also, a state appointed oversight panel has the final say on much of city business. 

When it met a few days after the governor’s statement, the Receivership Transition Advisory Board didn’t act on his call to give the mayor more power. It’s not scheduled to meet again until next month.    

Mayor Weaver issued a statement saying she’s still working with the governor’s office on the issue.

“The Governor and I are still working out the details on this issue. The board is expected to vote on transitioning power back to the Mayor once the Governor and I have reached a conclusion and the RTAB has had time to review the decision.”

The governor’s office also remains committed to making changes at Flint city hall.

“Gov. Snyder is working closely with Mayor Weaver to help protect the health and safety of all Flint residents, and we deeply appreciate the leadership she has shown. There have been discussions about the restoration of mayoral authority, and those talks will continue as we both keep our focus on the challenges facing the city.”

The Receivership Transition Advisory Board is under the state Treasury Department.   A Treasury spokesman says “the issue remains under consideration.”