Flint Emergency Manager Michael Brown Holds First Public Meeting
On Thursday, Flint Emergency Manager Michael Brown held his first public meeting with city residents since he was appointed emergency manager in November.
Brown, a former acting mayor for Flint, took the opportunity to address policy decisions and justify the legality of his role as emergency manager to a packed crowd at a local elementary school.
One woman in the crowd asked Brown if he thought his job was constitutional, Michigan Radio reported. He defended his position, and by extension that of the five other state-appointed EMs, by arguing cities in Flint's position have few other options. If municipalities can't balance their budgets, he said, there needs to be a way for states to intervene.
Brown took Flint residents through his plan for the city, which outlines a massive departmental overhaul, including consolidating 911 services, finding a new administrator for the Flint's pension fund and reopening the city jail. Announced earlier this month, it clarified Brown's intent to restructure public bargaining agreements, one of the allowances under Public Act 4.
Public Act 4 allows the state to appoint emergency managers, who are given broad powers in the attempt to improve the bottom line of financially struggling cities and school districts.
At the meeting Brown told audience members that he had developed his plan with the assistance of citizen advisors. According to MLive, he worked with 50 citizens.
Also present at the meeting was Mayor Dayne Walling who spoke about future physical development of the city. Brown originally stripped Walling of his authority soon after he came into office, but later restored Walling limited powers.
Flint is currently saddled with a $11.3 million deficit. Earlier this week, Brown announced he would consider selling the city's water and sewage plants to deal with the City's financial problems.
He is scheduled to release a new financial report in June.
Community meetings with Flint's Emergency Manager will continue through March 1, Flint's Channel 12 reports.