BY MIKE KILLBREATH
CCN Executive Editor
FLINT (CCN) — Flint's mayor will be seeking re-election. She made it official on Tuesday after weeks of speculation that she will enter the 2019 primary race in August. The top two vote getters in the primary move on to the general election in November.
Mayor Weaver unseated incumbent Dayne Walling in 2015, then survived a recall election in November of 2017 when getting more votes than all 18 challengers on the ballot. She has raised more than a quarter million dollars for her campaign war chest since surviving the recall challenge. It's more than five times more than she raised when unseating Walling in 2015.
The official announcement was made at her childhood church home in North Flint — Vernon Chapel. The 10 am event also featured an endorsement from the AFL-CIO with AFSCME Council 25 Secretary & Treasurer Lawrence Roehrig on hand to reveal the news. Sam Muma, President of the Greater Flint AFL-CIO, was also in attendance after backing Walling in the 2015 race and endorsing Scott Kincaid in the 2017 recall election.
Kincaid, a 30-year city councilman from the 9th Ward, announced his retirement from politics after losing to Weaver in 2017 when finishing second. Third-place finisher Don Pfeiffer pulled petitions to run again on Monday and other prominent names who are thinking about taking on Mayor Weaver include former city administrator Greg Eason and former long-time 6th Ward City Councilman and current state legislator Sheldon Neeley. Both Eason and Neeley lost to Walling and Don Williamson in the 2007 primary. Pfeiffer finished last in the 2011 mayoral primary before finishing third in the November 2017 race when spending about $100,000 of his own money in a bid to win.
BY MIKE KILLBREATH
CCN Executive Editor
BURTON (CCN) — Paula Zelenko announced Monday that she will not be seeking another term as Burton's mayor. "I'm formally announcing tonight that I'm not seeking a third term as your mayor," she told city council members. "This is not a decision that I have made lightly or take lightly. I love Burton. I love being the mayor. But I have been presented with another opportunity that allows me to contribute to several communities and not just the City of Burton."
Mayor Zelenko didn't say what her new job will be but said she wanted to make her intentions known to all well before the April 23 filing deadline for candidates who may want to seek the mayoral post.
"It's an area I'm passionate about and I just can't pass up this opportunity," she said about the new opportunity. Burton's mayor is paid $74,000 annually in salary.
Mayor Zelenko has twice defeated long-time City Councilman Danny Wells to win four-year terms as the city's leader after she was appointed to the top job by fellow city council members when Charles Smiley was elected in 2010 to a seat in the state legislature after a 20-year run as Burton's mayor. Zelenko, who lost a 2010 bid for the State Senate, was appointed to a city council position in 2008 after a two-year absence from the political scene. She had previously served in the state legislature as a member of the State House of Representatives from 2001 until 2006 after a 10-year stint (1991 until 2001) on the Burton City Council.
Councilman Duane Haskins, a 12-year veteran of the city council and the long-time vice president, is the only candidate who has so far turned in petitions to be on the ballot for mayor in the August 2019 primary. Councilman Haskins owned a t-shirt printing business with his wife in Burton for many years and is employed as a deputy with the Genesee County Sheriff's Department. Haskins has also served multiple terms as president of the Genesee County Sheriffs Deputies Association which has more than 240 union members under his leadership.
Councilman Haskins led a council decision to file a police complaint against Mayor Zelenko last year over a raise of more than $30,000 to her chief of staff, Ric Hayman. Haskins, and others on the council, contended to the State Police that a union document was forged and a warrant for the mayor's arrest was requested from the office of Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton. His chief deputy assistant, John Potbury, has told The Morning Gazette Radio Show on several occasions that Prosecutor Leyton hasn't made a decision on what do do with the case. Sources say, however, that Prosecutor Leyton has decided not to press charges against Mayor Zelenko, but no official word on the case has been confirmed.
ANN ARBOR (CCN) — A federal judge in Ann Arbor issued a ruling Monday that former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder can be sued by residents and business owners in the City of Flint for his actions to cause the water crisis in their community. U.S. District Judge Judith E. Levy had dismissed Snyder from the case last August, but reversed her position in a 128-page opinion after new information had been filed.
Judge Levy said in her decision that members of the former governor's administration had warned him that switching to the city's drinking water source to the Flint River "could lead to a potential disaster."
“It is reasonable to infer that Governor Snyder knew that the residents of Flint faced a substantial risk of serious harm emanating from the water," Judge Levy wrote in Monday's decision. She added that "when plaintiffs state that by February 2015, the governor was fully aware of a public health threat posed by the water supply in Flint, and that by July 2015, at the very latest, the governor knew that the water supply was contaminated, these conclusions are supported by the well-pleaded factual allegations."
Snyder left office in January after serving eight years. He appointed Emergency Financial Managers to oversee Flint's finances from 2011 until 2017.
FLINT (CCN) — New Michigan Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud needs more time to prepare for the preliminary exams against two key players in the Flint water crisis prosecutions. She was due in court on Monday for involuntary manslaughter cases against Darnell Earley and Howard Croft, but the case was adjourned until May 13 by Genesee County 67th District Court Judge Nathaniel Perry.
Hammoud had asked for more time to get ready for the exams last month after being assigned to take over the lead in the prosecution from Todd Flood.
Flood's private firm had been hired by former Attorney General Bill Schuette, but newly-elected AG Dana Nessel has placed Hammoud in charge of the team.
Earley was Flint's Emergency Financial Manager when the city switched to the Flint River for its drinking water source. Croft was the city's director of the Department of Public Works.
MUNDY TWP. (CCN) — Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan will be the guest speaker at the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce's 2019 "Annual Meeting" on April 11. The event will be held from noon until 1:30 pm at the Holiday Inn in Mundy Township.
Chamber officials will celebrate successes of the past year and share a vision for the future at an event that will feature Mayor Duggan as the keynote speaker. He will talk about what it means to move a major city from crisis to recovery to growth, and the important roles that partnerships, strategy and leadership play.
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