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Topic: Rich Baird- Silent executive running Flint?
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Detroit Free Press


Mayor Duggan: Kevyn Orr hid pension plan details; city may sue firm
Joe Guillen, Detroit Free Press Published 1:32 p.m. ET Feb. 23, 2017 | Updated 10:42 p.m. ET Feb. 23, 2017


Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said today that former emergency manager Kevyn Orr kept him in the dark about calculations used to predict the citys future pension payments.

Now, as the city realizes those payments will be many millions higher than expected, Duggan said the city is considering a lawsuit against Orrs firm, Jones Day.

Because of the secrecy from Orr's team, the city plans to put $50 million this year into a trust fund to cover future pension payments, Duggan said.

During his annual budget presentation to City Council, Duggan said that the potential lawsuit hinges on whether Orr was obligated to keep Duggan in the loop in 2014 during talks about what the city would owe when those pension payments resume in 2024.

The discussions between the actuary and other people of Mr. Orrs team were concealed from (Detroit CFO John Hill) and me, Duggan told City Council this morning. We did not know that these assumptions were being based on these optimistic set of criteria. Had we known that, we wouldve dealt with it very differently.

Duggan initially raised the prospect of a lawsuit against bankruptcy consultants early last year when the city discovered an estimated $491-million shortfall between pension payments estimated in the bankruptcy exit plan, approved in 2014, and more recent figures. The consultants underestimated the pension payments because they used outdated mortality tables, which predict how long retirees are expected to live and, in turn, receive pension checks, Duggan said.

Today's comments provided new insight into the likelihood of a city lawsuit against Jones Day and were perhaps Duggan's most direct criticism of Orr's role in the so-called pension cliff the city is facing in 2024. Duggan said he expects a decision on whether the city will sue within six months.

Duggan opened up about the potential lawsuit after Councilman Scott Benson asked whether the city was going to take action against bankruptcy consultants responsible for the miscalculation.


Had he known then about Orr's methodology, Duggan said more prudent plans could have been made during the bankruptcy rather than having to set aside money now for future pension payments. Even if the city sues, it still has to prepare because a lawsuit against Jones Day would take years, the mayor said.

Orr is now partner-in-charge of Jones Days Washington, D.C., office. He did not respond to a message seeking comment.

Jones Day eventually collected nearly $54 million for its work on the city's bankruptcy. The firm cut $17.7 million off its bills under court-ordered mediation. The bankruptcy authorized by Gov. Rick Snyder and directed by Orr cost the city about $165 million in general fund dollars.

Today, Duggan questioned whether his own testimony during the citys lengthy bankruptcy trial in October 2014 could have been different if he was better informed by Orr and his team.

During the trial, Duggan was among several city leaders called to testify before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes about the bankruptcy exit plan, which Rhodes ultimately approved.

I support this plan, and I believe it is feasible," Duggan said under questioning from Jones Day lawyer Tom Cullen in confirmation hearings on the city's bankruptcy exit strategy.

Today, Duggan suggested he was not fully informed when he gave that testimony.

The question is, did the emergency manager have a legitimate right to do this and keep (Detroit CFO John Hill) and me in the dark as we were testifying in the bankruptcy on feasibility. If we get to the point where we believe were going to win the case, were going to file it (lawsuit), Duggan said. Were very much looking at how much discretion did the emergency manager have; how much obligation did he have to disclose and is this a lawsuit this city is going to win?

The pension trust fund announced today to cover the pension payments was a major aspect of Duggans proposed 2017-18 budget. The $1.07-billion general fund spending plan also devotes resources to allow for more police officers and recreation centers in neighborhoods.

With a $50-million payment this year and annual payments in the years following between $15 million and $60 million, the trust fund is expected to have $335 million by 2023. With interest, the fund is projected to have $375 million.

Ensuring the city can make pension payments in 2024 is imperative if the city wants to get out from under state oversight imposed after the bankruptcy, the citys CFO, Hill, has said.

After Duggan's presentation today, Hill could not specifically say when he told Duggan that he also was kept in the dark about the data Orr's team used in estimating the pension payments. E-mails and other documents have backed up Hill's account, he said.

"That's something (Duggan) found out as he's been coming to a decision" about whether to sue Jones Day," Hill said. "It's a legal process."

Contact Joe Guillen: 313-222-6678 or jguillen@freepress.com.
Post Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:34 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Will Flint be able to meet these back loaded pensions in the future. Baird and the State put Sabuda in place!
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Flint's Interim CFO Sabuda at the March 9, 2017 RTAB meeting


"right now coming into July 1 of 2017 pension contribution jumped from18 million to 42 million. We've been working with MERS since July to look at various options to fund the pension without interrupting the city. I can favorably report that we have come up with sound financing plan for that benefit and I'm pretty excited about that . The key here is that we have 50 million going out the door, 30 million coming in. and we have to sop that, okay, and also provide city service. So, we're playing that balancing act between the two drivers there. As of 12-31-15 we were 43 percent funded and that is going to fall as we progress. I want also to point out that we also came up with six scenarios on how to fund and we met with the State Treasurer to help us with various assistance. We've framed out the problems and issues and I'm in the process of reviewing those and getting with his team so that they can help us with our financing issues here.



..."Council, the Mayor, and the leadership of the Council and the Mayor have selected an option to fund the pension system, which is before the Council this evening, the entire Council this evening. Basically what you see before you on Page 4 of the table shows the required transfers of employer contributions, where we were and where we're going. So, when yo see column 2, the revised retiree transfers employer contribution we're looking at going from 42 to 33 million. Now what we're seeing it's 42 to 33. We're going from 42 to 20.6. And then each year thereafter what we're looking at as far as funding for employer defined contributions , Council will take this up tonight at their study session and then look at it at their Monday meeting of, that would be, today's the 8th, the 13th, you can see where we're going with this, the increased contributions as we progress through life through year '20, '21, '22, and '23. What this does is give us room to build back the fund, the water fund and the various funds back up. This also allows the City to provide city service. Any other scenario would have drained all reserves within a two-year period and we would not be making a 33.7 million-dollar pension contribution that you see on the left."

Chairman Headen:
...do I understand correctly, that for the first three years, fiscal "17,'18 & '19, your'e basically, for lack of a better term, backloading the annual contribution by and it looks like, a total of $226 million, so the contributions over those three years would be 22.6 million less under the selected column 4 than it would be under column 2.

Sabuda: Correct.

Headen: And you're dong the reverse beginning in, it would be fiscal year '20 to '23. You're paying more in than you would have, but in the bottom line, when you consider all seven years you're talking about, what, $6 million being contributed less overall, which gets you to an estimated funding ration of 27 percent?

Sabuda:
Correct. You're right on target. Know this, too. We're also recommending to the Council is that if we have certain funds left over, let's appropriate those and put them into the system as a contribution at the back end in addition to that. That's part of the recommendation that's coming out to them tonight and that they're going to consider.

But,yes what this allows us to do is make a pension contribution. It's not what the actuary would like, but balancing city services with pension itself, helps us make payments and then provide the service. After this you either drain the reserves or you start cutting services.

Headen:
And hasn't MERs actually made the decision to change the investment assumption down to 7.75 or is that just a consideration at this time?

Sabuda:
Absolutely. There were assumptions, Mr. Chair. There were four assumptions that they had changed, the investment return assumption. On page 38 of the report you can see the actuarial changes. There's a change in investment return. There's a change in mortality table t reflect retirees living longer. And then the unfunded accrued liability was moved to a fixed period versus a floating period. Also, the smoothing of the assets, which will be the fourth one. That's not listed here, went from ten years to five years.

Overall here, the key here, guys, I can't stress enough, you have 50 million going out the door and another 30 million coming in, and that's the amount we had to conquer. S as we go through, we make the pension contributions that are outlined on page 4 in the table, but also as the City can afford it, we start making additional contributions above what the actuary has outlined here in this table.

Please know that the actuary is with the selection, if the City doesn't make those additional contributions the actuary would have an adverse opinion on the report. They would like to see the 14 (?41?) million dollar contribution. So as we go through life I want to make this very clear that the actuary would like to close that spending gap now, and not later, and we need to to do everything we can to get more into the system as we progress in life.

That's all I have.

Mr Finney requests the Chair grant him some question.

Finney; So on the investment return assumption, is that a market number? Is it less than market? Is it better than market? Do you know what selection was made?


Sabuda responded the assumption was based on what the fund would earn. He added the last period earnings were between 10 and 11%, but he current assumption in earnings is 7.75%. The february report will provide have the earnings for the last 4 years.

Finney asks how much of an increase in life span did the make to the mortality table. He is curios because his own personal advisor is pushing his out to age 93. Finney would like to know the they originally planning.

Sabuda promises on the next report.

Finney then asks Sabuda if there is any development on a long term solution as he views this as a short term plan.


Sabuda indicates the administration is working with the State of Michigan Treasurer and his team to review.

Townsend notes that while Sabuda is wanting to alleviate the next three years, he would like to understand what is anticipated along general fund contributions, and the other fund contributions. "What do you anticipate say in 2020 and beyond being able to make those contributions?"

Sabuda states that everything is going to come down to property taxes, expenditures and revenues as well as the population and the water fund. If these economic issues turn around around, we can continue to build, said Sabuda. "We're buying ourselves 3 years"


Last edited by untanglingwebs on Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:03 am; edited 1 time in total
Post Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:46 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

HUGHEY NEWSOME

Hughey P. Newsome is a member of the national advisory council of the Project 21 black leadership network. He is a member of the MoveOnUp.org black political network and has his own blog called The Objective Citizen (theobjectivecitizen.com).

Hughey received an MS degree from Stanford and an MBA from Harvard Business School (where he also interned at the Pentagon in the U.S. Air Forces Finance and Cost Accounting Office). A specialist in financial issues, he has previously worked for AT Kearney, Chrysler Financial Services and CGN and Associates (where he worked on assignments for multinational Fortune 500 clients in Belgium and China).

Newsome currently serves as a consultant for MorganFranklin in McLean, Virginia and has his own consulting firm, EGE-squared.
Sample Of Public Appearances By Hughey Newsome:

On RT Networks The Big Picture, Hughey points out that there are, in fact, conservative alternatives to ObamaCare (1/15/16)

On One America News Networks The Rick Amato Show, Hughey contrasts Obamas foreign policy as president and as senator (9/22/14)

On the Fox News Channels Special Report with Bret Baier, Hughey says solid families and a good education are what really levels the playing field in the employment market (1/24/14)

On the Canadian Broadcasting Corporations Power and Politics, Hughey offers constructive advice on Americas race problem following the not-guilty verdict of George Zimmerman (7/19/13)

Publications By Hughey Newsome:
Audit the Fed, but Be Careful Who Gets That Power (March 2015)

How to Make Media Coverage of Race a Force for Unity (December 2014)

How Liberals Use the False Myth of Voter Suppression to Rally Support But at the Expense of Better Race Relations (November 2014)

Learn from the NFL: the Free Market Works (October 2014)

Buffetts Money Walks Different from the Way He Talks (October 2014)

Economic Lessons from Egypt: Grow the Economic Pie Instead of Subsidizing It (August 2014)

The Secretary of Education Should Put His Money Where His Mouth is on Teacher Tenure Reform (June 2014)

A Flat GDP is Much More Important than Donald Sterling (May 2014)

Even Obama Can Be Accused of Voter Suppression (April 2014)

There Should Be Repercussions if Taxes Arent Spent Wisely (April 2014)

Disproportionate Definitions of Disproportionate (March 2014)

If I Were a Liberal (March 2014)

Dr. Kings Legacy and the 21st Century (January 2014)

A Deeper Dive into Melissa Harris-Perrys Apology (January 2014)

Inequitable Arguments about Income Inequality (December 2013)

Oh, SNAP: What They Forget to Say About Food Stamp Cuts (November 2013)

Too Big for One Man, or Just Obama? (November 2013)

The Presidents Portfolio of Fearmongering (October 2013)

Racial Hypocrisys Real Consequence: It Moves Us Away from Solutions (September 2013)

Division-Dealing a Denial of Duty (August 2013)

The Hard Truths Revealed by the Trayvon Tragedy (July 2013)

Politics and Pawns (January 2013)

All Politics Should Be Local (January 2013)
The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 60,000 active recent contributors.
Post Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:52 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

FLINT NEWS
Council pumps the brakes on plans to appoint new Flint interim CFO

Updated Sep 26, 2017; Posted Sep 26, 2017


By Oona Goodin-Smith ogoodins@mlive.com
FLINT, MI - Flint, the city with the nation's highest poverty rate for its size, may now have to wait another month to fill its vacant chief financial officer position.

In a 5-3 vote on Monday, Sept. 25, Flint City Council opted to postpone the hiring of Hughey Newsome, Mayor Karen Weaver's appointee for interim CFO, until after the mayoral recall election on Nov. 7.

The position has remained vacant since the city's year-long contract ended with David Sabuda in June, with deputy finance director Dawn Steele pulling double duty and performing some of the role's responsibilities in the meantime.

While Newsome - a former senior manager for MorganFranklin Consulting in Washington, D.C., living in West Bloomfield - told the council in an impassioned speech late Monday night that he was ready to serve Flint's financial strategy, council questioned the idea of signing off on a year-long contract with Weaver's appointee when the mayor's position is up for grabs in the November recall election.


Unlike previous mayoral recalls, in which an initial election to recall the office was followed by another election to fill the seat, the process is now condensed into one vote on November 7.

"We don't know what's going to happen in November," said Fourth Ward Councilwoman Kate Fields, who put forth the motion to postpone Newsome's approval. "His contract is for almost a year. I don't think that's fair for anyone who may be elected to have a CFO who they did not appoint."

Interim City Attorney Angela Wheeler explained that Newsome's roughly $133,120 proposed yearly contract includes a clause noting that he can be terminated without severance, but council had other questions regarding Newsome's qualifications.




"Whether this motion passes or not, Councilman Nelson will not approve it," said Council President Kerry Nelson. "We cannot get people who live in Flint to do Flint jobs. They cannot pay taxes here, then they run back down 75. I think he's a wonderful person, but Mr. Newsome cannot vote for me. He doesn't live in Flint."

Fields added that she felt the council was being rushed into a decision, as Newsome's resume was distributed to members at 4:30 p.m. the day of the vote. She noted that the Harvard MBA grad had "not even served a day in municipal finance."

"This organization has a history of hiring people with no experience in what they do," Fields said, adding that managing finances for a city is much different than working for private corporations.

Newsome, a Stanford and Harvard graduate with financial experience in the private sector, said he was recommended for the position by Rich Baird, Gov. Rick Snyder's top aide. Addressing the council on Monday, he said his immediate appointment was important in order to alleviate some of the burden on Flint's understaffed financial department.

"You do need a diversity, in my humble opinion, in the public and private sector experience in government ... to make sure we're incorporating the best practices," Newsome said. "You talk about waiting, you talk about finding the perfect candidate ... but if this is about politics, you're not doing the city a service by having all these unfilled positions."


First Ward Councilman Eric Mays - who, along with Monica Galloway and Herbert Winfrey opposed postponing Newsome's appointment - suggested that the move to keep Newsome, who is African-American, out of office was based on his race.

"We got in a financial situation by not having financial people here," Mays said. "I've seen that the RTAB is getting ready to leave the city and I want to do everything possible to make that happen ... Miss Fields is pre-judging him because he's a brother."

Fields denied that her comments were based on race, instead emphasizing that municipal finance credentials were missing from Newsome's resume.

Galloway, of the Seventh Ward, said it was important to "recognize talent when talent is before us."

"We push for the retention of young people," Galloway said. "When you've got a strong team and you've got someone who's educated, it doesn't matter where they live ... Accounting is still accounting in most places."

She also noted that she had discussed the appointment with both Steele and Newsome, and that Steele said she was not overlooked for the position as she didn't have the qualifications for the job.

Tensions around Newsome's appointment began to brew within the council last week at a special meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 20, when Newsome's name appeared on some of the city's financial resolutions before he had been approved by council for the job.


The city charter dictates that certain executive appointees - including the CFO position - must be approved by council before taking the post.

Wheeler explained Wednesday that the seemingly contradictory language in an emergency manager order and the city's charter led the administration to believe they could bring Newsome in without council approval before realizing their mistake, saying that the city was working as quickly as possible to rectify the situation.

Newsome's contract - which began on Sept. 18, a week before his approval was brought to council - proposes a bi-weekly salary of $64 per hour through June 30, 2018, totaling roughly $133,120 year, which is identical to Sabuda's wages.

Weaver's post pays $91,801 annually, including the cost of benefits.


Flint City Council approved hiring a new director of finance whose hourly wage could exceed Mayor Karen Weaver's salary annually.

After the council put his position on ice for the next month, Newsome said he needed to discuss his options with his wife and children before moving forward.

A spokesperson from Weaver's office could not immediately be reached for comment.
Post Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:57 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Top comments
justize Sep 27, 2017
Stanford and Harvard graduate? Seems alittle overqualified for Flint what's Flint's budget nowadays $12,532.42 plus $347 in bottle returns and 3 shiny silver buttons?


lindafischer Sep 26, 2017
With all due respect Ms. Galloway, "accounting is still accounting" isn't always the case. Government and fund accounting can be quite different than corporate accounting. So much so that there is a separate professional standards board for governmental accounting. Accounting can be quite technical and nuanced at times. Please try to recruit candidates with credentials better suited to the city's needs.


boocarou Sep 26, 2017
Mays says its a racist matter. What an a---hole!!! Plus a criminal!


dkdabkmn Sep 26, 2017
It was interesting that in a discussion on the job candidate's qualifications, Eric Mays sees only a chance to introduce his race into the matter. He seems to view everything in his entire universe in terms of race.



I don't believe Mays has ever voted against the current mayor. If she is recalled, he will actually have to decide how to vote on issues instead of just going along with whatever she wants.



Avatar for untanglingwebs
untanglingwebs Sep 26, 2017
This is not the first time that Jones had to fall back on confusion over EM orders. It is no wonder they had to hire a consultant to teach him his job.
Post Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:01 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

RTAB 2016-4


NOW THEREFORE, be it resolved by the Board as follows:
1. That it be recommended to the State Treasurer that Flint Emergency Manager Ambrose
Order No. 3 be amended to add a Paragraph 34 to read as follows:
34. (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Order to the contrary that concerns the
authority, duties, and responsibilities of the City Administrator, the City Council is authorized
to exercise the authority, duties, and responsibilities vested in the City Council by the
Citys charter, subject to any limitations contained in the Citys charter, including Section
3-207, and subject to approval by the Board pursuant to the Act or Flint Emergency Manager
Ambrose Order No. 20.
2. That Paragraph 5 of Flint Emergency Manager Ambrose Order No. 3 regarding the authority,
duties, and responsibilities of the City Administrator be amended to read as follows:
Direct City department heads in carrying out the daily activities of the City, in the assembly
of financial and management information; and in the gathering and assembly of pertinent
data and information and recommendations for the Mayor and City Councils consideration
in making executive determinations and policy.
3. That Paragraphs 2, 3, 25, 27, and 31 of Flint Emergency Manager Ambrose Order No. 3 be
repealed.
Post Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:16 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Once again the Weaver Administration claims ignorance in ignoring the role of council.

Council is meant to be a system of checks and balances upon the strong mayor, and not a rubber stamp.

Baird recruited Newsome and paid his salary when Weaver did not follow the Charter. (Is this Baird's unwillingness to follow the rules? Newome is getting paid $390,000 a year with the state subsidizing mot of it.Is thi the new Nerd Fund?

I have been attending council meetings for over 20 years and council almost always rejects last minute resolutions. They are required to exercise due diligence and that can not be done when the Weaver Administration delivers them at 4:30 pm prior to a council meeting.

In my opinion Weaver looked foolish at the last council meeting when she played the weak female role as she insisted the election was a mandate and she was almost tearful as she denounced the council for not giving her what she wanted. Of course her supporters in the audience cheered her.
She would never make it in higher office where there are legitimate strong women of all races.
Post Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:32 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

State pays for Flint mayoral adviser after council says no | MLive.com
www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2017/10/state_pays_for_flint_mayoral_a.html
Oct 24, 2017 - The state of Michigan is footing the bill for an adviser to Flint Mayor Karen Weaver ... Hughey Newsome( Oona Goodin-Smith I MLive.com ) ... nominated by Weaver and recommended by Richard Baird, senior adviser to Gov.


Flint fills long-vacant top public works, financial positions | MLive.com
www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2017/11/flint_fills_long-vacant_top_pu.html
Nov 14, 2017 - FLINT, MI - Flint has filled two long-vacant, top positions in its public works and ... Karen Weaver's appointments of Hughey Newsome as interim chief ... by Weaver and recommended by Richard Baird, senior adviser to Gov.
Post Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:38 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

FLINT NEWS
State pays for Flint mayoral adviser after council says no

Updated Oct 24; Posted Oct 24

shares
By Oona Goodin-Smith ogoodins@mlive.com
FLINT, MI - The state of Michigan is footing the bill for an adviser to Flint Mayor Karen Weaver after city council voted against hiring him last month.

Under a 90-day short-term contract, the state is paying $40,200 for Hughey Newsome to advise Weaver on Flint's finances after the council voted against contracting Newsome as the interim chief financial officer until after the mayoral recall election.

The state's $40,200 check is split between P.I.E. Management staffing firm and Newsome, said Ron Leix, a spokesperson from the Michigan Treasury. Newsome is paid $64 per hour - identical to the salary originally offered to him by the city of Flint - according to his contract obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by MLive-The Flint Journal.

His contract began on Monday, Oct. 18, and extends through January, at the pleasure of the mayor.

In September, the council voted 5-3 to hold off on hiring Newsome, questioning signing off on a year-long contract with Weaver's appointee when the mayor's position is up for grabs in the November recall election.

Some council members also questioned Newsome's lack of municipal finance experience and the fact that he had no immediate plans to move to the city.

Flint, the city with the nation's highest poverty rate for its size, may now have to wait another month to fill its vacant chief financial officer position.

Newsome - a former senior manager for MorganFranklin Consulting in Washington, D.C., now living in West Bloomfield - came before the council nominated by Weaver and recommended by Richard Baird, senior adviser to Gov. Rick Snyder.

The Harvard business grad said he is providing a helping hand to Dawne Steele, the city's deputy finance director, who has been pulling double duty and performing some of the CFO responsibilities after Flint's year-long contract ended with David Sabuda in June.


"We still have a financial department that's understaffed," Newsome said. "(Steele) is one person doing two jobs, so there's work she can't get to. So the way I look at is this: I serve at the pleasure of the mayor. The state is providing the dollars because they don't want an understaffed finance department."

Newsome said, in attempts to be transparent, he approached council members individually last week to let them know about his temporary hire.

But Council President Kerry Nelson said he felt the state was overruling the council's power.

"This council is being disrespected by the state," Nelson said. "He was brought in the back door before and he's been brought in the back door again."

Council is publicly at odds with both the mayor's administration and state, and currently in federal litigation with both over the future of Flint's water source.


"This is what we've been asking for ... reliability and affordability. We need to be able to determine if (a 30-year contract with GLWA) is that Rolls-Royce of a deal we've been told about. I don't see that in the contract."

Leix made clear that Newsome's position is not a state appointment, nor is it affiliated with the Receivership Transition Advisory Board, Flint's state-appointed financial oversight board.

He said the state has paid consultants to assist the city before, such as contracting former Grand Rapids administrator Al Mooney as an interim treasurer in Flint in 2015, and Joyce Parker - emergency financial manager for the city of Ecorse - to mediate Flint's trash controversy last August.

City of Flint spokesperson Kristin Moore was not immediately available for comment on Newsome's temporary hire.

Tensions around Newsome's appointment began to brew within the council in mid-September when his name appeared on some of the city's financial resolutions before he had been approved by council for the job.

The city charter dictates that certain executive appointees - including the CFO position - must be approved by council before taking the post.

Interim City Attorney Angela Wheeler explained that the seemingly contradictory language in an emergency manager order and the city's charter led the administration to believe they could bring Newsome in without council approval before realizing their mistake, saying that the city was working as quickly as possible to rectify the situation.
Post Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:41 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Steve S. Oct 24, 2017
Legally, the Flint City Council would still have to accept the grant of money, which has not been done. So he is not the CFO.


Avatar for Oona Goodin-Smith | ogoodins@mlive.com
Oona Goodin-Smith | ogoodins@mlive.com Oct 24, 2017
No -- Newsome said his job title is "special adviser" to the mayor. He doesn't have the power to sign city documents as a CFO would -- Dawn Steele's name still appears on any resolutions from the city's financial department.
Post Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:45 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

FLINT NEWS
Flint fills long-vacant top public works, financial positions

Updated Nov 14; Posted Nov 14

By Oona Goodin-Smith ogoodins@mlive.com
FLINT, MI - Flint has filled two long-vacant, top positions in its public works and financial departments.

At its first official meeting on Monday, Nov. 13, the newly-elected Flint City Council approved Mayor Karen Weaver's appointments of Hughey Newsome as interim chief financial officer and Rob Binscik as director of the Department of Public Works.

Both mayoral appointees have been serving in their positions while waiting for the council's approval.

Newsome - whose pre-mayoral recall election appointment was a sticking point for the past council - was waved in Monday with unanimous support. His professional services agreement gives him a rate of $64 per hour, ending on June 30, 2018.

A former senior manager for MorganFranklin Consulting in Washington, D.C., Newsome came before the council nominated by Weaver and recommended by Richard Baird, senior adviser to Gov. Rick Snyder.


The state of Michigan is footing the bill for an adviser to Flint Mayor Karen Weaver after city council voted against hiring him last month.

After the previous council voted to hold off on hiring Newsome until after the Nov. 7 mayoral recall election, the state picked up the tab, employing him under a short-term contract with a $64 hourly rate as a financial adviser to Weaver.

The Harvard business grad said he is providing a helping hand to Dawne Steele, the city's deputy finance director, who has been pulling double duty and performing some of the CFO responsibilities after Flint's year-long contract ended with David Sabuda in June.


While Fourth Ward Councilwoman Kate Fields said she was skeptical of Newsome's jump from the private sector to municipal financial sector, the appointee said he had done his research, taking two online video courses to brush up on city finance skills after the council initially turned him down.

"I'm extremely passionate about this position," Newsome said. "I've spent a lot of time advocating in the community - really in the media - and I'm not about making the rich people richer."

Voting 8-1 - with opposition from Eighth Ward Councilman L. Allan Griggs - council also approved the appointment of Rob Binscik to lead Flint's Department of Public Works.

The city has been without a DPW director since Howard Croft -- since charged with false pretenses and conspiracy to commit false pretenses for his role in the Flint water crisis -- resigned in November 2015.

Croft's departure came just weeks after state officials had begun to publicly acknowledge serious problems with Flint water, including elevated levels of lead.

After former water plant Supervisor Jolisa McDay resigned from the position in May, Binscik stepped in to fill the plant's top job.

In August, the EPA expressed concern that too few people are working on Flint's water system and asked the city for a plan "to ensure ... the necessary, capable and qualified personnel."
Post Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:50 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

FLINT NEWS
Employee warns of burnout, lack of knowledge among Flint water plant workers

Updated Aug 30, 2017; Posted Aug 29, 2017


By Ron Fonger
FLINT, MI -- A Flint water plant employee last month warned his supervisors that a lack of knowledge and potential burnout among employees are contributing to mistakes at the city's water treatment plant.

A report filed after a disinfectant dispenser was allowed to run dry at the plant July 26 attributes that incident to operator error -- a worker having been unable to refill or replace the chlorine tote, according to the document obtained by MLive-The Flint Journal through the Freedom of Information Act.

"I am not trying to make excuses for what happened, but I have put in my daily (summaries) in the past that due to lack of knowledgeable staff and employees (who) are working way to (sic) many hours, fatigue will set in and stuff like this happens," the report says.

The employee also reported working seven days a week for two months with no days off, including many double shifts.

Although the redacted document does not show the name of the employee who filed it, the report is not the first sign of serious problems in the city water system, including its management and operation, more than 18 months after recognition of the Flint water crisis.


"The city has failed to select a long-term water supply source ... The city's failure to do so resulted in legal action by the DEQ," a summary of the problems and recommendations says.

A violation notice from the state Department of Environmental Quality this month noted Flint's water system has multiple "significant deficiencies, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in a letter this month said it has "continued and significant concerns" that too few people are working on Flint's water system.

The EPA asked for, and the city filed, a plan "to ensure ... the necessary, capable and qualified personnel" are hired to work in the water system, a part of the Department of Public Works.



Mayor Karen Weaver told the federal agency this month that low pay, excessive workloads and morale issues have all hindered Flint's ability to hire and keep qualified employees.

Weaver told Robert Kaplan, acting regional EPA administrator, in an Aug. 18 letter that uncertainty about Flint's future water source has also been a barrier to hiring and said the city has started a compensation review to determine whether wages should be higher.

Kristin Moore, a city spokeswoman, issued a statement from Water Center Supervisor Rob Bincsik, saying a new process has been established for the chlorine tote change-out "to ensure a continuous feed and hopefully avoid issues in the future, like the one that occurred recently."

The mayor listed some positions as less critical than others and said as automation increases, "some current production operating personnel can fill other utility positions" and contracted service "will be considered for high priority positions if the appropriate hires cannot be completed within sufficient time."

"Three new water plant operator trainees began their onboarding process today and should be able to start work next week," the Bincsik statement says. "Officials have acknowledged previously that staff has been working long hours in all of utilities due to several important projects underway at this time. We appreciate the hard work and dedication employees continue to display to provide Flint residents with the best service and results possible."

Before the recent hires, a document posted to the EPA's website June 24 showed nearly one-third of the positions budgeted for by the city in the water system were vacant.


Of 36.5 positions, just 26 were filled at that time.

City Council President Kerry Nelson said vacant positions that have been budgeted for need to be filled even if the pay isn't already comparable to other utilities.

"You have to put the jobs out there and do the interviews," Nelson said.

"Mistakes will occur" as long as employees work for weeks at a time without a day off, he said.

DEQ spokeswoman Tiffany Brown said the state reviewed the report from the chlorine incident and "will continue to work with the city to build ... capacities, and we've done that by providing some resources for contractors."

"Again, this is why there needs to be decisions on both a long-term primary and back-up water supply so that the city can move forward," Brown said.
Post Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:56 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Detroit News
We are now seeing the end results of those lucrative early retirements. Flint promised officers better retirements if they would forego pay raises!



Snyder: To protect our future, we must pay past debts
Rick Snyder Published 9:18 a.m. ET Nov. 27, 2017

Michigan residents deserve the financial stability and effective delivery of local government services that help ensure their communities are strong and thriving, and retirees who have worked years for local governments deserve to know their retirement benefits will be there when they need them.

But there is a problem facing some of our local governments and municipalities that threatens to crowd out these crucial services and jeopardize retiree benefits: mounting, unfunded liabilities or in simple terms, long-term debts.

These debts are not unique to Michigan, but for many cities across the state, roughly 20 cents on the dollar go to pay this deficit. In some communities, this number is growing faster and taking up a larger percentage of whats available in their budgets. That means 20 cents or more on every dollar is not available for direct services for residents, such as police and fire protection, and could result in the potential loss of retiree benefits in the future.

Its a systemic problem for the nation as a whole one rooted in unwise government practices such as the pay-as-you-go system that has been the norm for decades. Unforeseen expenses such as rising health insurance costs have also been a stressor for other post-employment benefits (OPEB) systems, which have been increasing at a much higher rate than general inflation over a long period of time.

Michigan also has jurisdictions particularly older cities that have seen population declines or stunted growth, which means there are more retirees than active people working. In some communities, there are as many as six retirees to each active worker. With fewer employees to help cover these retiree costs, these communities become even more underfunded.

So what happens if we do nothing? Well, according to a March 2017 S&P survey of pension obligations, Chicago ranked worst among the nations 15 largest cities. In fiscal year 2015, 38 percent of Chicagos total governmental fund expenditures were required pension and actual OPEB contributions representing the highest share of all 15 cities budgets.

Additionally, the city only made 52 percent of its annual legally required pension contribution, and money budgeted toward employee pensions in 2017 still fell short of the actuarially determined contribution levels. Chicago taxpayers have recently faced steep tax increases, with its pension problem being one of the culprits. These numbers paint a dark picture of what can happen in Michigan if we dont make tough decisions to shore up our biggest financial woes and preserve the benefits for future generations.

Regardless of how we got here, acting on these growing liabilities now is the responsible thing to do. We cant continue to burden this states residents with our historic liabilities. Thats why I established a task force to get out ahead of this looming issue before it becomes a full-blown crisis.

Together, legislators, state and local government officials, and employee representatives found consensus on key reforms that called for greater reporting and transparency, the development of a fiscal stress system, and new funding requirements necessary for long-term stability. The sooner a problem is identified, the sooner it can be addressed.

Its a complex issue with no one-size-fits-all solution, but its one that needs our immediate attention. The time for local government retirement and benefits reform is now. As we approach the end of 2017, I will be working closely with our states lawmakers to pass legislation that creates a framework for a sustainable system that ensures retiree support and financial stability for residents now, and for years to come.

Rick Snyder is the governor of Michigan.
Post Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:23 pm 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Letter to Mayor Weaver from Richard Baird, Special Advisor to the ...
https://www.michigan.gov/.../flintwater/Letter_to_Flint_Weaver_and_GCDC_from_B...
Oct 11, 2016 - Flint, Michigan 48532. Dear Mayor Weaver and Commissioner Wright: Thank you for your continuing commitment to ensure the Karegnondi ...

The Honorable Karen Williams Weaver Mr. Jeffrey Wright, Drain Commissioner
Mayor of Flint Genesee County Drain Commissioners Office
1101 South Saginaw Street G-4608 Beecher Road
Flint, Michigan 48502 Flint, Michigan 48532
Dear Mayor Weaver and Commissioner Wright:
Thank you for your continuing commitment to ensure the Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA) proceeds on schedule to provide the city of Flint (City) and Genesee County residents with safe drinking water for many years to come.
The Genesee County Drain Commissioners Office (GCDC) is planning to have their new Water Treatment Plant (WTP) ready to supply finished water to their customers by October 2017, which will include using the existing 72-inch transmission line currently supplying finished water to the City from the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA). When the GCDC begins using the 72-inch line, the City will no
longer have access to finished water from GLWA as a primary or backup water source. The City is also proceeding expeditiously to have the Flint Water Treatment Plant in service by October 2017, with the intent to treat raw water from the KWA. The Citys backup water source plan is to construct a raw water
reservoir to supply the Flint Water Treatment Plant in the event the KWA raw water line was temporarily out of service. Since the raw water reservoir cannot be constructed by October 2017, an emergency backup plan must be in place.
Toward this end, I am offering to facilitate a discussion with the City and the GCDC about using GCDC finished water to supply the City in a short-term, emergency situation. There is urgency for this meeting to occur in the near term. I will ask Ms. Virginia Manolakoudis, from my office, to reach out to your offices to find a mutually agreeable meeting date and time within the next 30 days. Please let me
know if you have any questions or concerns.
Thank you again for your partnership in moving this forward.
Sincerely,
Post Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:09 pm 
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