In response to a query from Flint's Civil Service Commission, as to how to proceed with no director, the Emergency Manager today (Thursday) announced that the Civil Service office would be eliminated altogether. He also announced the elimination of the Ombudsman's office and the termination of all remaining employees in those departments.
The latest directives from Flint Emergency Manager Mike Brown come a week after Brown eliminated the directors of both those city charter-mandated positions.

Among the 7 administrative employees let go during Brown's second day on the job, was the Director of the city's Civil Service Office, Ed Parker.
That office conducts hearings and recommends actions on wrongful discipline complaints filed by Flint city workers and employees from Hurley Medical Center. The Civil Service office included one director and one secretary.
As Director, Parker served as an advising attorney for the commission members. Without an advising attorney, commission members say were unable to proceed with their work.
The commission was in the middle of a case involving a Hurley Medical Center employee who claims she was wrongly fired and is seeking reinstatement.
Testimony in that case began last week, and was scheduled to continue next week.
Without a Civil Service director and commission all grievances and wrongful termination complaints from city and Hurley employees will have to be put on hold.

We have Brown's comments on other issues as you can hear below.

His thoughts on current staffing in the Flint Police department?
How long will it take him to solve Flint's financial crisis? How long will he be in the position?
Where was he during the last state takeover in 2002?
What's the difference between the 2002 Flint takeover when there was a $27million deficit, and the current situation?

The state of Michigan claims Flint's audited deficit as of June was $11.1 million. Mayor Walling claims the deficit now is much lower, just around $7 million. What's the deficit Flint's new Emergency Financial Manager says he's dealing with?
Brown was interim mayor from Feb. - August 2009. Did he think he accomplished a lot for the city in those six months?
What does he think went wrong with the city finances when he left?
Some other thoughts --Why did he train to be an emergency manager?
How does he move forward with a review when the city has no Budget Director, no Finance Director and no Treasurer?
And a little video of his first day on the job follow here.
Brown says he has 45 days available for review before he must submit his actual plans for a financial recovery for Flint to the state treasurer. So his plans for Flint's future financial stability have yet to be worked out.
But a look at the plans of Pontiac's emergency manager provides some ideas of the types of actions an emergency manager can utilize to bring city finances under control.
-eliminating the city's police department, contracting with the sheriff's department
--eliminating the city's fire department, contracting with a nearby city
--eliminating city's DPW department and contracting out for services such as snow removal, grass cutting, etc.
--forcing a tax levy on property owners
--reorganizing city pensions and benefits
--eliminating city positions
--stopping salaries for city council and some appointees
--cutting district court in half

In Pontiac, Emergency Manager Louis Schimmel is now in charge of the city's finances.
He's been in charge for just a bit more than 60 days, but is already planning sweeping changes.


(Clarkston, MI) The Clarkston Village Players is celebrating its 50th season with new seats for customers and a new actor on stage.

Clarkston's Depot Theatre– the historic train depot that has housed the Clarkston theatrical group for 50 years now – underwent a transformation on the outside of the performing stage over the past few years.

This year, CVP was able to purchase and install more modern seating with its 50/50 raffle proceeds. Village Player officials say the new seats brought the seating down to 62, but gives patrons more leg room.

While in the seats, the audience was able to view the work of the newest CVP member who joined the local theater group in its 50thyear.

Yigal Alalouf, a Clarkston resident and native of Jerusalem, captivated the audience with a stunning portrayal of the character ‘Howie’ in the Pulitzer Prize winning drama ‘Rabbit Hole’…a drama about loss, family and coping.

Alalouf says he was honored to have been able to bring this meaningful role to the stage.

He hopes to be a part of other CVP productions in the future.

You can take a look at both the new seating and Alalouf’s performance in the video below.

The Department of Energy has concluded an investigation of a $1.1 million dollar energy efficiency grant for Flint - determining the grant is being terminated because of serious mismanagement.
You can take a look for yourself at what officials found.
Take a look at details of inappropriate spending- and what the Department Of Energy says Flint must give back by clicking here.

Now take a look at a Shafran News Bureau investigation of who tipped the DOE off to the charges that resulted in a federal investigation.

For Flint Mayor Dayne Walling, one of the first moves after winning re-election was a series of firings.
Walling fired Michael Townsend who had been serving the city as both the Finance Director and the Budget Director. He does not expect to fill those positions before an emergency financial manager moves in.
The mayor also fired 3 employees in the city's Department of Economic and Community Development.
Walling has said the firings were part of his plan to "pursue a different direction" as he moves into a new term.
But the Shafran News Bureau has learned that the women were told they were fired because of "neglect of duty" in relation to a HUD grant.
Those suggestions were not new to the employees. They were alluded to in an earlier report by the Shafran News Bureau.
The report, which you can view here, began when the DCED employees filed harassment, retaliation and fraud charges targeting Flint's number two man - City Administrator Greg Eason.

In a recent phone call between Flint City Administrator Greg Eason and Oak Business Center Manager Bill Woods, Woods taped the interchange when Eason became enraged over the removal of a sign.
The Oak Business Center is a business incubator building on north Saginaw Street that is owned by Flint's Economic Development Corp. (EDC) which is an arm of the city.
The EDC is governed by a committee. The EDC committee chairman is Michael Freeman.
During the interchange, Eason expresses his displeasure that Woods turned away a city employee who was ordered to take down the Oak Business Center. Woods attempts to explain he delayed the employee from removing the sign because he wanted to check in with EDC chairman Freeman first.
You can listen to the heated interchange here.

WALLING SWEARING-IN...What you DID and DIDN'T hear from the mayor as he was sworn in for a new term in advance of a possible state takeover.
Flint Mayor Dayne Walling began a new term in office with an official swearing in before city council.
Noticeably absent from his address to council was any mention of a pending state take-over of Flint's finances by the state of Michigan.
Walling, instead, chose to highlight his plans for public safety and job growth in the city in the future.
During an interview with the Shafran News Bureau following the ceremony Walling confirmed that an Emergency Financial Manager will likely be on the horizon for Flint. The EFM, he confirmed, would have the authority to void - and reshape public safety contracts - even though those contracts are currently the object of binding arbitration.
And forcing a change in those contracts, he acknowledges could address some of the city's financial woes.

State treasury officials, however, point out it would be a lengthy process before an Emergency Financial Manager could set aside a union contract. By law, the EFM would first have to engage in a 60 day period of talks and negotiations with the unions. After that point, should an EFM declare an impasse and determine the existing contracts needed to be set aside, his/her proposal would still have to be reviewed and approved by the Treasurer before it could take effect.

Only 4 out 5 fire stations open at a time. Retirements forcing brownouts for nearly 6 months

News from the student beat.......

(Pontiac) Could the elimination of Pontiac’s police department actually have IMPROVED crime fighting in Pontiac, Michigan? Newsbureau Reporter Patrick McIntyre looks at that question.

(Detroit) Three years after the automotive bankruptcy in Detroit, not all local autoworkers are convinced a government bailout was the right thing to do.

Newsbureau reporter Charlie Lapastora reports on how the GOP debate at Oakland University is spurring a debate about bailouts from all sectors.

(Rochester, MI) Have a big secret and you just want to get it off your chest? A national movement that involves a little box and a bunch of long-held secrets is now making it possible for you to let loose with your private thoughts in a totally anonymous forum.

Newsbureau reporter Rosie Stricker reports that one of those boxes can be found on the campus of Oakland University in Rochester, MI.

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