Tuesday, February 26, 2008


INEZ BROWN:"This is a smear on me and my staff,"
GOOD MORNING FLINT!2/27/08 Early EditionBy; Terry Bankert


and posted to Flint Talk
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City of Flint sues Flint City Clerk Inez Brown over alleged profanity; Brown says lawsuit is frivolous [FJ]

Flint City Clerk Inez Brown
won't discuss whether she used profanity when talking to a Flint city employee.[FJ]

But Brown said a lawsuit filed by the city about her conduct toward a Human Resources Department employee is frivolous.[FJ]

The city announced in a press release this afternoon that it has filed a lawsuit against City Clerk Inez Brown to try to force her to convene a meeting of the Standards of Conduct Board to hear a complaint.[FJ1]

A hearing in Genesee Circuit Court is scheduled for Monday.[FJ]

NOW THEREFORE IT IS ORDERED that Defendant Inez Brown Flint City Clerk appear on March 3 2008 at 11:00 in the morning to show cause if any she has why the writ of mandamus should not immediately issue.[P1]


1. That the Plaintiff, City of Flint is a municipal corporation with its principal office at 1101 S. Saginaw ST, Flint MI

2.That the Defendant Inez Brown is the Flint Clerk [P2]

3.That the Standards of conduct Board is established by Flint City Charter $6-401 [P2]

4.That pursuant to the Flint City Charter 6-401 (A)(1) the City Clerk Ms. Inez Brown is a mandatory member of said standards of conduct board.[P2]

5.That the general purpose of the Standards of Conduct Board is to " render advisory opinions to elective officers,, appointees and employees with respect to the meaning and application of provisions of ...[the] Charter and other laws establishing standards of conduct" Flint City Charter
6-402 [P2]

6. That the rules of the standards of Conduct Board mandate that " Requests made to the Board shall be submitted in writing to the City Clerk’s Office, 10 days prior to the date of the Meeting."[P2]

7.That on February 21 2008 the City Attorney office did receive a formal complaint from the personnel department against Ms Inez Brown, Flint City clerk, and her alleged unprofessional conduct occurring on February 20,2008 in the presence of one Mr. Thomas Smella, HR coordinator (exhibit 2, complaint of Thomas Smela)[P2]

8.That said complaint against Ms. Inez Brown was requested by Mr. Smela to be submitted to the standards of conduct board.[P2]

9.That pursuant to such request, and in accordance with the Flint City Charter 6-402 the Flint CITY Attorneys office forwarded a letter to defendant Inez Brown in her capacity as City Clerk for scheduling of a meeting of the Standards of Conduct Board to review such complaint.(exhibit 3,letter to city clerk)[P2]

10. That Ms.Betty A Grisi Senior litigation assistant to Trachelle C. Young , Chief legal officer for the City of flint, did take such letter and personally hand it to Defendant Ms. Inez Brown exhibit 4 affidavit of Betty Grisi)[P2]

11. That Defendant Inez Brown did read and refuse to accept said letter in violation of both her duties as Flint City Clerk and as a member of the Standards of Conduct Board.(Exhibit 4 afidavidit of Betty Grisi)[P2]

12. That Defendant Inez Brown Flint City Clerk has recently exhibited irrational and unreasonable behavior.[P2]

12( they repeated this number, not well proof read.) That no conflict of interest existed in Defendant Inez Brown accepting said letter as any conflict of interest would be resolved within the standards of conduct meeting by Defendant Ms Inez Brown, abstaining from proceedings and deliberations, except as to the presentment of the facts and circumstances surrounding the behavior at issue.[P2]

13. That accepting a request to convene a meeting of the standards board and convening such a meeting is not a discretionary function of the City Clerks office and is in fact a ministerial function of which must be performed.[P2]

A. The purpose of the Standards of Conduct Board is to render advisory opinions to elective officers, appointees and employees with respect to the meaning and application of provisions of this Charter and other laws establishing standards of conduct. Advisory opinions shall be published by the board in the manner least likely to reveal the identity of the person concerned.
B. The Standards of Conduct Board may recommend improvements in the standards of conduct for elective officers, appointees and employees or in the procedure for the enforcement of those standards.
(Adopted by the electorate, 11-5-74)

Brown said she merely was protecting her employees, who were given layoff notices last week.[FJ]

Brown said she went to the HR department to have a spirited discussion after she was caught off guard by the layoffs [FJ].

City Clerk Inez Brown said the city license inspector given a layoff notice also has election duties. That person, Brown said, is responsible for the logistics of election equipment and getting supplies to polls on election day.[F2}

"We can't pull it off," she said, adding she has called state and federal elections officials to try to stop the layoffs. The government mandates the proper staffing of elections, Brown said.[F2}

"This is a smear on me and my staff," Brown said.[FJ]

City Mayor Don Williamson said in a statement that despite allegations from City Clerk Inez Brown that recent layoffs will jeopardize the May 6 election, no election workers were laid-off.[FJ3]

Buchanan said the budget cuts since January are hitting many areas of city services in an effort to save positions in the police and fire departments. The city has cut numerous positions since January to try to avoid a budget crisis[FJ3]

The statement said Flint Human Resources Director Deirdre Pitts issued lay-off notices for one temporary employee, one license investigator and two City Council secretaries in the clerk's office. [FJ3]

City Attorney Trachelle Young said Brown used "vulgar and threatening" language against an employee, then failed to convene a meeting of the Standards of Conduct Board to look into her behavior. There was a complaint filed over the incident. [FJ]

"All I'm asking is that she do her job," Young said. "It shouldn't matter that the complaint is against her."[FJ]

Brown said she is not the only one who can call a conduct board meeting.[FJ]

A seven (7) person Standards of Conduct Board is created consisting of:
1. The Chief Legal Officer, the City Clerk and the Ombudsman, all of whom shall be official members of the Standards of Conduct Board;
2. Four (4) residents of the City unanimously nominated by the official members appointed by the Mayor.
B. The Chairperson shall be chosen from those members appointed under Section 6-401A.2. [herein].
C. Members appointed under Section 6-401A.2. [herein] shall hold no City office or employment nor other public elective or appointive office except that of notary public; and such members shall not be compensated.

The seven-member conduct board looks into the actions of elected officers, appointees and employees. Its only power is to "recommend improvements in the standards of conduct," according to the charter.[FJ]

Brown said two clerk's office employees were given layoff notices, but that quickly changed to one worker after the news became public. [FJ]

She said the May 6 election is in jeopardy because she didn't have enough employees, and she said that's still true even though the cutback wasn't as deep as she originally believed.[FJ]
City Administrator Darryl Buchanan has said one clerk's office employee was intended to be laid off.[FJ]

City Administrator Darryl Buchanan said no election workers were laid off, despite accusations by the city clerk that the May 6 election was in jeopardy due to layoffs.[FJ2]

"No one classified as an election worker was laid off," Buchanan said.[FJ2]
Buchanan said economic problems faced by the city and state made it necessary for the layoffs.

The city has laid off more than 50 employees since January to head off a budget crisis. [FJ2]

"We don't like to do this," Buchanan said.[FJ2]
Brown said Mayor Don Williamson is trying to get back at her for calling in state and federal officials to try to stop the layoffs so she can proceed with the election.[FJ]

Williamson's said the layoffs are part of a city reorganization that also has caused layoffs in other departments.[FJ3]

"The lash out is for me calling state and federal officials," Brown said.[FJ]

Brown and Williamson also clashed in 2004 over the staffing of the clerk's office. [FJ]

Williamson declined to comment when contacted Monday.[FJ]

Meanwhile, council members said with only one employee left to assist them, they would not be able to prepare the agenda for council meetings. "This is just crazy," said Councilwoman Jackie Poplar. "This is ludicrous.[FJ3]

Buchanan, a former councilman, said that's not true. "I don't see how that could be a problem," Buchanan said.[FJ3]

"I had no other alternative than to request judicial assistance. The city cannot allow anyone to behave like this and not be held accountable for refusing to do her job, especially someone in her capacity," said City Attorney Trachelle Young in the press release.[FJ1]

Council President Carolyn Sims defended Brown.[FJ]

"I am fed up," Sims said. "Trachelle Young is suing the clerk for doing her job." [FJ]

–where did this stuff come from--
by Joe Lawlor The Flint Journal
Tuesday February 26, 2008, 9:07 AM
Posted by
Kristyn Peterson The Flint Journal February 25, 2008 18:10PM
Posted by
Shannon Murphy and Joe Lawlor The Flint Journal February 21, 2008
The Flint Journal February 21, 2008
The Flint Journal February 20, 2008 20:50PM
From the court file , 08-88112-AW, an order signed by Judge Neithercuit on 2/25/08
From the court file , 08-88112-AW, WRIT OF MANDAMUS AND MOTION TO SHOW CAUSE

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By; Terry Bankert
and posted to Flint Talk


A Charter is a city’s constitution. It is like a contract in which citizens give authority and responsibilities to elected and appointed officals. In return, citizens require the government to meet their needs as city residents.[C]

FLINT - So, how much power does the Flint City Council actually have? [FJ]

Well, maybe not much. Its powers have been challenged and, council members claim, outright undermined lately. [FJ]

A charter outlines the structure of goverment, the election procedures and the obligation of the government to its people.[C]

Mayor Don Williamson last week proposed a 6.9-mill tax increase to help balance the budget and pay for police - an idea several council members immediately rejected. [FJ]

If the City ever wants to raise taxes beyond the one percent level, a Charter amendment vote will be necessary.[C]

The City is authorized to levt propety taxes at the rate of one percent(1%. Or 10 mills) of assessed value of all real and eprsonal property in the City.[FC-7-201 A.]

The provisions of this section shall not prevent the levy and collection of the full amount of taxes required by statute for the payment of the debt.[FC-7-210 C]

The value of city property is determnined by the city assessor who works for the adminstration. There are 2 ways to raise taxes,1. Raise property evaluations arbitrarity 2. Raise the mills. This admistration is doing both ,some say-me.[trb]

That doesn't mean the idea is dead, though. [FJ]

Typically, the council would vote to put such issues on the ballot, but instead, Williamson could push for a petition drive to circumvent council action. [FJ]

Iniative and referendum petitions must be signed by a number of City electors equilicant to at least five percent (5%) of the tiotal number of votes c ast for Mayor at the last regular Mayoral election.[FC]

It wouldn't be the first time. [FJ]

Line -item vetor, the Charter gives the Mayor the power!
Williamson successfully used a line-item veto, which shifts the balance of power on budget issues more in his favor, though those traditionally have been a council stronghold. [FJ]

The council has the power to amend the budget. This is why the Mayor has an item veto over the budget resolutions only. All other ordinances and resolutions voted on by the council must deal with but a single topic and the mayor may veto them if he or she wishes.The budget is a very complex resolution encompassing many different subjects. If the council amends part of the mayors budget in a way that is unacceptable to him or her, the item veto can be used.[C]

Lets do a little home work here Journal?[trb]

The council approves almost no spending these days because of an ongoing budget dispute. But Williamson has been able to circumvent that ban, ordering millions of dollars to be spent using "emergency purchases" for everything from supplies to engineering services. [FJ]

The City Council created the emergency.[trb]

The Mayor shall take care that the laws be enforced..[FC 4-103]

The City Charter gives the council the power to confirm appointments to department head positions. Yet Williamson has sidestepped that by leaving the positions vacant and instead hiring interim or deputy department heads, such as interim Police Chief Gary Hagler and deputy Transportation Director John Carpenter. [FJ]

The head of each department shall be appointed by the Mayor in accordance with the law and with the approval of the City Council and serve at the pleasure of the Mayor [FC 4-203 C]

Williamson frequently is accused of violating the charter, the equivalent of the city's constitution that outlines the structure of city government. [FJ]

"What's frustrating to me is not to be able to have any balance in government," said Scott Kincaid, who has been on the council for more than 20 years, far longer than any other current member. [FJ]

We HAVE a basic check and balance system. Both are failing if the City Charter is being violated.[trb]

Williamson said there is no problem: He was elected mayor under a strong-mayor form of government. [FJ]

The City Charter provides for a .."responsible mayor" not strong mayor form of governemnt. The Mayor is elected to a 4 year term on a non partisan ballot.The Mayor will preside over the officals responsible for the day to day work of the City (line officals or department heads) and policy advisors (staff officers).The Mayor may propose legislation to the City Council and may veto legislation passed by the council. The City Council may override the veto with a 2/3 vote of its members elect,however.The City Council is a legislative body. It may introduce and pass legislation or it may vote on legislation proposed by the Mayor. The executive and legislative activites are separate and the two branches check each other.POLICY DECISIONS AND DIRECTIONS must ultimately come from the council. The Mayor is responsible for the performance of the government; he or she MUST MAKE THE CITY WORK AS THE COUNCIL DECREES IT SHOULD.[C]

We may have a Responsile mayor acting irresponsibly but the Flint City Council is equally irresponsible if it allows its power be be a check on the mayor to erode intentionlly unintentional or because they just do not knbow what the heck to do![trb-make me king for a day!]

"I love and respect the City Charter, and I go by it," Williamson said. [FJ]

Deeds are more important than words.[trb]

Olof Karlstrom, a member of the Charter Commission that wrote the document in 1974 and created the strong-mayor form of government, said he believes the mayor's appointments of temporary department heads does not follow the intent of the charter. [FJ]

Journal, ....we do not have a strong form of governemnt, ....get it right. Mr. Karlstrom is correct the Charter is being violated. Department heads must be presented to council for approval. Here is the concept. Each council person represents 10,000 of us. Now we cannot all fit in the council chamber so we elected these council people to represent us. The Departmemnt heads are being presented to us for approval though the council peoople we elected to do this for us.[trb]

But Karlstrom said the council is not powerless. [FJ]

"They can challenge these things," he said. "They just haven't figured out how to do that yet." [FJ]

Children can say they don’t understand, these adults should learn their job.[trb]

Other authors of the charter - all Flint-area attorneys - see the ongoing dispute as a continuation of the innate power struggle between the mayor and the council.[FJ]

Thomas Donnellan, also a commission member, said he doesn't see a charter crisis.[FJ]

"That's the tug of war between the mayor and the council," Donnellan said. "That's politics." [FJ]
But Councilman Jim Ananich calls the mayor a "dictator" who circumvents the council, regardless of what the charter says. [FJ]

I wish you would have stayed on the finance committee Jimmy.[trb]

"He does exactly the opposite of what you teach in a government class," said Ananich, a social studies teacher. "They're bound and determined to do what they want to do, regardless of the law." [FJ]

Jimmy you are equally guilty because the Flint City Council is bound and determined to whine like children that the play ground bully is beating them up. Are you people from Flint?[trb]

While there's no movement afoot, some council members are considering changes to the charter, a move that would have to be approved by city voters. [FJ]

Carl Bekofske, who was on the Charter Commission, said he doesn't see the need for an overhaul. [FJ]

"There would always be room for interpretations, no matter what you did," Bekofske said. "We're still interpreting the Constitution, and we've had that for more than 200 years." [FJ]

The Mayor of the City of Flint and the Flint City Council are in breech of contract with the citizens of Flint. Where is that Charter COP when you need one?[trb]

Posted here by
Terry Bankert 2/26/08

PS. Leave Inez Brown alone!

By Joe Lawlorjlawlor@flintjournal.com • 810.766.6312

The New Flint Charter a 1974? Publication of the 1974 Charter Revision Commission

Flint City Charter

Comments of Terry Bankert

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