Flint mayor faces 17 recall opponents

November 8, 2017

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver faces a Tuesday recall election involving 17 challengers including City Council member Scott Kincaid, recall organizer Arthur Woodson and former Flint school board member David Davenport.

The recall stems from a controversy related to the Genesee County’s garbage contract. Weaver pushed for an emergency trash collection contract with the former Rizzo Environmental Services in Macomb County over City Council opposition.

Former trash titan Chuck Rizzo and his father have reached plea deals with federal prosecutors and are expected to plead guilty this month for their roles in a wide-ranging public corruption scandal in Macomb County. The scandal has led to criminal charges against 17 people with 10 reaching plea deals.

The recall also comes amid the mayor’s fight with City Council about approving a 30-year agreement with the Detroit area Great Lakes Water Authority. Council members have dragged their feet because they fear increases in water rates.

In a mid-October decision, Detroit federal Judge David Lawson took Flint’s council to task for sitting on an April agreement backed by Weaver, the state and the federal Environmental Protection Agency that would have the city stay on the Detroit area water system.

The city was supposed to move to the regional Karegnondi Water Authority, but the Weaver administration rejected the option because updating of the Flint water treatment facility is expected to cost more than $68 million and take more than three years to complete.

The Flint council snubbed the judge and approved a two-year extension of service with the Great Lakes Water Authority even though no one else had proposed it. The deal with the Detroit area water authority has lapsed, but Weaver, the state of Michigan, the Great Lakes authority and other supporters have revived the agreement.

Last week, the state Department of Environmental Quality filed an emergency motion asking Lawson to approve giving Weaver the authority to sign the renewed contract by Election Day, since City Council is still balking. The judge rejected the time line and is scheduled to hold a hearing on the motion later this month.

If Weaver loses, the recall winner likely wouldn’t sign the renewed contract with the Great Lakes authority. Kincaid has opposed the 30-year master agreement.