FLINT, Mich.—September 8, 2022
Wednesday, September 7 Flint City Clerk Inez Brown announced her retirement, effective September 30. Under the Flint City Charter §3-403, the City Clerk is the chief election official for the City of Flint. Mayor Sheldon Neeley held a press conference today to explain how the city will navigate this transition.
“We thank [Inez Brown] for her years of service, dedication and commitment to this community,” Mayor Neeley said. “We can’t say enough about the great work that she has performed over her career, and we congratulate her on the announcement of her retirement.”
The next city clerk’s term will start January 1, but the city council can pass a resolution appointing an interim for the remainder of Clerk Brown’s term. There is no automatic transfer of authority from the clerk to the deputy clerk, so the city council would need to take action to fill the position.
When Clerk Brown retires on September 30, the November 8 election will be a little over a month away. Following Clerk Brown’s announcement, Mayor Neeley requested election assistance from Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, citing the short timeframe.
“We want residents to be assured that this administrative office is going to do everything in its power, though this is a council-appointed position, to make sure that we have the necessary tools and resources moving forward,” Mayor Neeley said. “We’re asking for assistance, up to oversight, making sure this process and this transition is smooth for this upcoming election.”
According to Mayor Neeley, Secretary Benson will visit Flint on September 28 for a meeting with stakeholders to discuss the process for appointing a new city clerk. The Secretary of State will also evaluate the Flint City Clerk’s office to determine what support is needed for the upcoming November 8 election.
“We’re going to make sure the transition is fair, making sure that we have equality, equity, and certainty in the greatest American right that we have, and that’s the right to participate in the voting process,” Mayor Neeley said. He went on to say, “We want to make sure there’s no question about the process of voting here inside the City of Flint and so that’s why we’re taking these fast steps right now.”
The mayor said his administration has an ongoing dialogue and partnership with the Secretary of State’s office, and city council will be included in the dialogue as well. The mayor has submitted an inquiry to the city council about how they would like the process to look.
“We’ll make sure that we’re very inclusive and deliberate and intentional about inclusion of council members through this process because this is under their authority,” Mayor Neeley said. “I’m here to provide a level of assistance—not direction or control.”