Portion of $2.9 million grant to fund salaries of 3 people - WNEM TV 5

Portion of $2.9 million grant to fund salaries of 3 people

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

Questions are surrounding the use of a nearly $3 million grant meant for economic efforts in the city of Flint.

Earlier this month the Kellogg Foundation awarded the city the four-year, $2.9 million grant.

A large chunk of that grant will fund hefty salaries for just three people.

“I was shocked, honestly, when we received three add-ons in the last minute. We were expected to vote on it immediately,” said Eva Worthing, city council member.

Worthing is voicing her concerns about a recent council meeting. The topic was how the city would use the grant.

Mayor Karen Weaver wanted to appoint three people to jump start the economic development team, spending a third of the money on their salaries.

“Well, not being able to investigate and do our due diligence. We’re expected to just trust the mayor and approve these appointments,” Worthing said.

The appointments were Aonie Gilcrest as chief volunteer adviser - with a salary of $120,000 for the next three years, Linnette Phillips as project manager for the Michigan Development Corporation – making $108,000 per year, and Matthew Gibb. Gibb is a former city executive for Oakland County and he will be paid $150,000 as a consultant for one year.

“There are certain things that make me think of shadiness. Especially the last meeting. Something’s not even on our agenda and then there it comes. They put us under a lot of gun to approve it,” said Allan Griggs, city council member.

TV5 reached out to Weaver to ask the tough questions. She offered this statement, that reads in part:

“I am very excited about the team we are putting together to help boost economic development in the city of Flint, and am looking to add even more professionals to work on this project. It is my hope that the people of Flint will see positive results from this effort soon, as we continue our work to transition the city from crisis to recovery.”

Worthing said members were told they had to vote on approving the appointees quickly in order to secure the funds, but she still voted no.

“I want to see qualified people. We are going to get this money for the grant. We have the opportunity to hire the brightest and best that are qualified,” Worthing said.

The agenda passed through council and RTAB will go over the new appointments next week.

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