(09/11/13) - ABC12 has learned that Flint's Emergency Manager Mike Brown is resigning from his position effective Oct. 31.
His replacement will be Saginaw City Manager Darnell Earley.
Mike Brown presented this letter of resignation to the governor, Tuesday.
He says he's resigning for personal reasons. His brother died last week and he has a brother in ICU. He says because this is such stressful job that it's best for him to step down.
Saginaw City Manager Darnell Earley will take over as Flint's emergency manager.
Brown will be in Flint until Oct. 31. Wednesday morning, he talked about some of his accomplishments over the past 22 months.
He says this is the first time in seven years that Flint has lived within a balanced budget. He says the city was able to reduce the city's $19.1 million deficit to just more than $16 million.
He says 1,000 city warrants have been issued a month, and he credits partnerships with Michigan State Police for that.
Brown also tells ABC12 that violent crime is down an average 24 percent in the first six months of this year.
"When you look at the path that we're on, we're on a very different path than Detroit. We're on a path toward solvency, and not bankruptcy, and I'm confident that with new leadership that's going to come in here that we can stay on this path, keep the momentum going and keep the city of Flint moving in the right direction," he said.
Wednesday morning, ABC12 News was the first to bring you Darnell Earley's breaking announcement that he was retiring from his job as Saginaw city manager.
This isn't Earley's first time working in the city of Flint. He once served as a city administrator under three former mayors, including Woodrow Stanley and Don Williamson.
Earley was employed with Flint from 2001-2004 and he has been Saginaw's city manager since 2006.
Earley let the city council members and department heads know about his departure through an email, which went out at around 9 Wednesday morning.
During his tenure in Saginaw, Earley was given credit by city council members for keeping the city out of an emergency financial situation by reorganizing city government. One way he did that was by outsourcing city services and cutting the city budget, which did not please everyone.
Earley spoke briefly, Wednesday morning, at the press conference.
His first priority on the job, "Figure out those things that are working well and see how we can improve upon them, determine which things are broken and see how we best fix them," he said.
Earley says he plans to get everyone involved - community members, city leaders, and unions to improve the quality of life in Flint.
"One person does not change the fortune of any city, good, bad or otherwise," he said.
As for Saginaw, Earley believes he's leaving the city in good shape.
"I believe that the city is in a much better place in 2013, then it was in 2004. We've saved money in a situation where cities like Saginaw and Flint don't have a lot of money to spare," he said.
He's confident the team he has in place will keep Saginaw moving in the right direction as he transitions to his new position in the vehicle city.
"The structure is there to succeed me or anyone else and that's always been my goal throughout my tenure, so that when we look back at what we did do in Saginaw, we can say we left it in a better place," he said.
Saginaw Mayor Greg Branch says there will be a search for a replacement for Earley, but the meantime, an interim will be named. There is a good chance it will be Deputy City Manager Tim Morales.
Branch says Earley had his critics, but he says the city manager did a good job in keeping Saginaw from having its own emergency manager.
"We cut an awful lot of positions, attorneys office, controllers office, we outsourced a lot of services, I think what he did was a very good job of getting the job done on a cost effective basis," he said.
Flint City Council President Scott Kincaid and council member Bryant Nolden were both at the news conference, Wednesday morning.
They found out on a conference call about 9 a.m., one hour before Brown announced his resignation to us.
Kincaid says it wasn't unexpected, as Brown has had some personal family matters to focus on recently.
"With the tragedies going on in his life, I kind of anticipated that that's what it was going to be and Mike made the right choice. People don't understand how tough these jobs are and how much time and effort and stress, you got to put your family first," he said. "I commend him for the decision he made. It wasn't an easy decision, but as far as I'm concerned, it was the right decision for him and the city."
Kincaid says he knows Earley knows the city of Flint and that his heart will be in the right place - that everyone will be looking out for the best interests for the citizens of Flint.
Kincaid did once again say he still doesn't agree with the Emergency Manager Law, but he looks forward to working with Earley because of his experience in and knowledge of Flint.
"I've worked with Darnell Earley in the past. We've had a good relationship and a strained relationship," he said.
Nolden has not worked with Earley before.
"I do know some of the history from his work down in Saginaw. So, I'm just carefully optimistic that as we move forward we'll be able to work forward to bring the city back," he said.
Brown is confident that new leadership will keep the momentum going. City council members say there are some challenges, but nothing they can't overcome.
"I think that with Darnell being here and having his focus here, that his focus will not only be on the fiscal stabilization bond, but it will be looking at what will be put in place for a transition advisory board," Kincaid said.
Kincaid says discussions of that transition advisory board will take place within the next month.
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