Former city councilman Neeley ousts incumbent Flint mayor

Posted at 5:04 AM, Nov 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-06 05:04:19-05

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — Voters have elected a new mayor in Flint, Michigan, where recovery from a lead-contaminated water crisis remains a major issue.

Former Flint city councilman and current state Rep. Sheldon Neeley on Tuesday defeated incumbent Mayor Karen Weaver. The Genesee County Clerk’s Office reports Neeley received 7,082 votes to Weaver’s 6,877.

Weaver served one term as Flint mayor and survived a recall effort in 2017. She was elected in 2015, when voters ousted Dayne Walling in the wake of a water crisis that arose after the city turned to the Flint River for its water supply while waiting for a pipeline to be built from Lake Huron.

The river water wasn’t properly treated, unleashing lead into homes throughout Flint. State and federal agencies, who initially said the water was safe, were later blamed for the crisis.

During her campaign, Weaver, who beat Neeley by 230 votes in the August primary, contended Flint has made significant progress since high levels of lead was found in the water. But she recently told The Flint Journal the city must finish replacing lead pipes.

Neeley said community trust is lacking and officials should boost transparency by publicizing financial information, such as how money is spent.