FLINT TWP. – Some election year dissension crept into the May 16 township board meeting during public comment.
Jim McClung took issue with what he called misinformation being disseminated by a “smut merchant.” McClung is the former chairperson of the township Parks and Recreation Commission and current president of the Flint Township Senior Center Executive Board.
His comments pertained to the cost of building the Genesee Valley Trail and administration at the senior citizens’ center.
McClung said that contrary to allegations that Township Supervisor Karyn Miller wasted millions of dollars to build the Genesee Valley Trail, the truth is that the recreational trail was funded by a federal grant that could only be used to build a trail. If the township had not used it, it would have been reallocated to some other community, he said.
McClung also took issue with criticism of leadership at the senior citizen center.
“The board, the director, the volunteers at the center have done a helluva lot of work the last couple of years to turn the center around,’’ he said.
Contrary to rumors that attendance is down, the center has increased membership and still is eligible to receive funds from the county senior millage. More people are coming to the center than ever before, including some who have come back after leaving five or six years ago, he said.
McClung said considering the time he and other volunteers have spent working at the center without pay, it angers him to hear others trashing their efforts.
Also speaking during public comment, Gerald Roberts, a resident and frequent board critic, challenged the legality of one of the candidates for township clerk.
Kathy Funk, an administrative assistant, is running for the office.
Roberts cited a township personnel policy and a state law that requires public employees to take an unpaid leave of absence while running for elective office.
Roberts said the local personnel policy was put into place a few years ago when another township employee ran for office.
He alleged that Funk working in the clerk’s office, with access to absentee ballots and other election processes, is like having a “fox in the hen house.”
Township Clerk Kim Courts, who is not running for reelection, said the matter is being reviewed by the township attorney and that Funk’s employment status will not be addressed until the attorney gives an opinion. Courts also said that Funk is her administrative assistant and does not work in the elections department.