FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) – (08/19/2021) – Six months after hiring a new Chief Financial Officer, the City of Flint has already been forced to find a replacement.
It comes at a time where the city has a lot of key money decisions ahead like picking a new trash company, purchasing body cameras for police officers, and deciding how to spend millions of dollars in federal relief funding.
Before Flint, Robert Widigan was the finance director for the city of Lansing, the Village Manager for Shelby, Michigan, and worked for the state, partnering with many local governments and correcting some of their financial issues.
Now, he’s coming back home to Flint as the city’s Chief Financial Officer.
“Flint is my hometown, so I couldn’t wait to join the team that’s clearly already working hard to move Flint forward. I have family that lives in the city, friends that live in the city. It’s extremely important for me to be back just to help move the city forward,” Widigan said.
Widigan was born in Flint, grew up and went to church in Flint, attending Mott Community College and graduating from U of M Flint.
Now, he’s wasting no time quickly identifying the biggest challenge facing his hometown community.
“We’re facing a potential $17 million structural deficit in the city of Flint. We got to hit that head on. That’s not something that we can take our time to address. We need to make sure we get in there and hit the ground running,” Widigan said.
Widigan says the city’s fund balance is projected to drop from about $15 million to just about $2.1 million by the end of next fiscal year. He’ll be responsible for managing and reducing that, as well as all other parts of the city’s finances like awarding a new contract to a waste service provider and making sure the city is spending federal relief funding the right way.
“The need to address blight. The need to address gun violence. There’s a lot of major issues that the residents of this great city face that we need to hit head on,” Widigan said.
Widigan started in his interim role on Monday. Flint City Council will have to make the approval before taking on that role officially.
As for his predecessor, Shelbi Frayer, the city says she resigned to pursue other opportunities.
ABC12 is working to find out if there’s anything deeper than that.
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