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BY MIKE KILLBREATH
Posted on March 11, 2019
Chief Financial Officer Hughey Newsome tells Flint City Council he's leaving because of 'politics'
FLINT (CCN) — The Harvard graduate hired to become the City of Flint's Chief Financial Officer is leaving. Hughey Newsome's departure became public Monday night during a Flint City Council meeting.
Newsome's resignation letter complained that he was tired of political attacks.
Newsome also made a brief statement during a heated exchange between city council members Monday as they feuded over allegations that a letter was illegally written by three elected officials to Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel.
City Councilman Eric Mays presented a copy of the letter to The Morning Gazette Radio Show and said three signatures on it was in violation of the Flint City Charter and subjects them to criminal penalties under the state's Open Meetings Act. Councilwoman Kate Fields said the letter was legal because she didn't meet privately with co-authors Allan Griggs and Eva Worthing. Griggs confirmed in public Monday that no meeting took place before signing the letter.
Councilman Mays had previously said he wanted to put all three of his council colleagues under oath "because they leave every time the matter is placed on the agenda for discussion."
Newsome's resignation letter said; "I have been accused of lying, cheating and mismanaging funds. These lies and innuendos were passed on to the media in an attempt to slander my professional name. That phase of politics showed me that it was time to move on; my career means more to me and my family than being attacked and the truth distorted on a daily basis."
Newsome's letter to the mayor indicated that he will be leaving the City of Flint. "The lessons I have learned while in this office were not just those about accounting and finance, but instead those dealing with leadership. My leadership skills, even more than my technical skills, have been tested in this office. Indeed, I have been here for over 17 months and I have tried to work with you closely.”
He went to the podium during a committee meeting Monday night and asked council members, “What will it take for you to finally back off and trust the finance director of this city? I have opened my door to you. All of you heard this. I have responded to your concerns."
Newsome cited “slander” and “politics” as the reasons for the letter of resignation submitted earlier in the day to Mayor Weaver.
"As I noted in the letter there is major business to be done," Newsome told council members. "Members of the administration have been working tirelessly to get this budget done, so we can keep it balanced. Here it is two hours later. We haven’t been able to talk about the budget. What will it take to focus on the business of this city?”
Mayor Weaver issued a press release that read: "While this news is certainly upsetting, I completely understand his frustration and his desire to maintain mental clarity and a good professional name for himself. I wish Mr. Newsome well in his future endeavors. This is truly a loss for the city.”
Newsome was hired as CFO by the city council in November of 2017 after a recommendation by Mayor Dr. Weaver and Richard Baird who was a senior adviser to former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. He had been serving as the interim CFO. “We appreciate everything those in the Finance Department who have stepped up to handle the financial matters since the last CFO’s contract expired," the mayor said at the time. "Now that Hughey is on board, I am confident the department will continue to operate efficiently with progress being made."
Newsome had 13 years of experience working in various positions in the field of finance before taking a job in Flint. He was a senior manager at Morgan Franklin Consulting near Washington DC. where he worked with a variety of finance units to establish financial systems to improve cash management, increase functionality, and develop processes to achieve time and cost systems. He also worked as a consultant advising Fortune 500 clients on procurement strategies and process improvement functions. He previously worked as a financial analyst supporting cash management, debt compliance and accounting activities at Chrysler Financial Services.
He earned a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Harvard Business School. He also has a master’s degree from Stanford University and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas in electrical engineering.
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