Flint Residents Outraged After Mayor Skips Emergency Water Alert — But Alerts His Easter Egg Hunt
Close up of female holding an easter egg basket and hiding eggs in the grass on an out of focus background. Selective focus. Easter concept.
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Flint, Michigan, Democratic Mayor Sheldon Neeley really wanted his city’s residents to join him for an Easter egg hunt last weekend — to the point that he advertised the event with Flint’s newly implemented alert notification system that is mainly used for emergencies. 

Residents of the city, which is still dealing with the fallout from last decade’s infamous water crisis, were enraged to receive a text message from the city’s alert number inviting them to frolic with the mayor on the lawn behind City Hall. Screenshots of the text message sent to Flint residents were posted to Facebook and shared with The Daily Wire.

“Please join Mayor Sheldon Neeley for an Easter Egg Hunt today, Thursday, April 6, from 4 to 6 p.m. on the lawn behind Flint City Hall,” the message read. “This event is free for kids ages 0-11 years old. We hope to see you there.” 

The message above Neeley’s Easter egg hunt plug warned residents about an incoming snowstorm last month, but no alert was issued when a pump station failure flooded some residents’ basements with sewer water last week. 

Neeley announced the launch of the alert system, named CodeRED, just last month. 

“The Alert Flint notification system will allow us to quickly deliver vital information to the Flint community during emergencies,” Neeley said in a statement. “This gives our residents the opportunity to be better prepared in the event of an emergency and will help protect the lives, safety, and welfare of our citizens.”

CodeRED is intended to alert residents to emergencies and important information such as street maintenance, boil water advisories, missing children, active shooter threats, natural disasters, and evacuation or shelter-in-place notices, the city said. The free service allows people to sign up for alerts via phone, text, or email. The Alert Flint page on the city’s website was revised in the days following the mayor’s announcement to include “community updates” along with emergency situations. 

Flint City Councilwoman Tonya Burns slammed the mayor’s Easter egg hunt alert in a post on Facebook last week, complaining that CodeRED was used to alert citizens to this event but not to the water pump failure. 

“At no point should the City of Flint’s Emergency Alert System be used for an Easter Egg Hunt notification when not one resident was notified about Pump Station #5 that suffered catastrophic mechanical failure whereas Flint residents had 1-3 feet of standing water that ruined their furnaces, hot water heaters, washer/dryer’s, drywall, flooring, furniture and etc. and we’re left scrambling for help,” Burns said. “Emergency alert systems are in place for emergencies only.”

Angry Flint residents commented under Burns’ post. 

“I was so disappointed. I have blocked the number. I have no need for political announcements,” Flint homeowner and attorney Linda Pohly commented, adding. “Just when I think he [Neeley] has gone as low as he will, he stoops a little lower.”

“I’m so sick of this city,” resident Matthew Herrick said. “People are moving away from Flint because of reasons like this! He is the worst mayor Flint has ever had and he is only bringing the city down. I won’t be a Flint resident after this year.”

Sheila Summers simply wrote, “He got blocked. Inappropriate use.” 

Neeley’s office told The Daily Wire that referring to CodeRED as an emergency alert system is a “misrepresentation of the facts” and said that the mayor “made it clear that the system would be used to share both ‘positive and negative’ information.”

“Yes, Alert Flint is an important tool for emergency situations. It is also an important tool for communicating general city services messages, to be used alongside traditional media tactics like press releases, press conferences, social media, and the city website,” Neeley’s office said. The mayor’s office did not respond when pressed by The Daily Wire on why no alert was issued for the water pump failure. 

Neeley, who is strongly supported by Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, was criticized last year for falsely claiming for years that he had a bachelor’s degree. When asked about the phony claim, Neeley’s office deflected the blame to a staffer and said the mayor “has been clear from the beginning” about only receiving an associates degree from Delta College and studying for a time at Saginaw Valley State University.

Neeley was elected in 2019 and re-elected in 2022. 

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Flint Residents Outraged After Mayor Skips Emergency Water Alert — But Alerts His Easter Egg Hunt