“I wasn’t paid by the city,” he adds. “I was paid by [a grant from] the Mott Foundation.”
Though Jones had a three-year contract, he says he wanted to leave almost as soon as he took the job: “I was met with a whole host of resistance. They called me the governor’s bitch and the governor’s boy [and said] there’s no reason a black man should make this kind of money. And I was threatened twice.”
But Jones stresses that his bosses were “all great people.” He says he stayed for “my love for my job and my love for some people in Flint. I didn’t want to leave until I left completed projects.”
With Jones’s help, the crime-ridden city divided into four patrol districts to localize policing, reopened its local lockup to hold more criminals, and changed to the 800 MHz frequency to communicate with the state police and other agencies already using it.
“By the end of August, crime had gone down,” reports Jones, “so we got to work on the millage.” Among other things, the public safety millage would begin to rebuild a police force that had been cut by more than half in the previous five years. Few in the strapped city thought the tax, which will cost a typical homeowner $79 annually, would pass. Yet it did, with 57 percent of the vote.