Don Williamson

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For other people with the same name, see Donald Williamson (disambiguation).
Donald J. Williamson
91st Mayor of the City of Flint
In office
2003 – February 15, 2009
Preceded by James W. Rutherford[1]
Succeeded by Michael Brown, Temporary
Personal details
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Patsy Lou Williamson

Donald J. Williamson served as mayor of Flint, Michigan from 2003 to 2009, he is also a businessman. He is the husband of Patsy Lou Williamson, owner of several car dealerships in the Flint area, and chairman of The Colonel's International, Inc.


Williamson was convicted for several business scams in 1962 and served 3 years in prison before being paroled. These involved buying cars with bad checks and purchasing items without actually paying for them.[2]

Williamson owns Brainerd International Raceway and Colonel's and merged them into The Colonel's International, Inc.[3]

Political life[edit]

Don Williamson made it out of the primary and faced incumbent Mayor Woodrow Stanley in 1999 and lost. Williamson was elected to the first full term of Flint Mayor since the recall of Woodrow Stanley defeating former State Representative Floyd Clack. Willamson faced off with Flint Club founder and former president, Dayne Walling, in 2007 winning reelection.[4]

Election Controversy[edit]

During the 2007 election, Williamson claimed that the city had an $8.9 million surplus. However, after the mayoral elections, it was revealed that the city was in a $4 million deficit. Williamson had to fire 60 city employees and proposed firing 60 police officers and 9 firefighters, and closing the city jail.

Williamson was accused of bribing citizens for votes by handing out more than $20,000 at the car dealership that his wife owns as part of a "Customer Appreciation Day." Each recipient of the money was given campaign literature.[5]

In both elections, Williamson, a Democrat, was opposed by the state Democratic party for a variety of reasons, including his campaign donations both he and his wife made to George W. Bush. They contributed the maximum amount.[6]


His administration had reported a balance budget for fiscal year 2005, 2006 and has delivered a balanced budget for fiscal year 2007. The City of Flint received a national budget award for 2006.[citation needed] The Budget Director was replaced, and the city immediately began a downward spiral of "emergency spending" leading to the city finishing the 2007-08 fiscal year with an $8.3 million deficit, and likely staring at another multimillion-dollar deficit in 2009.[7] Current estimates for the deficit exceed 14 million dollars.[8]

He appointed Darryl Buchanan, a city councilman, to be the City Administrator after his second term election.[9] At present, the city is in a $9 million deficit, much of it due to the various lawsuits against Don Williamson himself. In February, 2008, Williamson sued Flint city clerk Inez Brown for not convening a panel to investigate "her profane and threatening" language with an employee.[10] During the Flint mayoral election he pointed to hundreds of miles of paved roads as one of his proudest achievements as mayor.[2] Time magazine named Flint the "most dangerous city in America" in a 2007 issue.[11] The 14th Annual CQ press publication of "Most Dangerous Cities in America" ranked Flint third.[12] Williamson ran for governor of Michigan in 2010.[13]

Recall campaign[edit]

On October 2008, petitions were submitted in the city clerk's office to recall Williamson as mayor. There were enough valid signatures and with legal challenges by Williamson unsuccessful, a recall election was scheduled for February 24, 2009.[14]


Williamson began making major changes in who filled the department head positions and even replaced the City Administrator, Darryl Buchanan, with Michael Brown and naming Buchanan to the nonexistent position of deputy mayor.[15] On February 8, 2009, Williamson announced his resignation as mayor effective Saturday.[16] Under Michigan law, the scheduled recall election was canceled. On February 16, 2009, city administrator Michael Brown became temporary mayor.[17]

Political offices
Preceded by
James W. Rutherford
Mayor of Flint
Succeeded by
Michael Brown, Temporary
(City Administrator)


  2. ^ a b Mary Ann Chick Whiteside. "Don Williamson |". Retrieved 2012-04-26. 
  3. ^ Brainerd Int'l Raceway Hosts Memorial Day Carnival and Drag Races
  4. ^ Raymer, Marjory (2007-08-09). "Two white candidates make history". Flint Journal (Flint, Michigan: Booth Newspapers). Retrieved 2009-01-06. 
  5. ^ Marjory Raymer. "Walling, Williamson start final push |". Retrieved 2012-04-26. 
  6. ^ Marjory Raymer. "Anti-Williamson TV ad |". Retrieved 2012-04-26. 
  7. ^ Flint Journal Report
  8. ^ Flint Journal Report
  9. ^ "Flint Mayor Don Wiliamson appoints longtime community leader Mike Brown as new city administrator to replace Darryl Buchanan". Flint Journal. April 19, 2009. Retrieved May 6, 2009. 
  10. ^ Flint Journal photo. "Flint Mayor Don Williamson sues Flint City Clerk Inez Brown; in related news volcanoes erupt, tornadoes blow |". Retrieved 2012-04-26. 
  11. ^ Julie Morrison. "Residents, officials dispute study that labels Flint third most dangerous city |". Retrieved 2012-04-26. 
  12. ^ CNN Archived from the original on April 17, 2008.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ Archived from the original on May 21, 2011. Retrieved February 18, 2016.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. ^ [1] Archived January 27, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ "Mayor of Flint, Michigan resigns for health reasons". Wikinews. WikiMedia Foundation. February 11, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  16. ^ "Flint Mayor Don Williamson resigns". Flint Journal (Flint, Michigan: Booth Newspapers). February 9, 2009. Retrieved February 9, 2009. 
  17. ^ [[[n:Mayor of Flint, Michigan resigns for health reasons|Mayor of Flint, Michigan resigns for health reasons]] "Mayor of Flint, Michigan resigns for health reasons"] Check |url= value (help). Wikinews (Wikimedia Foundation). February 11, 2009. Retrieved February 18, 2009. [dead link]