Remove Trustee Taylor, Trustee Jackson, Treasurer Cavanaugh and Trustee Kangas from office
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Thursday, February 15, 2018 —
The Charter Township of Redford board conducted a public, emergency meeting. Four members out of the total six present at the meeting were aware of the details of the meeting. Two were not. This petition calls for the recall in the State of Michigan in Redford Township for:
Linda Jackson, Trustee
Kim Taylor, Trustee
Elizabeth Kangas, Trustee
Lily Cavanaugh, Treasurer
Kim Taylor and Lily Cavanaugh called the meeting to discuss the “at-will” termination with “no cause” as the reason (they indicated it was due to a personnel concern) of John Selmi, Director of Department of Public Services for Redford Township.
The second topic of discussion was to introduce a Superintendent position into the Township, and also approve Donald Wood (current Redford Township Personell Director) as said Superintendent. This was done with the assumption that our current Township Supervisor, Tracey Schultz Kobylarz, would be accepting a new career position within the next day. The Superintendent position was said to have needed to be immediately decided on due to the nature of the Township potentially lacking a Township Supervisor in the near future.
With this given information, I provide the reasons that displayed Official Misconduct by intentional violation of the Open Meetings Act by the four board members listed above:
1)Prior to this meeting, Redford Township did not have a Superintendent in office. A job posting was not made available to the public, nor was it stated anywhere that this position in office was open and accepting candidates.
2)Kim Taylor stated several times that legal advice was sought by “their attorney,” but failed to present to all six board members said advice. All six of the present board members were not privy to this information. All board members present were not aware that there was a concern to be addressed legally.
3)All board members were not making decisions and working off of the same information. The four board members this petition names had more information and intentionally failed to provide the other two board members with that information.
4)This meeting was called at a “coincidental” time - Our current Township Supervisor was not available to attend today’s Emergency Meeting in which she was half of the topic.
5)Secrecy and planning seemed to have occurred between the four of these appointed officials.
Based on the information and statements made above, the four named members are in direct violation of the Open Meetings Act:
1)AVOID THE APPEARANCE OF A SECRET MEETING.
As previously noted, discussing municipal business with a quorum of board members outside of an open meeting violates the OMA. Some lawsuits are filed because the public body makes a decision at a meeting with absolutely no discussion. When it appears there should have been a public discussion, such as when the issue is controversial, members of the public sometimes assume that a meeting was held in private and discussion took place "behind closed doors," and file a lawsuit. Obviously, a quorum of the municipal board should not be discussing business if they are not at a meeting open to the public; however, they may also avoid such lawsuits by taking extra effort to discuss topics on the record so there is no appearance of an unlawful meeting.
2)AVOID DECISIONS IN CLOSED SESSION.
The OMA requires that all decisions be made at an open meeting. A "decision," is defined in part as any determination, action, vote or disposition, on public policy may not be made in the closed session. To avoid an OMA violation, no substantive motions or Board actions should be taken in closed session.
3)UNDERSTAND THE SPECIFIC REASONS A MUNICIPALITY MAY MOVE INTO CLOSED SESSION TO DISCUSS EMPLOYMENT ISSUES.
The OMA contains specific reasons that a board may meet in closed session regarding employment related issues. For example, a closed session may be called (1) to consider the dismissal, suspension, discipline, complaints, charges or periodic personnel evaluations of a public officer or employee, if the named person requests a closed hearing; or (2) for strategy and negotiation sessions connected with the negotiation of a collective bargaining agreement, if either party requests a closed session. These two exemptions are specific and narrow. Thus, not every employment-related issue falls into these two categories. For example, a municipality may not meet in closed session to negotiate the new contract for their manager.
(violations cited by Foster Swift Collins & Smith PC - attorneys specializing in the Open Meetings Act)
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