WASHTENAW COUNTY, MI – A Washtenaw County decide on Wednesday, Sept. 21 dismissed a lawsuit submitted by Scio Township’s elected clerk from the relaxation of the township board.
Clerk Jessica Flintoft experienced alleged in legal proceedings that her colleagues experienced illegally limited her authority under Michigan legislation, interfering with endeavours to treatment what she says is a critically understaffed township fiscal group.
Demo Court docket Judge Timothy Connors explained he noticed no legal basis to vacate two township resolutions Flintoft argued prevented her from carrying out her job.
He declined to wade into the query of no matter whether they were being wise actions for the elected human body to choose.
“It’s frankly none of my organization,” Connors mentioned, incorporating they were the problem of township officers and voters, not the court.
Flintoft’s lawyer Mark Magyar experienced argued the scenario making use of a 1987 Michigan Court docket of Appeals selection involving a dispute over who need to receive township mail and where by meetings minutes exactly where to be typed in Livingston County’s Environmentally friendly Oak Township. In that circumstance, the court docket did vacate township resolutions that it reported interfered with the township clerk’s capacity to conduct her required obligations.
But Connors stated when providing his ruling he located the last paragraph of the 35-yr-aged viewpoint the most profound.
In it, appeals court docket judges explained they wished to sign-up their dismay that simply because of “a squabble involving township officers,” the get-togethers experienced put in $15,000 on legal illustration and burdened the courts.
“We look at this as an affront to the authorized system and the township’s taxpayers and an embarrassment to the events. We hope that in the potential these types of divisive perform can be set apart in favor of a lot more productive behavior,” Connors claimed, quoting the opinion.
Wednesday marks the third time this yr Connors has declined to overturn choices built by Scio leaders. In February, he dismissed a residents’ lawsuit demanding the legality of a evaluate that doubled the township supervisor’s shell out.
And in April, he declined to grant a movement in Flintoft’s circumstance inquiring him to intervene to preserve a disputed township financial staffing contract, stating it was inappropriate for a decide to “micromanage” an elected municipal physique.
Read through much more: Choose rules against Scio Township clerk in lawsuit against her own board
Just after Wednesday’s ruling and a different authorized defeat, the clerk did not concede.
“I system to appeal today’s final decision. The (Scio) Board of Trustees has violated the legislation, infringing on my statutory duties as the township’s elected clerk. The board proceeds its perilous disassembling of the checks and balances about general public monies,” she explained in a assertion.
Magyar asked the decide on Wednesday to overturn two township resolutions environment occupation descriptions for the township supervisor and administrator, which he said amounted to “usurping duties” that belonged by regulation with the clerk, who should continue to keep custody of township data.
He pointed to events pursuing the using the services of of interim administrator James Merte in May perhaps at a assembly Flintoft could not show up at owing to ailment. Merte contacted the firm supplying the township’s document-holding software and gained administrative accessibility, eliminating Flintoft’s obtain, Magyar mentioned, pointing to data of the adjust.
“She raised all heck about it,” Magyar claimed, outlining that examine/produce entry was restored soon after Flintoft submitted an amended lawsuit in court docket on May perhaps 19. But, the legal professional explained, Flintoft however lacks administrative privileges, restricting authority he said the clerk should have over the virtual books by legislation.
Magyar also stated Flintoft should have the authority to advise candidates for a township finance director posture, which has been vacant due to the fact November of previous year and whose responsibilities have been crammed with a “patchwork” of unqualified workers customers, limiting the clerk’s capability to full her duties.
Michael Homier, an attorney symbolizing the township board, in switch argued the clerk was trying to improperly broaden the definitions of her responsibilities approved to her under the legislation.
“The judiciary is not the position to settle political scores or grievances,” he claimed. “That’s what this is.”
Homier claimed couple information are held solely by the clerk, pointing out they are obtainable for the community to request underneath the Independence of Information Act and for other township departments to use. As for the employing of employees, that amounted to a “policy dispute” inside the township, and the correct treatment was the ballot box at the following election, he said.
While Magyar disagreed with that characterization, Choose Connors appeared to discover it persuasive, declaring he discovered no authorized basis to do what the clerk was requesting, though also acknowledging it appeared probably the situation would go to enchantment.
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