Board hotly debates employee suspension

FLINT TWP. — Contentions over the suspension of a code enforcement officer by the township supervisor ignited tensions at the township board of trustees meeting Monday night.

Alleging that Supervisor Karyn Miller had not followed proper procedure in disciplining code officer Mike Myatt last week, Treasurer Sandra Wright had the personnel matter added to the board’s agenda.

Myatt, who was in the audience, consented to having his case discussed in the public meeting instead of a closed session.

Wright then read at length from personnel policies and documentation which she said supported her contention only the full board has the sole authority to hire and fire employees.

“She had no right to impose disciplinary actions,” Wright said of Miller’s actions which followed a complaint about Myatt from a resident.

The personnel committee should have been convened to discuss Myatt’s case then make a recommendation to the board of trustees, Wright said. Also Myatt was not told who made charges against him and was given the impression that he had been fired, she said.

Miller contended that she acted within her authority and followed procedure. She said she did not fire Myatt but told him she would not schedule him for work until an investigation is completed of the resident’s complaint about him. She also asserted that as a part-time employee, Myatt did not fall under the personnel provisions Wright cited.

Trustee Frank Kasle, who is an attorney, disagreed, saying those provisions cover all employees part- and full-time. He said Myatt should have been suspended with pay or allowed to work while the investigation was conducted.

Myatt, a six-year township employee, works three days a week and had missed one regularly scheduled day of work as of Monday’s meeting.

As tension mounted, clerk Kim Courts asked Wright if she would agree to postpone the discussion until a personnel meeting could be held on Tuesday morning. Wright refused saying that meeting should have been scheduled sooner and more information needed to be presented to the board.

Trustee Barb Vert seconded Courts motion stating the matter should be discussed in committee.

After more contentious exchanges, the board ultimately voted 5-2 to move the matter to the personnel committee meeting, with Kasle and trustee George Menoutes dissenting.

Kasle said that Myatt’s livelihood was at stake and the matter should be resolved quickly. Menoutes suggested that a special board meeting be called later this week to act on the committee’s decision.

Menoutes, Wright and Kasle previously voted in October 2010 against the board’s decision to reduce Myatt’s position from full time to part time.

Trustee Belenda Parker said she was baffled by how much time had been spent discussing a personnel matter that should have been handled in the office.

“There are more important issues that have been swept under the rug,’‘ Parker, said alluding to an unspecified matter of “missing funds’’ she has brought up at the past two board meetings, asking that it be added to the agenda for board discussion.

Vert commented that favoritism is not new in township hiring and firing actions. She advocated that what is done for one should be done for all.

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