Candidate’s lawsuit against township raised questions

FLINT TWP. — A question raised at the July 2 township board meeting concerned a candidate running for office who was also suing the township.

Chuck Hughes, who is running for board trustee, asked during public comment for clarification on the status of a wrongful discharge lawsuit against the township filed by Marsha Binelli, who is running for township treasurer.

Supervisor Karyn Miller responded at that time that the lawsuit was still active and under appeal. But it has since been dismissed.

The suit was dismissed by the District Court of Eastern Michigan in September 2010 and in appeal by the Court of Appeal, Sixth Circuit, on July 3, 2012, according to court documents.

Binelli filed the suit in January 2010 after being fired from her township job by Miller. In court documents, Binelli alleged that the firing was politically motivated because she had previously worked as deputy supervisor and confidential secretary for former Supervisor Doug Carlton, who was defeated by Miller in the 2008 election.

A day before Miller took office, Carlton transferred Binelli to the posi- tion of code enforcement officer in the building department, according to court documents.

Miller transferred her back in December then told her her services as a confidential secretary were no longer needed, according to court documents.

The appeals court affirmed the district court’s decision that Binelli failed to show she had a clearly established constitutional right not to be transferred back to her confidential secretary position.

“Although I disagree with the decision of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, I respect it,” Binelli said in response to a request for comment.

“I wholeheartedly believe that employees should not be fired based upon who they support, or do not support, in a political campaign, but should be evaluated strictly upon the quality of their work,” she added.

“Had Ms. Miller given me the opportunity, she would have found me to be a hard working and dedicated employee, and an asset to the community.”

Binelli also said she has not been questioned about the lawsuit by voters while campaigning for the treasurer’s job.

She has been endorsed by current township treasurer Sandra Wright, who is not seeking re-election.

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