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Took a look into dismissal of Thad Taylor

August 24, 2012
The Alpena News

There have been few facts printed regarding the Thad Taylor/City Council issues so I investigated the situation using historical public documents.

I read Michigan's Open Meeting Act. MOMA provides access to government proceedings and it allows for closed (not open to public) sessions for numerous reasons. For example, employees subject to dismissal can ask for a closed session. Understandably, employees would not wish to be disciplined in public.

This provision seems the likely cause of the closed session. Thus, either Thad Taylor wisely asked the discussion be kept from the public (allowing him to position the job loss however he wished) or the council wished to spare Thad any embarrassment. Thad is a well-liked gentleman; it would be mean-spirited to "fire" him in open public forum. Either way, MOMA was not violated and citizens accusing the council of MOMA violation owe them an apology.

Compounding this, some have accused Councilman Nunneley of not complying with the Freedom of Information requests because Nunneley's employer did not submit his work emails. His employer is a non-government institution; non-government institutions are exempt from FOI requests. Therefore, Nunneley fulfilled the requirements of FOI and we owe him an apology as well.

To determine the events that precipitated this controversy, I reviewed two years of council meeting materials and budgets Alpena has decreasing revenues and no sufficient plan to decrease costs other than cutting services. A city manager must lead in fostering city growth. That cannot be done by continuing the fiscal irresponsibility of protecting non-service jobs, benefits and revenue-negative programs at the expense of Alpena's sustainability. That is the "philosophical difference" the council was too kind to call out. Our next city manager will have an unpopular but critical task championing the fiscal responsibility necessary to thrive.

Allan P. Frank




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