Did township violate Open Meetings Act? - WNEM TV 5

Did township violate Open Meetings Act?

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP, MI (WNEM) -

Residents are raising concerns over a special meeting called just before the holiday weekend.

The meeting was to offer the job of police chief and it came just days after rejecting to offer the position to the township's top candidate.

On Friday, the Buena Vista Board of Trustees voted to offer the chief of police position to Reggie Williams. Williams is a detective sergeant with the Saginaw Police Department.

Residents said a lack of transparency and the timing of the meeting have them questioning whether it violated the state's Open Meetings Act.

The Buena Vista Township Hall is where residents show up to be heard on township business. However, some residents said they were shut out of a big piece of township business, the election of the new police chief.

Aug. 30 was a regularly scheduled township meeting. At that meeting there was no mention of a special meeting that took place two days later.

Township Supervisor Chris Dillard was at the township hall on Thursday.

"I was actually in the office for awhile and no mention of the meeting or that a meeting was going to be held came up," Dillard said.

She said after she left to go on vacation that evening a note was posted on the door of the hall about 5:50 p.m. She said she didn't even know about it until later.

The note was posted by Township Treasurer Desmond Bibbs.

Bibbs said the reason the meeting was held on such short notice was because they wanted to make a decision quickly.

The Michigan Open Meetings Act has a few rules regarding meeting notices.

The law states there must be at least 18 hours notice given to hold the meeting. Since it was posted Thursday and the meeting was held Friday night, that checks out.

The law also states the information about the meeting must be prominently featured on the website or a page with a link to the website. TV5 did not see any post on the website. Dillard even said there was not one posted.

"It wasn't there, but that would be through the clerk's office," Dillard said.

There wasn't a link on the township's Facebook page either.

TV5 tried to call the township clerk for comment, but received her voicemail.

A spokesperson for the Michigan Press Association said if the township did violate the Open Meetings Act, the council would have to vote again during the next meeting.

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