An online subscription is required to access the content on this website.
SUBSCRIBE TODAY to have total access 24 hours a day to the Newberry News.
2018-12-05 / Front Page

Lack of Quorum Stops Special Village Meeting


Although Newberry president Lori Stokes, center, contacted every trustee on the Newberry Village council, only Harold Dishaw, left, and Dan Hardenbrook, right, came to her first Special Meeting last Tueday, November 27. Although Newberry president Lori Stokes, center, contacted every trustee on the Newberry Village council, only Harold Dishaw, left, and Dan Hardenbrook, right, came to her first Special Meeting last Tueday, November 27. Newly elected Village of Newberry president Lori Stokes called for a special meeting last Tuesday, November 27, yet only two trustees, Harold Dishaw and Dan Hardenbrook, showed up. Consequently, the meeting was called due to lack of a quorum.

On the agenda that night was a letter from the Jay Zelenock Law Firm, PLC; Village manager Jennifer James-Mesloh’s attorney, claiming that Stokes’ presidency was inappropriate.

Zelenock’s letter ran, in part, “As the Village Council is aware, Ms. Stokes has a long history of inappropriate conduct and Village rule-breaking that led to her discipline and termination from employment with the Village.

“Nevertheless, as a member of the union, Ms. Stokes is pursuing reinstatement to her employment position with the Village through arbitration, despite the fact that this is prohibited by state law under the Incompatible Public Offices Act (MCL 15.181 et seq.).

“Ms. Stokes ran for, and appears to have been elected, Village president; however, she has not relinquished her pending arbitration against the Village, and thus actively seeks to violate the Incompatible Public Offices Act.

“We do not plan to tolerate continuing violations of law and rules by Ms. Stokes, and will take appropriate legal action against her and the Village Council as employer if further violations occur, pursuant to applicable federal and/or state law. See, e.g. MCL 15.361 et seq. (“whistleblower statute” protects government employees from illegal retaliation).”

Also on the agenda that night was an appointment to fill a vacant trustee seat, as well as a question on the validity of trustee Lewis Hitts’ appointment the council made at the November 19 meeting that raised such a ruckus.

No less than seven people submitted requests to be considered for the vacant seat, including Paula Mamph (written 11/7), Lewis Hitts (11/7), Scott Ouellete (11/10), Michael Schnorr (11/12), Catherine Freeze (11/13), John Dewitt (11/14) and Michael Winn (11/15).

There may be others by the time the next council meeting rolls around.

Stokes could not comment on the letter from Zelenock, other than saying she is not currently a village employee. If the subject comes up in the next meeting, Stokes vowed that she would recuse herself and not take part in the conversation.

Stokes also related that the village manager is still on care-of-family leave, but that Buck Vallad, assistant village manager, is working on the village budget, which should be available for public viewing soon.

The next village council meting is set for Monday, December 17.

Return to top