TC leaders could discipline city manager | News

TRAVERSE CITY – City guides could take disciplinary action against Marty Colburn, manager of Traverse City.

Commissioners will discuss possible disciplinary action behind closed doors during a special session on Monday, an agenda released on Thursday shows. Michigan’s Open Meetings Act allows for the “dismissal, suspension, or discipline of, or hearing of complaints or charges,” discussed privately when the topic of the meeting so requires. Colburn said Thursday that he requested the closed session.

He didn’t want to say more.

“We just don’t talk about personnel issues, I hope you understand,” he said.

All decisions resulting from closed-session discussions must be made in an open session in accordance with the law of the country.

The meeting materials do not mention the reason why disciplinary action is being considered. Commissioner Roger Putman referred questions to City Attorney Lauren Trible-Laucht in this regard.

Reached by email, Trible-Laucht declined to say why discipline was being considered.

She said the special session was held at the individual request of Mayor Jim Carruthers, Mayor Pro Tem Amy Shamroe and Commissioners Brian McGillivary, Christie Minervini, Putman and Ashlea Walter. They made the motion after a closed discussion about confidential communication between attorney and client at their September 20th meeting.

At the same meeting, commissioners voted to confirm Colburn’s decision to sack Kelli Martin, now former town treasurer and finance director, on September 8th. The town treasurer is one of two positions for which the town manager needs the approval of the commissioners in order to fire.

Martin informed commissioners prior to the unanimous vote that she refused to approve a reimbursement for a department head and that she refused to reinstate town assistant Penny Hill as an administrator in the town’s financial software after learning that Hill had approved an issue without the town clerk’s deregistration required by town law. She also said the city’s purchasing policy was not being followed.

After the September 20 meeting, Colburn, Trible-Laucht, and town clerk Benjamin Marentette declined to comment on Martin’s testimony.

Carruthers asked to speak privately with Colburn immediately after the September 20 meeting – messages for Carruthers left Thursday have not yet been returned.

The commissioners are also due to discuss an advocacy-privileged document from Trible-Laucht on Monday, as the agenda shows. This could also take place in a closed session, as state law allows.

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