Parker orders temporary cuts to boards

By GABRIEL GOODWIN
Sunday Times Newspapers

ALLEN PARK — Emergency Financial Manager Joyce Parker determined the suspension of six boards and other members was necessary to weigh benefits with costs was in the best interest of the city.

Parker said the process is to evaluate the effectiveness and function of the boards and their members.

“It was necessary to evaluate the overall goal of the board and whether as a member, the previous appointees could accomplish the goals set before them,” she said.

The order made April 23 affected the public safety commission, the police and fire civil service commission, the general employees civil service commission, the housing commission, and the Allen Park Downtown Development Authority. Parker said the temporary removal of these committees was to re-evaluate their function and the impact on the city.

“(The city) had to conduct an examination that had not taken place for a very long time,” Parker said. “These committees either have a direct or indirect relationship with the city’s finances and this review was necessary to ensure (they) are functioning properly.”

Previously, there was no application process for potential board members or trustees. She implemented an application process to ensure committee members meet the criteria related to the charter. According to a provision in the city charter, an individual cannot be outstanding on any obligation to the city.

Removed members were encouraged to complete the new application process for reappointment by Thursday. The order affected between 30 and 35 members. Other staff remained in place to work directly with the EFM to accomplish current goals until this investigation wraps up.

Some of the members have already been reappointed and Parker hopes to have others in place by the next time the respective committees meet.

“By enacting this order, I’m not saying there has been any wrongdoing (by these committees or members) nor has this been in response to any wrongdoings in the past,” Parker said. “The evaluation will take in consideration their effectiveness on the respective board to see if there needs to be adjustments or changes.”

With regard to the recent removal of the housing commission’s members and Housing Director Andrew Hill, Parker said, it was not related to the prior reported allegations of racial discrimination. Hill’s conduct is being investigated separately by the Federal Office of the Inspector General which Parker said is a different process altogether.

“Until we are able to finalize an investigation it will be difficult to recognize what steps to take,” Parker said. “There is no information at this time to substantiate some action at this point in time. Our investigation into the commission is still related to the board and how effective it is in completing its duties and responsibilities.”

(Gabriel Goodwin can be reached at ggoodwin@bewickpublications.com.)

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