Hersey Village Meeting Adjourns Due To ‘Angry’ Public Comment, Resumes Week Later
Turmoil and division were the story in a Mid-Michigan village Monday night with council members pointing fingers at one another.
This comes just days after the arrest of their former treasurer.
The Hersey Village Council met to hold a regular meeting last week, a week after former treasurer Angela Clark was arrested, accused of embezzling village money.
The council had to adjourn the meeting early due to the frustration that followed.
“Yeah, holler at me!"
"Why don’t you go back where you came from?"
These were just some of the shouts heard at the meeting last Monday.
It started like most other Hersey Village meetings, with approval of the minutes, roll call.
But a bad village audit in light of the recent events, including the arrest of Angela Clark, and the unknown absence of about $14,000, lit the flame.
"I want to know when we are getting our rebate money back!” A woman yelled during public comment that night.
"There just seems to be a lot of unanswered questions,” says Roger Wood.
Roger Wood was among the many at last week’s heated meeting.
He came back Monday night, since the first meeting had to be adjourned.
"The first word that comes to mind is division,” Wood says. “Nobody seems to be working together anymore. The president and the council obviously have different viewpoints."
"Tensions are really high in our village due to the embezzlement of funds that were taken by our former treasurer,” says Robin Marvel, Hersey Village President. "A lot of people were fired up and had a lot of questions and wanted things answered, not to mention we had our auditor here, showing the results of our audit which weren’t positive."
Marvel says the council is split in two, old and new.
The other trustees say she approved road repairs in an area that may have needed it, but were not approved by the entire council.
Marvel says they were a part of the approved plan, just needed higher priority.
She says that, amongst other hot topics, started a wave of frustration in the audience.
"Our village has struggled since I came into office,” Marvel says. “There’s been a lot of sides taken as far as coming in after someone who had been on for 20 years and a lot of policy and procedures that weren’t put in place."
…Policies like road repairs that didn’t happen or happened in a place they weren’t approved by the council to go.
"If you don’t have these procedures in place, then how can you pass them on to the next people in line,” Marvel says. "The village receives a certain amount of money every month from the state of Michigan to maintain and uphold safety of our roads. I asked for $10,000 because I wanted to get certain sections of roads done. And I provided a list."
$15,000 was approved by the council after they a possible millage into account.
The council discussed letters from the state regarding their poor audit and roads during Monday night’s meeting.
At one point, the council questioned bringing in an outside investigator.
“I think we’ve all went nuts. Really,” says Pat Jacobs, who has lived in Hersey for 86 years and attended both meetings. “Everybody is fighting. Nobody trusts anybody. The council looks nothing over to see what we are buying or paying for. I hope that the people in the village can hold their cool and not scream and holler at somebody."