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ACLU Attorneys Group Seek AG’s Help in Grand Traverse County Dispute

Northern Lakes Community Mental Health Authority Rewarded A $1.8 Million Grant

5:30 p.m.

An ACLU legal committee is turning to State Attorney General Dana Nessel, asking for her help with a case in Grand Traverse County.

Last summer, county commissioners removed two people from their appointed positions on the Northern Lakes Community Mental Health Authority. Commissioners made that decision on a 4-3 vote despite objections that the decision may be unlawful.

Now the ACLU Lawyers Committee for Northern Michigan is asking the state to file a lawsuit to reinstate board members Justin Reed and Nicole Miller to the Community Mental Health Authority.

Spokesperson and Traverse City Attorney Deyar Jamil says, “they were terminated simply because they voted on an issue in the way that some of the commissioners didn’t like. Michigan law requires that board members for the Mental Health Authorities may only be terminated for cause.” She adds, “we’re disappointed that their vast experience has been lost from the authority and from the benefit of the community at large.”

“Mr. Reed and Ms. Miller’s rights were violated,” Jamil says. “There are rules in place and we’re here to ensure that the county commission upholds those rules. Lives by its own rules. They can’t pick and choose based on what suits them in any given situation.”

The county says they’re aware of the ACLU’s involvement and will wait to see how the AG’s office responds, but beyond that they have no comment.

The Attorney General’s office says they’ve received the letter from the Lawyers Committee and are reviewing the request.

5:58 a.m.

The American Civil Liberties Union Legal Committee is asking the State of Michigan to reinstate two members of the Northern Lakes Community Mental Health Authority.

ACLU lawyers sent Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel a letter, asking her to put Justin Reed and Nicole Miller back in their positions.

Last summer in a 4-3 vote partisan vote, the Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners removed Reed and Miller from the NLCMHA.

The ACLU says that decision was made for purely political reasons, based on the way Reed and Miller had voted in the past.

They say commissioners removed the two members despite concerns that is was illegal, then moved to put people in place at NLCMHA who would vote the way they wanted.

ACLU lawyers are asking the state to step in and reinstate Reed and Miller.