Council member reacts to city manager firing, looks to future

News

A day after the Potterville City Council voted to fire City Manager Wanda Darrow, one council member is speaking out about the decision.

Council Member and Deputy Mayor Jeff Bussard said he was blindsided by the allegations Darrow mismanaged city money and knew or should have known about thefts of city property. He also said the decision to terminate her was agonizing.

“I  feel like i was the most disappointed sitting up there. because it was almost like being betrayed,” he said.

Darrow has been suspended for about a month while investigators looked into whether she committed any wrongdoing while in office, made misrepresentations to the city council, neglected her duties as city manager, or violated the City’s Code and Charter.

The complaint that prompted the investigation dealt with Darrow’s son, Eddie Darrow III, who worked for the city. There were allegations that he stole equipment from the city and that Wanda Darrow knew or should have known about the thefts or concealed the thefts after the fact.

The findings of that investigation were enough for the Potterville city council to remove her with cause, rejecting her resignation letter, which was read to the council by her attorney Tuesday night.

Bussard said had Darrow come forward with what she knew, things could have turned out differently for her.

“Had she come to me, I believe her son would be in jail by now. And she would have probably gotten some sort of ‘well, you should have been paying better attention,’ type of situation. But she certainly wouldn’t have been fired for cause,” he said.

In the interim, Brad Boyce is serving as city manager. As council members look to fill the position permanently, Bussard said a thorough audit will be conducted to ensure there are no other issues with the city’s funds. He also said he has other changes in mind.

“I’m going to be personally working to change many of the policies. One is a nepotism policy that we don’t have on the book. obviously needs to be put on the book. Better financial controls,” Bussard said. “The hard, tedious policy stuff needs to be addressed and we’re going to.”

6 News reached out to Wanda Darrow for comment, but did not hear back from her.

Her attorney said at the meeting Darrow denies any wrongdoing as it relates to the issuing of the checks to her son and his friends.

6 News checked with MSP Detective First/Lt. Tom DeClercq, who is leading the investigation, to find out whether authorities are looking into Wanda as part of their investigation.

“As investigators continued to look into allegations of larceny as it relates to Eddie Darrow, detectives became aware of potential criminal wrongdoing by Wanda Darrow relative to her son, Eddie’s investigation,” DeClercq said in a statement.

He declined to comment any further citing a pending investigation.

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