LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – An independent investigation into the leaders of East Lansing found that none of them violated the city charter.
But don’t expect the findings to be made public. In a statement released by City Manager Robert Belleman, the City Council said the report will remain subject to attorney-client privilege.
The statement did not say whether city leaders acted unethically or violated other rules or guidelines short of those spelled out in the charter – which serves as the city’s “constitution”.
The city hired an outside law firm to do an investigation into allegations contained in an anonymous complaint submitted to the city through Emily Kenney, interim human resources director at the city, and Interim City Clerk Marie Wicks in April.
The anonymous, complaint (below) alleged city council members had been interfering with the day-to-day operations of the city, in direct violation of the City Charter. It followed a series of resignations by many of the city’s appointed department heads.
City Council issued a one-page statement (below) on April 24, stating, in part, Council has received an anonymous letter that “makes accusations of alleged misbehavior by City employees and asserts that the City Charter may have been violated by members of the City Council. Unfortunately, because of the anonymity of the submitted complaint and lack of accompanying evidence, we are limited in our ability to come to a judgment on these accusations.”
On April 25, the City Council approved hiring Randall Secontine to conduct the investigation. They authorized spending as much as $30,000 for Secontine to conduct the investigation.
The report was presented to the City Council in a closed session during a special meeting held on Nov. 2. Interim East Lansing City Clerk Marie Wicks confirms notice for the meeting was posted “sometime on the evening of October 31st.” The meeting was not held in its usual location and took place just before an election in which two current members of the council – the mayor and mayor pro tem – decided not to run for re-election.
“The City Council wishes to advise the public that the independent review authorized by the City Council and conducted by Randall Secontine found that the assertions of charter violations contained within the anonymous complaint were without merit. The City Attorney concurred with this determination. The report is attorney-client privileged and will not be made public to protect the identities of those that cooperated with the independent review, to allow the City and its employees to move forward with providing services to its citizens.”