MASON, MI (WLNS) – Mason’s Board of Ethics voted on Tuesday night to dismiss a complaint linked to a city council member’s proposal of a “Malcolm X Day of Observance.”
The complaint claimed council member Rita Vogel called Mason “racist” and “white supremacist” because her resolution was voted down.
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During the February 6 council meeting, Vogel presented the resolution and said there was a need for larger minority representation.
“Gatekeeping representation by refusing to create space for people of color in Mason is white supremacy,” she said.
City documents indicate that on Feb. 14, Mason residents Vicki and Tom Whipple submitted the complaint.
A timeline created by board members showed the original complaint did not cite any existing ethics codes. After contacting the couple multiple times, board members said they did not get an amended complaint by their April 5 deadline.
On Tuesday, the board voted unanimously to dismiss the complaint “without merit.” Vicki Whipple said she still wanted answers.
“I don’t know where she’s getting the idea that we’re racist. I would like to get her opinion on that before I leave today,” she said during public comment.
But other city board members and the public criticized the complaint.
“Council member Vogel, quite frankly, exercising her right as protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution and regardless if someone likes it or not, this is not the appropriate forum if her words violated ethics,” said Seth Waxman, vice chair of Mason’s planning committee.
Vogel didn’t speak during the meeting but said in a statement that the vote was the “proper” decision.
The board made the proper decision tonight and I thank them for their service to the city. If residents are upset about what a council member says, or decisions the council makes the proper outlet for that is during public comment at our regular scheduled city council meetings or the ballot box. I will continue to fight for the underrepresented in the city of Mason.
The ethics board is for serious issues and it should not be weaponized.Rita Vogel, Mason city council member.