ST JOHNS, Mich. (WLNS) –Previously, former St. Johns Mayor Roberta Cocco had written inflammatory statements in a social media post and on a website.
In the posts, she criticized the local government saying she would often face hostility.
She resigned in April after only six months in office. St. Johns says that all claims being made by the former mayor are false.
The city says the allegations have done nothing but spread misinformation causing some people to lose faith in their local government
“It really needs to stop its getting to be a difficult workplace when you have this contention and people spreading lies and miss truths about you time and time again,” said Vice Mayor Scott Dzurka.
Dzurka says he was concerned about comments being made online by former mayor Roberta Cocco.
On her website, she says that the treasurer, acting as interim city manager, should be removed from office for using profane language during an April meeting. But the city says they reviewed the tape and that never happened.
“It’s unfortunate I had to bring in legal counsel to review the tape as well. They have heard and agreed with our assessment so we had a third-party review,” said Dzurka.
He also disputes Cocco’s claim that the treasurer also gave herself a 5% raise.
“Our interim city manager did not have anything to do with her own raise. That was something that was approved and I might add approved by Ms. Cocco while she served on the personnel committee,” said Dzurka.
Many of the allegations online target the Wilson Center. On her website, Cocco says the city is paying hundreds of thousands of dollars on a section of a building that originally cost developers only 50,000. Dzurka says the city is just now receiving construction documents and no purchase price has been set.
“We haven’t even made the decision yet whether or not we are finalizing the agreement. We have to negotiate condominium documents so it’s a step-by-step process,” said Dzurka.
Dzurka says he believes the former mayor made these allegations because she didn’t get her way and doesn’t understand change comes with time
“I believe Ms. Cocco thought she could institute change a whole lot quicker but she failed to realize we need to work with all of our commissioners there are five of us out there,” said Dzurka.
Cocco provided the following response to the criticism:
I never participated in an official vote around the treasurer’s raise. Claiming I approved something illustrates a lack of transparency around that process. Invalidating a community members documented complaint around the profane and obscene language, used by the city interim manager, without speaking to the Community member – demonstrates the current leadership’s lack of interest in taking responsibility or building trust. I am disappointed that they have chosen to discount or discredit our community’s voice and stand by my comments around the Wilson Center, our taxpayers deserve better.Former Mayor Roberta Cocco.