WEST OLIVE, Michigan — On Tuesday, the new Ottawa County Commission vacated the appointment of an administrative health officer they had sought to oust and replace, according to the county’s new attorney.
On Tuesday, February 28, by a 6-5 vote, the Ottawa County Commission amended a resolution passed by her predecessor in December appointing Adeline Hanbury as the leader of the Ottawa County Health Department.
That December 13 resolution, passed unanimously at the previous board meeting, appointed Hanbury to the position, subject to him passing a background check and having his eligibility confirmed by the state health department. . Hanbury fulfilled both criteria.
Tuesday’s revision added a third condition to that resolution. That is, Hambury’s appointment will be approved by the Ottawa County Commission.
Jack Jordan, the county’s new corporate adviser, said the previous board had never had a second vote to approve Hanbury’s appointment, and the conditions had never been met, making her appointment unsuccessful. It wasn’t done.
Jordan said that if Hanbury doesn’t meet any of those three conditions, “she’s not a health officer.”
Ottawa County Speaker Joe Moss, who is also the leader of the right-wing Ottawa Impact faction, which holds a majority on the board, said the amendment would be in line with a Dec. 13 oral motion to appoint Mr. Hambury, which cites conditions for approval. He said it was just to fix the discrepancy. and an accompanying written resolution that does not mention its terms.
But Ottawa County Commissioner Roger Bergman, one of the few incumbents on the new commission, characterized the revision as an attempt to twist the words of the previous commission and cancel Hanbury’s employment.
Michigan’s public health officers are not free employees and must be fired for good reason. Hanbury filed a lawsuit against a majority of her new board earlier this month, accusing them of illegally demoting her and planning to fire her without cause, obstructing her statutory duties. claimed to be.
In addition to damages and attorneys’ fees, Hanbury is asking the court to reinstate her as county health officer without a provisional designation and “for cause” if the board wants to fire her. We ask that you comply with the relevant regulations.
Related: Ottawa County chief health official sues commissioner over ‘political’ demotion, ‘imminent’ dismissal
The basis for the revision was an oral motion made by former Ottawa County Commissioner Phil Kuyers on December 13, which introduced a resolution to appoint Hambley.
Kuyers said Hambury’s appointment as health officer was subject to board approval, passing a background check and confirmation by the state health department, as recorded in the video and minutes.
However, the appointment resolution will only refer to background checks and state health department verification requirements.
“It hasn’t changed history,” Jordan said. “We’re not rewriting the motion. It’s just fixing the recording.”
In an unusual move by a former Ottawa County commissioner, Kuyers addressed the new board in public comment on Tuesday and voted unanimously on Dec. 13 to appoint Hanbury as administrative health officer. I said it was.
“Records stating that when I put forward the motion to appoint Adeline Hambury on December 13th, it was unanimous among all Commissioners and they did not intend to vote again to appoint her. “She’s installed once and that’s where she belongs.”
Kuyers was one of seven incumbent Republican Ottawa county commissioners ousted by Moss’ Ottawa Impact faction in last fall’s primary election. That new faction has made a number of controversial changes since coming to power on January 3rd.
Kuyers’ comments marked the first time an expelled member addressed the new board at a public meeting.
At the new board’s first meeting on Jan. 3, they appointed Nate Kelly, a Hudsonville resident who currently works as the health and safety manager for an HVAC services company, to replace Hanbury.
Jordan declined to comment on whether Hanbury was the county’s administrative health officer in light of Tuesday’s vote.
However, Hanbury was in the role on Jan. 3 and was transferred by the board to the role as interim health officer pending the state’s confirmation of Kelly’s eligibility, he said.
Ottawa County Administrator John Gibbs, who was appointed by the new board on January 3, declined to comment on the status of Kelly’s approval by the state.
Kelly was selected for consideration in a behind-the-scenes process without public input before the new commissioner was seated.
In addition to her experience as a health and safety manager in an HVAC company, Kelly completed two master’s degrees (one in public health and one in occupational and industrial health) from Columbia Southern University, a for-profit online-only institution. is obtained from .
Prior to her appointment, Kelly had publicly opposed several far-reaching policies to mitigate COVID-19, including mask mandates, social distancing and testing of asymptomatic people. He also recommends the use of ivermectin, the drug most commonly used to treat parasites in livestock, as his COVID-19 treatment.
Related: Anti-Masker could be Ottawa County’s new health officer. will the country forgive him?
Ottawa County Commissioner Jacob Bonema, a member of the Ottawa Impact and a member of the Ottawa Impact who broke with the group on several votes, said from Jordan that there was a disagreement between the verbal motion and the written resolution. He said he was told that it was Moss who brought the
Bonema said it would be “crossing the line” to amend the minutes or resolutions of previously held county commissions.
“When I think about what we are doing here, I know that tonight we have sincerely expressed the will of our former commissioners and I want to walk away in honor of them.” He said, “Just as I don’t want the next committee to misunderstand what I voted for, I don’t want to be seen as misleading the public about what was accomplished that night. “
Ottawa County Vice Chairman Sylvia Rhodea, co-founder of Ottawa Impact, said the revisions were about accuracy.
“I think it’s perfectly appropriate to have the actual words of the commissioner who passed the resolution reflected in the record, so I’m voting to approve this,” Rhodea said.
Kyle Terpstra, the incumbent Ottawa County Commissioner, called the revision “hurray” and voted against it. He later deferred commenting to his lawyers when asked what he believed the revision was intended to achieve.
“I think all of us here as commissioners understand why this came to us. I’m not going to talk about it, but I think it’s a pretty big Hail Mary.” Terpstra said, “I don’t think we’ll land.
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