AUGUSTA, Mich. — The recipient of a vulgar letter sent by the Augusta village clerk demanded at a village board meeting Monday night that the clerk be immediately terminated from her position.
Kevin Barthel and his longtime girlfriend Annette Tolis were sent a letter from the Village of Augusta in April that was addressed to “Annette Tolis and the a*****e who lives here too.”
Augusta Chief of Police and Village Manager Jeff Heppler told FOX 17 that Village Clerk Julie Glenn admitted she sent the letter. She has since been suspended from her post for at least two weeks without pay, but specifics beyond that were not made clear.
At the meeting, Barthel read a prepared statement:
“On April 8th 2017, Augusta clerk and office manager Julie Glenn chose the Village of Augusta to represent her feelings towards a village resident. She made the decision to put a vulgar and offensive message in the address window of our water bill. This was done on village time, using village letterhead, and the village computer. She also used the United States Postal Service as a vessel to send this letter. Village manager and chief of police Jeff Heppler made the decision to conduct his own investigation without the use of a neutral outside source. His findings were that she in fact was guilty of the accusations that were made. Chief Heppler also found that Julie Glenn had repeatedly lied while being questioned by Chief Heppler. It was also found that she lad lied about covering up her wrong doings using the village computer, all of which are chargeable offenses. Office clerk and office manager Julie Glenn’s constant tardiness, lack of enthusiasm for her job, lack of respect for the Village residents, lack of knowledge for performing her duties, poorly made decisions, and all-around rudeness to the people that she serves make the choice quite obvious that she cannot be trusted holding any position within the Village of Augusta. Her trust has been severed with many village residents. And any other employer would terminate her immediately. A ten-day suspension is absurd, and just another smack in the face to the people of the village, who she is supposed to be working for. I believe she should be terminated from her position immediately.”
Chief Heppler says six others at the meeting registered complaints about Glenn. He says the board has heard the complaints and appropriate disciplinary action was taken. He also says they have received numerous messages from others in the community urging the board to “not go overboard” with handing out punishment.
Heppler defended his department’s handling the investigation, telling FOX 17 that it is not necessary for a third party to do the investigating, because the village is admitting fault. Heppler added that since appropriate action was already being taken, a third party investigation would be a waste of time.
In response to Barthel’s claim that Glenn had lied to authorities during the investigation, Heppler says he’s unsure about whether or not that’s true and said at any rate Glenn admitted she had sent the letter.
Heppler says inappropriate behavior that was exhibited with the letter will not be tolerated and is unacceptable.
Due to staffing issues, Heppler said he will fill in as the interim clerk while Glenn is absent from her post. He advised the village there may be days when the clerk’s office is closed due to his also having to act as police chief and village manager.
An apology letter from Glenn was hand-delivered to Barthel and Tolis by Heppler last week. In it, Glenn wrote that the inappropriate comment on the envelope was “highly unprofessional” and assured them it would never happen again.
The couple says the inappropriate letter stems from a note they left for Glenn after they tried to pay their water bill in person. They claim every time they go to the office, it’s always closed because the clerk is never there.
Barthel says he’s prepared to circulate a petition around the village if Glenn is not soon fired.