Albion councilman speaks on growing concerns with the mayor, city council

ALBION, Mich. — Councilman Maurice Barnes said Sheryl Mitchell was well-liked in the community. She’d been the city manager for a few years and was effective in garnering financial  support to fund various city projects.

“She’s made Albion a metropolitan city,” said Barnes during an interview in front of the public library. “She’s able to work with everyone.”

In early October, she abruptly quit when she put in her letter of resignation. Barnes said he believed it was due to on-going issues with Mayor Garrett Brown’s leadership specifically micromanaging.

“When you give directives to the attorney or city clerk and you bypass the city manager, you’re working out of the city-management-type government,” said Barnes. “I’ve complained thats he’s been acting as a mayoral-type government which it’s not.”

The city’s charter states that the council must work together and make decision as a unit, not as an individual. Barnes felt the mayor, who’s facing stalking allegations and a petition recall, has not abided by the rules. Sometimes, it’s not just the mayor Barnes said.

“I’ve complained about the charter not being followed,” he said. “I’ve complained we’re outside the council city rules of procedure. I’ve complained that we’re outside the Open Meetings Act.”

Barnes has even gone on television to talk about what's been happening he said. He’s wanted to take his complaints to the attorney general and governor but he felt the issues could be resolved internally.

“He told me which measures I could take,” said Barnes about his meeting with an attorney. “However I didn’t want to do that. I felt maybe sitting at the table we can work it out.”

Barnes said that during Mitchell’s time at City Hall she got caught in the middle of a few controversial issues including the annexation of Albion schools and how an Albion College parking lot was completed and paid for. But he said there was no wrongdoing on her part.

“We have always networked with Albion College,” said Barnes. “A precedent had been set. There was nothing done wrong. Albion College did pay for those parking lots.”

The council is expected to meet again on November 6, days after the recall petition hearing is held on October 31 in Marshall. Until then Barnes said he is doing all he can to help Mitchell stay on board.

“I’m just asking them to treat her with dignity and respect and allow her to do her job,” said Barnes.

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