Group Will Continue to Push for City Manager’s Resignation

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WYOMING, Mich.- A group pushing for the resignation of Wyoming City Manager Curtis Holt, publicly asked for it at Monday’s city council meeting. Catherine Kooyers, a concerned citizen, said it all started with a sinking sidewalk she noticed about 3 years ago outside of the Gezon Parkway Fire Station. Year after year, a promise to fix it went unanswered, causing her to dig even deeper into Holt. Her curiosity was raised even more, when she went for a tour of the 36th Street Fire Station and was appalled at the condition of the men’s equipment.

Kooyers said she decided right then that she wanted to be an advocate for them and wants to point out that they did not bring on the whole resignation movement. However, Michigan Professional Fire Fighters Union got involved once Kooyers discovered that a federal S.A.F.E.R. Grant, that would have provided $1.5 million to help with improvements and possibly rehire firefighters laid off in 2005.

“Wyoming has too few fire fighters on duty, which puts their lives and the safety of the community at risk. Mr. Holt had an opportunity to remedy the situation, and he recklessly refused. He is not representing the best interests of the city, and we call for him to resign his position immediately.” a spokesperson for the union said.

After Kooyers made the first public comment, there was a mix of feelings, but mostly were very supportive of the city, Holt and their decision to do what they feel is best, financially for the city.

“Curtis has been the fourth city manager that I’ve had the opportunity to work for in my career and I find him of all of the city managers to be the most productive, most aggressive and conscientious city manager.” Paul McGuire said.

Holt walked away from the meeting feeling uplifted and confident.

“One thing I did hear is that I misuse money; again, the council makes all of the decisions on money we have an attorney to watch our charter.” Holt said.

He added that he feels it is inappropriate to say the decision to not go with the grant falls only on him.

“I’m pleased with the support. I’ll never call us perfect and do I think we have more work every day to be better? Absolutely.” He stated.

Kooyers said since it is apparent that Holt is not resigning, she said her group will regroup to plan the next step.

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3 comments

  • Dan BruinsSlot

    This story shows more than a little bias by every station I've seen report it. Mr. Holt is doing the job he was hired to do, keeping the city solvent in tough times while providing as many services as possible. It's his job to make the tough, informed choices and so far, he seems to be doing a decent job.
    Specifically, federal grants aren't free and always come with conditions. This one pays for two years wages (using your money) to hire six new firefighters while, requiring the city to continue that employment (still using your money) for a third year. That would be fine if, the city had the $500,000 to spend or, if they knew that six other firefighters would leave, offsetting the cost. If not, that's a half million layout the city doesn't have and termination of those new hires after three years. The city would be better off hiring one person at a time as finances allow instead of bowing to federal and union pressure.
    Of another note, a few years back the city was forced to cut back considerably. In addition to declining property tax revenues, another reason was a failed millage and millage renewal. The millage demand was the third by the firefighters in just a couple of years during which, one of their spokesmen went so far as to threaten the residents with delayed response times and watching their houses burn to the ground if the millage wasn't approved. This angered the residents so much that not only did the new millage fail but, so did the renewal which hadn't previously been at risk.
    Since that time, there have been no reports of lost homes due to short staff or funding. Probably, due to the responsible management of city resources by Mr. Holt and the city counsel.
    If, the fire department is worried about being able to respond, maybe, they should reconsider what runs they make. Specifically, why does a fire truck need to respond to every traffic accident or, medical call when, only a patrol car, ambulance or EMT would suffice? It's almost as if they're looking for work or, making unnecessary runs to inflate their numbers.
    The main problem here is that the firefighters union wants more firefighters, more benefits and less work for more pay. Their concerns have very little to do with the public welfare and very much to do with control.

    • A Wyoming Ctizen

      Well said Dan. One thing Ms. Towns needs to continue with was the Mayor in his scathing response to the equipment issue and his call for ideas and outside the box thinking so that the service being provided can continue. It is easy to sit back and say "take the money" when you aren't the one who has to turn around and lay them off a short time later.

      Monday morning quarterbacks always win the game but none of them have the courage to get off the bench. They need to be part of a group looking for a long term solution for revenue instead of looking to slap bandaids on while riding the revenue roller coaster in Michigan. We need to pay for what we feel we need and that will take a vote of the citizens.