Lathrup Village Terminates Contract with City Administrator Andy Potter

Lathrup Village Terminates Contract with City Administrator Andy Potter

(Crystal A. Proxmire, June 12, 2017)

Lathrup Village, MI – Residents and employees spilled out into the hallway at an over-capacity special meeting Monday night where Lathrup Village City Council voted unanimously to terminate the contract of City Administrator Andy Potter based on his evaluation by City Council.

Potter came to Lathrup Village in November 2016 after serving as DDA Director of the Village of Holly.

Many that spoke at the public meeting shared stories of inappropriate comments or actions.

Several residents referenced a meeting on June 8 where Potter said there was “pillow talk and collusion” between Councilperson Ferguson and the City Treasurer.

“This was a character assassination of a council member and a member of the administration, in a public forum with TV cameras,” said one resident.  “There are higher principles here.  I’ve lived in Lathrup Village since 1975. This is a warm, friendly community where we are respectful to each other.”

Several employees spoke about their experiences working with Potter.

Lathrup Village DDA Manager Sean Kammer said there had been a “very dramatic change in the professional culture in City Hall” since Potter came on board.  He described being called into the office three times to rank the attractiveness of female employees, and said he was stripped of his Assistant City Manager duties after standing up to Potter.

“I came [to Lathrup Village] one month before Andy came.  Staff and myself did not speak up out of fear,” said a recreation department employee.  “This is how it is every day.  It’s not a good place to work… This is the language we deal with every day.”  She gave an example, stating that Potter had come in to the office one day saying “I brought elk meat today.  Let’s see how many of you are pussies and won’t eat it.”

Ramona Clifford works with a nonprofit that comes to the Lathrup Village Farmers Market.  “For the past month since we opened a lot of the other vendors, we’ve noticed [things are different].  I don’t even live here and I’ve noticed it. What happened to the tranquility of Lathrup Village?”

Anthony DiMaggio of  DiMaggio Fine Art & Jewelry spoke up for Potter and used his public comment time to talk about a court case that had been filed by Councilperson Kelley Garrett against a former employer over a decade ago.  The case was dismissed, but in the files were reports by other co-workers who had disparaging things to say about Garrett.

“Ask only this question: Does Ms. Garret possess the maturity and self-control to be a Mayor Pro Tem?”  DiMaggio said.   He said that Garrett’s now ex-husband had invited a coworker to their home and hit her in the face with his penis, and that another coworker had been propositioned for a threesome.

Garret said she’d been threatened with blackmail, had her house egged, and that someone had sent an anonymous letter to her job saying she was a sexual deviant and a drug user.

“The fact is, that doesn’t bother me because that was 10 years ago.  I had an issue with my ex-husband and I divorced him,” she said.  “I’ve lived in Lathrup Village 10 years going on 11 years with no issues… Within the last ten years I’ve gotten my Masters Degree, gotten divorced, and contributed my life to talking to youth about mistakes and how they can come back and hurt you later… Am I embarrassed, yes.  But that was ten years ago.  I’ve been on the board six years.  I’m not going to change my vote no matter what is said.”

Potter’s attorney spoke to Council, stating that if Potter is terminated the City will be responsible to pay him about $80,000 because his contract requires 60 days notice plus 180 days of pay.  He said “due to investigation by Mr. Potter it is apparent that Council may be retaliating for the things he uncovered and will expose.” He did not say what those things might be.

He did not speak at the special meeting.  After the meeting, Potter said he felt “blindsided” by the council. Potter then went to his office with his attorney, giving no further comment.  He has been asked via text if there is more he would like to say.  If there is a response this article will be updated.

Lathrup Village Mayor Frank Brock explained that the City Treasurer would take over the role of Acting City Administrator until a replacement could be found.

“This is a sad day.  I’m not in any way pleased being in this position we’re in,” Mayor Brock said.  He assured residents that services will continue uninterrupted through the transition.

For more on the City of Lathrup Village visit http://www.lathrupvillage.org.

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