Holly Police Chief Resigns
(Crystal A. Proxmire, Aug. 27, 2019)
Holly, MI – So many residents came to the special meeting Tuesday evening, that proceedings had to be moved from the council chambers to the commons of the Karl Richter Community Center. The Village of Holly Council had one task to consider, which was whether or not to accept the resignation of and consent agreement with Police Chief Mike Story.
Story had served in the Pontiac Police Department from 1976-2005 before joining the Village of Holly Police Dept. in 2006. In 2012 he took over as Chief.
The reason behind Story’s resignation is not publicly known.
Rumors spread quickly through social media of potential reasons, but neither village administration nor Story himself could divulge any details.
Village Manager Jerry Walker was unable to say much because matters related to employment are kept confidential by law. He did confirm that there had not been anything illegal taking place.
Following the meeting, Walker explained that Story would be working with the Village to help create a succession plan. An Acting Chief will take the reins while the Village goes through the process of hiring a new Chief.
The consent agreement had been worked out between the attorneys, and it was discussed by Council in a closed session.
Several attendees questioned the Village’s motives in having the discussion in closed session; however, State Law allows for closed session when discussing certain specific legal matters. In this case the conversation was about an employee’s performance, and discussing a legal settlement, both of which are included in the Open Meetings Act as permissible. With regard to employee matters, it must be in closed session unless the employee requests otherwise.
The vote was taken in public session, with Councilperson Bob Allsop giving the only “no” vote. The consent agreement states that neither the Village (including the Council), nor the Chief, can speak about the circumstances leading to his resignation.
A few of the residents spoke, while most in the room clapped in support. Sandra Kleven reminded the Council of “the hierarchy,” that the Village Manager reports to the Council, and the Council reports to the people.
Kim Abel also stood up for the Chief. “It’s clear that the community wants to keep Officer Story in place,” she said. “I know there’s things that are none of our business, but I hope you recognize that.”
Joe Hutchins is a former Councilmember who served from 92-96. “We went through a lot of managers and a lot of police chiefs,” he said. He expressed hope that the Village would find stability and not go through that again.
The vote was clearly hard for Council members, as well as those in the audience, including Story. As members of the public filed out to the hallway, they made remarks as they passed the administration. Some said they’d be starting recall petitions. Others said insulting names. Many just gave hugs and pats on the back to the Chief.
Walker said that residents need not worry about continuity of service. When Story’s employment ends, an Acting Chief will take the helm. The Village also has no intention of outsourcing police services, he said.
This story will be updated if more information becomes available.