Scottville city manager offers to resign amid revenue sharing investigation.

January 18, 2021

Courtney Magaluk

Scottville city manager offers to resign amid revenue sharing investigation.

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

SCOTTVILLE — After deliberating in closed session during a special meeting Monday evening, Jan. 18, the Scottville City Commission voted unanimously in regular session to respond to City Manager Courtney Magaluk’s offer to resign.

“Upon discussion and deliberation on the memorandum of legal opinion submitted by our city attorney regarding the city manager’s offer to resign her position, I make the motion to authorize the mayor, assisted by the acting city manager and the city attorney, to respond to the city manager’s offer within the terms deliberated and discussed at the closed session,” said Mayor Marcy Spencer. “Thus, the mayor is further authorized to commit the city to an acceptance of terms not to exceed any amount that the city manager would have received in case of being terminated by the city absent of a willful breach of her contract.”

The city manager’s terms were not revealed during the meeting.

Commissioners learned last month from Acting City Manager/Police Chief Matt Murphy that the city nearly missed the Michigan Department of Treasury’s filing deadline, which could have resulted in the loss of the city’s state revenue sharing of $47,000. 

Murphy reported to the commission that the city received a communication from the Michigan Department of Treasury Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving, informing the city manager that the state had not yet received its annual revenue sharing report, though an email had been sent to Magaluk Nov. 6. Since Nov. 30 Magaluk was on medical leave.

“During the time between the last meeting and today, the employee subject to the investigation requested the report to be reviewed in open session,” said City Attorney Carlos Alvarado. “In the same request, the employee authorized the disclosure of her name, City Manager Courtney Magaluk. And also during the week, I received an offer from the city manager to resign her position through a mutual separation agreement, and based on that notice, I prepared a memorandum of legal opinion which I submitted to the mayor and the mayor presented it to the commission in closed session. And I reported on that memorandum in closed session segment today. In lieu of this turn of events, I would recommend to the commission that this item be tabled until a resolution be made to the offer to resign presented by the city manager.”

In response to Alvarado’s advice, the commission voted unanimously to table an old business item on the agenda “revenue sharing report committee update” until the Feb. 1, 2021 regular meeting.

During the Dec. 4 meeting, the city commission called for the mayor, acting city manager, and city attorney to investigate the matter.

Earlier this month, the investigation was completed and presented to Magaluk. Magaluk sent a response to City Attorney Carlos Alvarado and requested a closed session meeting with the commission. Magaluk’s attorney, Brad Glazier of Grand Rapids, then rescinded Magaluk’s request to discuss the matter in closed session. Under the Michigan Open Meetings Act, a governmental body can only discuss personnel matters in closed session if the personnel in question requests a closed session. Otherwise the matter must be discussed in an open meeting. However, a governmental body may also meet in closed session to consult with its attorney on a legal matter. 

Murphy said he and City Treasurer Kathy Shafer worked several dozen hours, including on Thanksgiving, and over that following weekend, to complete the report and meet the deadline, which was the following week. 

Alvarado said during the commission’s Dec. 21 meeting that much of the investigation had been turned over to Scottville Police Detective Aaron Saylor who found several important “incidents that have some unanswered questions.” 

Mason County Press has requested, through the Michigan Freedom of Information Act, the results of the investigation. It has not yet received a response from Acting City Manager Murphy.

Magaluk was scheduled to resume working on a part-time basis, with much of her work being based out of her home. The commission rescinded its authorization, Jan. 4, for Magaluk to work remotely at a reduced number of hours over the two-week pay period Jan. 3-16.

Magaluk asked the commission earlier this month to consider voting against rescinding authorization for her to work from home. However, the motion was approved unanimously.

Magaluk was hired July 20, 2019 following the resignation of long-time city manager Amy Williams. Police Chief Matt Murphy has been serving as acting city manager during Magaluk’s leave.

Monday’s meetings were held via Zoom video conferencing due to COVID-19. 

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