Scottville commission accepts city manager’s resignation following revenue sharing filing mishap.

February 1, 2021

Courtney Magaluk

Scottville commission accepts city manager’s resignation following revenue sharing filing mishap.

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

SCOTTVILLE — After deliberating in closed session during a regular meeting Monday evening, Feb. 1, the Scottville City Commission voted unanimously to accept City Manager Courtney Magaluk’s resignation in exchange for a $15,000 lump sum severance payment. Magaluk’s resignation was accepted retroactively by the commission to Jan. 18 when she submitted it. 

The commission also voted unanimously to extend the appointment of Police Chief Matt Murphy as acting city manager until the commission finds a new city manager. Murphy will be compensated for his added responsibilities until a search has been completed for a new city manager.

“Upon the discussion in closed in session and the legal opinion provided by the city attorney (Carlos Alvarado) regarding the city manager’s mutual separation agreement, I make the motion to ratify the negotiations conducted by the mayor, assisted by the acting city manager and the city attorney which culminated the acceptance by Mrs. Magaluk of a mutual separation agreement,” stated Mayor Marcy Spencer. “This agreement satisfactorily meets the perimeters set by the commission at its Jan. 18 meeting, reducing the liability of the city to half the exposed risk. Also through this motion, the commission authorizes the mayor to execute the mutual separation agreement. The mutual separation agreement accepts the resignation of the city manager effective Jan. 18, 2021 in exchange for severance pay of a lump sum of $15,000.”

“Through a resolution approved by the commission on Oct. 19, 2020, the commission appointed Matt Murphy as acting city manager during City Manager Magaluk’s FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) leave,” stated Mayor Spencer. “Since the city manager and the city have agreed on a mutual separation, the commission needs to extend the appointment of Chief Murphy as acting city manager for the time required to complete a city manager search. I have spoken with Chief Murphy, and he is prepared to continue serving the dual role of chief of police and acting city manager on a temporary basis. So, I would like to make a motion to extend the appointment of Chief Murphy to serve at the discretion of the commission under the understanding that his added responsibilities would be compensated accordingly as determined at the committee level.”

Magaluk offered to resign, Jan. 18, and the commission voted to authorize Spencer, assisted by Murphy and Alvarado, to respond to her Magaluk’s offer within the terms deliberated and discussed at the Jan. 18 closed session. 

“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,” states the motion approved Jan. 18.

Commissioners learned in December from 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. The city manager is responsible for filing the revenue sharing reports. 

Murphy reported to the commission that Magaluk 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 her on Nov. 6. Since Nov. 30 Magaluk was on medical leave but she had taken Nov. 25 off.

During the Dec. 4 meeting, the city commission called for the mayor, acting city manager, and city attorney to investigate the 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 for the city’s state revenue sharing , 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.” 

Earlier in January, the investigation was completed and presented to Magaluk. Magaluk sent a response to City Attorney 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. 

Mason County Press requested, through the Michigan Freedom of Information Act, the results of the investigation. Once it is received, MCP will post the full report.

Magaluk was hired July 20, 2019 following the resignation of long-time city manager Amy Williams. Magaluk, a native and resident of Shelby, did not have previous city manager experience but had worked as a senior project manager for the City of Grand Rapids and a senior planner/chief planner for the City of Sarasota, Fla.

Mayor Spencer praised the city’s staff and commission. “We all desire to a lot of great things for the city.”

Monday’s meeting was held via Zoom video conferencing due to COVID-19. 

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