Murphy resigns as Scottville police chief. 

August 24, 2022

Matt Murphy

Murphy resigns as Scottville police chief. 

SCOTTVILLE — Matt Murphy submitted his letter of resignation as chief of police today to the Scottville City Commission. Murphy has been at odds with city leadership since a disciplinary incident took place with a police officer over the weekend of July 23 and 24. He had claimed that on July 25, City Manager Jimmy Newkirk fired him because Murphy had attempted to suspend the officer without having the proper authority to do so (read related story here). 

“Please accept this correspondence as my ninety (90) day notice to the City of Scottville of my resignation of my position as Chief of Police pursuant to the Employment Agreement, Paragraph 4. I value and appreciate my time as the Chief of Police and the opportunity to serve the City of Scottville and its citizens.” 

The clause in the contract Murphy was referring to states: “In the event the Chief of Police voluntarily resigns his position with the City before the expiration of this agreement, he shall give the City ninety (90) days notice in advance, unless the parties agree otherwise.” 

The contract does not mention severance in the case of the chief resigning. 

In an email to Mayor Marcy Spencer and City Manager Newkirk, Murphy said he is willing to talk about a shorter time frame “to help return City Hall to a better working environment. I am happy to help with this transition.” 

Since July 25, the city commission has experienced division and the incident has resulted in the resignation of City Attorney Carlos Alvarado. During the July 25 regular meeting of the commission, hours after the meeting between Newkirk and Murphy, Commissioner Nate Yeomans announced, during the commissioner comments and reports portion of the agenda, that he was disappointed that Murphy had been fired. The next day, the city released a press release stating that Murphy had not been fired. Newkirk said during that time he never spoke to Yeomans about the chief’s employment status. 

During the Aug. 8 meeting of the city commission, Commissioner Ryan Graham called Newkirk a “tyrant” and accused him of “blowing the matter under the rug.” During that same meeting, Yeomans handed out a letter written by Cheri Stibitz, a Mason County Central elementary teacher and a Ludington city councilor, admonishing Newkirk for his role in supposedly firing Murphy. Newkirk has said that he has never met Stibitz and has never spoken to her about the incident. 

During the Aug. 22 meeting of the commission, it was revealed that neither Yeomans nor Graham have never spoken to Newkirk about the incident, though the city manager is an employee of the city commission, as stated in the city’s charter. 


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