A letter to the citizens of Scottville

November 14, 2022

A letter to the citizens of Scottville

James Newkirk, City Manager

City of Scottville

105 N. Main St. 

Scottville, MI 49454

Nov. 10, 2022

To the Citizens of the City of Scottville: 

I would like to thank you for electing me twice to represent you on the Scottville City Commission. I have spent the majority of my life in this town and have dedicated much of that life being a strong advocate for Scottville. My wife and I own two historical homes in this town along with three businesses. Our children attend Mason County Central Schools. Serving on the commission the last four years has been an honor. 

With that said, it is with a heavy heart that I have made the decision to not serve a second term. This decision is directly related to the actions and scheming the last four months of commissioners Ryan Graham, Nathan Yeomans and Eric Thue. It is also directly related to the recent election of Kelli Pettit and the actions of former police chief Matt Murphy, whom she has had a relationship with. 

Over the last four years I have worked tirelessly, alongside now former mayors Marcy Spencer and Bruce Krieger, and several other devoted commissioners who have come and gone, to move our city in a positive direction. 

We hired a dedicated city manager, Jim Newkirk, who has been able to identify multiple ways the city was losing money and has been able to recoup many of those funds. We re-focused our police department to concentrate on community policing, including creating the school resources officer and reinstating the full time, patrolling chief position. We made great progress in reducing blight and updating ordinances. We worked with new downtown business investors. We established a downtown social district. We took action to create our own Brownfield Development Authority. We hired an attorney who went above and beyond to serve our city’s needs (who then left because of the actions of the three above-mentioned commissioners and the former police chief). We re-established the full time treasurer position. We improved the quality of our Department of Public Works. We increased revenues and cut expenses at Riverside Park and MacPhail Field. We made progress toward updating an outdated charter. We built better relationships with our citizens, our neighboring communities, organizations, our schools and businesses.

We brought back pride to our city.

Scottville was moving forward — until this summer, when three commissioners decided to take the side of their buddy rather than do what was right for the citizens who elected them. None of those three commissioners to this day have ever spoken to the city manager about the events that unfolded, causing the police chief to resign. Now, all that hard work is in jeopardy. These actions have already caused major investors to reconsider buying buildings and starting businesses in Scottville. They further have impacted people’s decisions to relocate into the city.  Above all, the actions of those three commissioners have completely reversed all the positive momentum we have tirelessly worked on the past several years.

While I don’t like to rely on rumors, I have been approached by several citizens who have been told about the plans this trio has for our city. You’re in for a real treat, Citizens of Scottville. These commissioners, Graham, Yeomans and Pettit (Thue was defeated in the election) plan on drastically changing the city hall staff. They have already told people that they plan on firing City Manager Jimmy Newkirk. This move will cost the taxpayers thousands of dollars as Mr. Newkirk is under a three year contract and has also built many great relationships, as mentioned above. Additionally, they have also stated that they plan on firing the city treasurer and also re-hiring the recent former police chief. All of the above will mean several lawsuits heading your way, taxpayers!

I’ve also been told, in response to these rumors, that we have city employees that are already looking for new jobs, meaning it’s likely you’ll see a major decrease in services in the very near future (think unplowed streets, increased crime, etc.). 

These rumors have already caused grave concern for an investment group that has purchased several downtown buildings. Five months ago downtown Scottville was on a path to being revitalized. Now, it is very likely that this town’s business community is destined to fail.  

This is a warning. The leadership of Ryan Graham, Nathan Yeomans and Kelli Pettit will destroy Scottville. I would suggest the recall petitions start now. 

As for me, I will now devote more time to my family and my business. I hope the citizens of this city realize that it is time that they get involved in their city to prevent this level of incompetency from rising any higher than it has already. 


Rob Alway

Former Commissioner