By Jim Newell
The Lake Orion Village Council hired former village manager Darwin McClary an independent contractor to assist village Manager Joe Young with administrative duties.
The hiring came during a 10-minute special meeting at 6:30 p.m. June 24. No one from the public attended the meeting, which was held only online on Zoom during the first night of the Lake Orion Lions Club Jubilee.
The council held a scheduled regular meeting on June 28, four days after the special meeting.
Under the Open Meetings Act, the village must post a notice of a special meeting at least 18 hours before the meeting. Special meeting notices are usually posted on the village’s website and in view in a publicly accessible window at Village Hall. Because the village was still technically under a State of Emergency until July 1, the council did not meet in person.
While the village followed these
procedures, the village, however, is not required to send out notices of a special meeting.
The council voted 6-0 to hire McClary for “Municipal Consulting and Administrative Services,” according to the special meeting minutes. Councilmember Sarah Luchsinger was excused from the meeting.
McClary is President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MuniciPRO LLC, an “Independent consultant to municipal clients in the areas of organizational and departmental efficiency and effectiveness, budgeting and financial management, community and economic development, human resources policy development and review, and talent recruitment,” according to McClary’s own LinkedIn page.
Under the contract with Lake Orion, which will not last longer than one year (unless the council chooses to renew it), McClary will work not less than eight hours but not more than 20 hours a week providing “municipal management consulting services and administrative assistance” according to the
McClary will be paid $70 per hour for his services.
Council President Ken Van Portfliet said the contract is to assist Young for up to 20 hours per week on an on-call basis, according to the special meeting minutes.
Young told the council “there are a variety of projects and grants the he needs assistance in addition to planning and zoning issues, which need to be addressed in a timely manner,” according to the special meeting minutes.
McClary was Lake Orion village manager from July 2013 through February 2017, and was interim village manager April – July 2013.
He left Lake Orion to take a position as city manager of Ypsilanti, where he served from February 2017 through March 2019.
McClary resigned his position in Ypsilanti amid a controversial hiring of a new fire chief, according to a March 7, 2019 article from MLive.com.
“McClary, amid pressure from a majority of
City Council members, signed a voluntary resignation and separation agreement during a short-notice special meeting Thursday, March 7,” MLive reported.
The Ypsilanti City Council voted unanimously to accept the agreement.
McClary then became city manager and chief administrative officer for Albion, Michigan from September 2019 through August 2020.
The “Albion City Council voted unanimously to accept McClary’s resignation as laid out in a five-page separation agreement, which puts neither McClary nor the city at fault for the termination of his employment,” according to an Aug. 18, 2020 article by the Battle Creek Enquirer.
The agreement reportedly included a non-disparagement clause, in which both parties agreed not to say anything that would damage the other party’s reputation. “The non-disparagement clause includes any claims of wrongful discharge, breach of contract or alleged employment discrimination,” the Battle Creek Enquirer reported.
In his cover letter to the village, McClary wrote that he looked forward to working with the Village of Lake Orion again and added:
“I am pleased to offer my services as public sector management consultant to assist the Village Manager and Village Council with the administrative functions of the village in the nature, types, and extent requested by the village as outlined in the attached proposed contract for services. I understand that the Village Manager is in need of these services to assist him in relieving workload pressures.”