Disorder in the house

City attorney George Saylor briefs those in attendance on the background and complaints against L.B. Bacon. (Eric Sagonowsky/News Advocate)

Housing Commission asks council to remove member

MANISTEE — During a special meeting Wednesday night, Manistee Housing Commission (MHC) officials met with members of the Manistee City Council to discuss the potential removal of commissioner L.B. Bacon.

The complaints stemmed from several instances in which Commissioner Bacon allegedly bypassed traditional chains of communication to contact the employees of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), while also accusing MHC members of wrongdoing.

“The most alarming thing that happened is (listed) in the packet,” said MHC executive director Clinton McKinven-Copus, referring to a 17-page packet of grievances against Bacon, “which is an e-mail from the HUD field office stating that there is failure of communication between the commissioners, and something needs to be done about that.”

In late 2009, HUD declared MHC a “troubled agency,” and the packet alleges that Bacon’s activities “hamper the work of the Housing Commission in addressing corrective actions identified by HUD.”

Bacon initially held back his accusations against other commissioners, saying things like “how deep do you want to get into the woods,” but after some prying from City Manager Mitch Deisch, he opened up.

Bacon first talked about an instance in which the housing commission failed to get at least three bids on a mowing contract worth around $10,000. Then, he discussed instances in which the commission did not follow correct protocol regarding pay raises, and lastly he talked about possible improper travel expenses.

“There are many unanswered questions,” he said.

McKinven-Copus offered explanations for the accusations, but several council members urged housing commission members to perform their duties more diligently in the future.

“What we need is a commission that can work well together,” said Mayor Colleen Kenny. “There will always be problems that you are going to have to deal with and work through. Sometimes you may not have all the answers, or the answers may not come as quickly as you wanted, or as in depth as you wanted, but the commissioners really need to be able to work well together and follow the guidelines.”

Nothing was acted on at the Wednesday meeting, but there was an understanding that Bacon should serve for three more months to see where the commissioner relations go. Council can either keep commissioner Bacon or remove him at next Tuesday’s meeting.

 

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Posted by Eric Sagonowsky

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