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      Open Meetings Act violation ruling against City of Negaunee

      The Negaunee City Council has been found guilty of violating the open meetings act. The case stems back to January 9, 2014.

      During a city council meeting, Kim Klein was escorted out of the meeting by police. Klein was criticizing the City Manager's conduct, as well as the full council for not investigating his background prior to hiring.

      In her ruling, Honorable Jennifer Mazzuchi found that Klein's comments were relevant to a current controversy involving City Manager Jeffery Thornton and Treasurer Lisa Peterson. According to the minutes of a special meeting held on November 26, 2013 Thornton reported that he addressed some performance issues with Peterson, and placed her on suspension because of her demeanor. Several community members spoke out in support of Peterson at that meeting. The January meeting saw a return of support for Peterson from several citizens, including the incident which led to Klein's removal.

      As part of the recent ruling, the judge awarded costs and attorney's fees to Klein. However an injunction was not ordered. Honorable Mazzuchi did not feel there was enough evidence of violations of the Open Meetings Act to warrant such a move.