By TEREASA NIMS
Sunday Times Newspapers
ALLEN PARK – City officials voted unanimously Tuesday to oust City Administrator Karen Folks, yet state officials warned the deed could earn the city another emergency manager.
Once an advocate for Folks, Councilman Harry Sisko along with Councilman Larry Templin met with Folks and former Emergency Manager Joyce Parker two weeks ago asking for Folks’ resignation. When it didn’t come, the council voted Tuesday to remove her from office.
“She was given two weeks to back out gracefully,” Councilman Bob Keenan said.
Councilors agreed it has taken a long time. They said they have been kept in the dark about issues, dates have reportedly been changed on documents, and they are frustrated.
The state said decisions by a city manager cannot be revised for one year after the termination of receivership. The city still is in receivership.
The state also said continued action could result in another emergency manager being appointed.
“Please be advised that your attempted action will be treated by this department as null and void,” Deputy State Treasurer Wayne Workman wrote in a letter dated Jan. 28. “Karen Folks remains City Administrator.”
The letter said the state is very worried about the ramifications of the “attempted action” and lack of adherence by city officials to the EM’s orders. Workman further stated that not adhering to the orders could result in another EM appointment.
“The state’s attached response to this 7-0 vote was not to ask for information from the elected officials as to why the relationship has broken down or what documentation we had to prove cause for termination, but to threaten to bring in another EM,” Keenan said. “This to me is unconscionable. In an effort to show that (Tuesday’s action) to terminate Karen Folks was not a knee jerk reaction, I am making public the information I sent Senator Virgil Smith on Dec. 8 … and his letter asking for the (attorney general’s) opinion.
“This mayor and council has not been afforded opportunity to make educated decisions because of the lack of information from the administrator’s office or even the respect to know of department head appointments as was the recent case with the deputy fire chief appointment that this council member found out about on social media.”
Keenan said the council has heard through “back channels” that Folks is in discussion with other cities to make changes that will have a long term effect on the city’s future and the council has not been consulted.
“If the state believes this is the correct way to conduct city business, I am deeply concerned for our state,” Keenan said.
(Tereasa Nims can be reached at [email protected].)