By TEREASA NIMS
Sunday Times Newspapers
ALLEN PARK — City Council members are hoping to keep the ousting of City Administrator Karen Folks amicable as they negotiate her severance package.
City officials voted unanimously Jan. 27 to oust Folks, but state officials warned their action could earn the city another emergency manager. Councilmen Bob Keenan and Harry Sisko and Mayor William Matakas met with state officials two weeks ago saying that going forward with Folks in place was hindering the city.
State officials then conducted two days of interviews with city department heads and agreed the city could move forth with severing Folks’ employment.
“We just have irreconcilable differences,” Keenan said Thursday night after meeting with Folks, her attorney, Matakas and Sisko.
Folks will receive six months’ pay after her departure, in accordance with an order by former Emergency Manager Joyce Parker.
“She gave (Folks) a sweetheart deal,” Keenan said.
Folks will stay on as city administrator until her replacement is found.
Folks was not available for comment Thursday.
The state is giving the city $25,000 toward the search for a new city administrator, Keenan said.
The ball started rolling when Sisko and Councilman Larry Templin met with Folks and Parker in mid-January asking for Folks’ resignation. When it didn’t come, the council voted to remove her from office.
Keenan said Folks was given two weeks to step down.
Many council members said they have been kept in the dark about issues, dates have reportedly been changed on documents and they are frustrated. Keenan said the council has lacked the ability to make educated decisions due to lack of information from the administrator’s office or even the respect to know of department head appointments, such as the deputy fire chief appointment that he found out about via social media.
Keenan said the council heard through “back channels” that Folks was in discussions with other cities about making changes that would have a long term effect on the city’s future, yet, the council wasn’t consulted.
City officials hope a new city administrator will help the city move in a positive direction.
(Tereasa Nims can be reached at [email protected].)