A Death In The Council

By: Emily Guiles

The recent Muskegon Heights council meeting was somewhat forlorn, as the council members remembered their recently deceased friend and colleague, Councilman McDonald.

McDonald was elected to the council in 2013 and his time on council was not set to expire until 2017. McDonald had been battling illness for some time, but still devoted much of his energy to the council and its endeavors.

During the city council meeting Mayor Darrell Paige acknowledged council man McDonald and held a silent prayer for him and his family.

Concern was drawn from the audience regarding who was going to fill McDonald’s spot on the council. Paige stated that there are strict procedures in place to determine how to deal with a situation such as this. Paige also commented that he was actually elected to City Council through the passing of another Council member, and at this time the Council hasn’t had the time to properly fill McDonald’s spot on the Council.

Mayor Paige also addressed the Council and audience members to thank everyone in the community and to let them know that he appreciates everyone in the community and everyone that he has worked with in his duration as the Mayor of Muskegon Heights.

Council woman Patrice Johnson also had something to say to the audience and Council members, Johnson stated that this meeting would be her final full day as a councilwoman, and although she enjoyed her time here she has other matters to attend to, and hopes that she can come back in the future.

The City Attorney Williams was also ill at that time and was replaced in this meeting by, Theodore Williams Jr as City Attorney.

Audience member Walter Watt came to the council and commented about the election of a new City Manager and the process that the council was going about it.

Watt said, referring to the candidates for city Manager, “Even if he was the perfect candidate… is it the right time?”

Watt was concerned about the new positions and faces that will be filtering in with the new elections and didn’t feel that it was the right time to install a new City Manager.

Mayor Paige would like to see a new City Manager instated before his time as Mayor is up on Nov 3rd.

Watts disagreed with this and commented that the new staff and Mayor that are being elected and hired in should be the ones to choose the new City Manager, instead of somebody who is going to be leaving.

To this Mayor Paige commented that negotiation is key in a situation like this one, and the council has been negotiating about instating a new City Manager and nothing is as concrete as it seems.

The City Manager is appointed by the Mayor and the City Council. City Managers serve as the chief administrative officer. On September 25th 2015 the Muskegon Heights council quizzed prospective City Manager candidates, and are still hopeful to bring someone in.