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Special village meeting questioned by councilmember

February 09, 2011 - A special village meeting on Feb. 4 has sparked the ire of at least one council member.

Long time councilman Pete Morey said he was never notified in writing of a special meeting called by Council President Patricia Wartella to hire a new consulting firm needed for an independent study of the village.

In fact, Morey and fellow councilman Rick Horton were both absent when Wartella, along with Councilmembers Doug McAbee and Phil Jackson, voted 3-0 to hire Plante & Moran to replace Municipal Counsulting Services. MCS was hired by the council on Jan.10 to perform an organizational and operational review of the village government. Mark Nottley, principal consultant, had provided an overview of the project, which was set to begin on Jan. 31 and be completed by April 11 at a cost of $11,700.

However, prior to starting the study, Nottley contacted Village Council President Patricia Wartella and withdrew the offer.

Messages were left with Nottley, who, according to his voice mail, is on vaction until Feb. 18. He did not return calls as of press time Thursday.

"I was flabbergasted," said Wartella. "They declined and pulled the bid because he (Nottley) was overextended. So, Jackson (village councilman) collected more bids for the independent study. At that point, Plante & Moran provided a counter proposal to complete the job for $12-$15,000, by the end of March. It was a window of opportunity to get this study going and we did not want to wait until the Feb. 14 (council) meeting to make this decision."

Notice of the special meeting was posted at the village office and the Goodrich Library, she said. However, she did not say if Morey or Horton was called.

"I was never called nor did I speak with anyone regarding that meeting," said Morey. "I was in the office at the time she (Wartella) came in, but by law I should have six hours written notice."

The meeting lasted about 10 minutes, she said.

"Funding for the project will come out of the village general fund," she added. "We'll have to make a line item appropriation for the money. But, keep in mind that the savings from the study will pay for itself. I'm here for the people, the residents of Goodrich. We will follow the independent study when it's concluded."

Christine Andrysiak, consulting manager for Plante & Moran, has worked with municipalities like Goodrich for more than 12 years.

"We will review the operation of the village, including all staff, review job descriptions, job duties and a review of service sharing opportunities—with other townships and the road commission. We will review for efficiency and cost savings in addition to developing a report based on the review."

Andrysiak said the report should be completed by the end of March.

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