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Village administrator ousted

Wartella:'(Sidge) does not recognize the majority of the council since the election'

February 16, 2011 - Goodrich- By a 3-2 vote at a special meeting Friday Feb. 11, the village council approved a motion to request the resignation of village administrator Jakki Sidge.

In addition, the council voted to request Sidge return keys to any and all locked doors, cabinets in the village of Goodrich administrative building, DPW garage, DPW vehicles and DPW offices. Sidge was also requested to make her computer available to copy the hard drive and ordered to not delete any e-mails.

Councilmembers Phil Jackson and Doug McAbee and President Patricia Wartella voted yes. Councilmembers Pete Morey and Rick Horton voted no. In the absence of village attorney Jack Belzer, attorney Jim Hammon attended the meeting, but did not comment.

"We just spent $3,000 to interview Sidge with the village study for no good reason," said Horton. "Who's going to run the village on a day-to-day basis?"

Sidge would not comment after the decision on Friday.

"The decision is because (Sidge) does not recognize the majority of the council since the election (in November)," said Wartella prior to the vote.

About 50 people jammed the village municipal building at 10 a.m. for the meeting. A deputy representing Atlas Township from the Genesee County Sheriff Department was also in attendance. Many supporters of Sidge spoke up in her defense, causing several pauses to allow for applause.

Sidge has served as the village administrator for about the last 15 years.

At Monday's regular village meeting, Sidge supplied a letter of resignation to the village council.

Terms of the deal were discussed during the meeting after she denied a request by Wartella to go into closed session.

Flint area attorney Allen Robb, who attended the Feb. 14 village council meeting for village attorney Jack Belzer, questioned Sidge regarding the amount of money she earned per week. She wouldn't disclose her pay rate, but did say it has been the same since 2007.

Highlights of the termination package include: Four months severance pay, five weeks vacation, two months of health coverage through COBRA and only providing time of employment and job descriptions of her time at the village for employment inquiries. The hard drive from Sidge's computer was handed over to David McDonald, a retired Genesee County Sheriff Deputy and current village code enforcement officer.

The council voted 4-1 to accept the deal. Wartella, McAbee, Jackson and Horton voted yes. Morey voted no.

"This is a great injustice to the Village of Goodrich," said Morey. "It's obvious that two on this council have no idea what a budget is. The next time we have a meeting it needs to happen at a church. It's bullcrap— many in this village are going to find this decision is going to hit their pocketbooks."

Wartella did not comment and did not say if a replacement had been considered.

Sidge has until Feb. 24 to vacate the office. If she does not comply, the village attorney will send a notice to leave in 30 days.

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