Source: Sherman Publications

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Judge rules for McAbee

by David Fleet

March 30, 2011

A circuit court judge has ruled former Goodrich village councilman David Lucik did not show damages when newly elected councilman Doug McAbee failed to sign the oath of office document within 10 days of the date he was notified of his election to office.

Judge Geoffrey Neithercut, of the Seventh Judicial Circuit Court, heard the case on March 28 and 30 following a challenge on a procedural issue regarding the election of McAbee specified by the Charter of Goodrich.

Under the direction of Council President Patricia Wartella —McAbee signed the oath on Dec. 13 without the majority vote of the council needed for an time extension. McAbee has continued to serve on the council.

Lucik was seeking injunctive relief that requires a party to do, or to refrain from doing, certain acts. In this case, McAbee as a councilman. The judge also determined the village charter had been updated in 2005 and the time to sign the charter was expanded from 10 to 30 days.

"The judge said I did not violate the Goodrich Village Charter and my standing as a village council member stands," said McAbee. "Time would have been better spent balancing the village budget rather than in court."

Former Councilman David Lucik appealed the dispute to Genesee County Clerk Michael Carr in January. Last month, Lucik was contacted by the Genesee County clerk regarding the issue and requested a legal opinion. Carr requested a summary of the issue from Lucik and referred the matter to the corporation counsel prior to heading to circuit court.

"Well, we can't win them all," said Lucik after the decision. "I was not damaged by McAbee. I also believe Neithercut did not want to open a 'Pandora's Box,' regarding all the votes for McAbee that would not count. The judge questioned all the decisions Doug (McAbee) made since he took office in November and took a very conservative outlook."

Both McAbee and Lucik were represented by their own attorneys.