Clawson mayor returns to position after resignation

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published June 7, 2021

 Scripture

Scripture

CLAWSON — After Mayor Reese Scripture’s sudden resignation May 4, the Clawson City Council welcomed her back to her former position during the June 1 City Council meeting.

Scripture penned a May 21 letter to city officials rescinding her resignation “effective immediately,” and on May 25, the remaining four members of council unanimously authorized City Attorney Renis Nushaj to seek a legal opinion from former Magistrate Clement Waldmann on the matter by June 1.

Nushaj recused himself from the case.

“This situation presents a natural conflict for our office as we represent the entire Clawson City Council and an opinion on this set of facts would of necessity benefit one member of the body to the detriment of the other member,” Nushaj wrote in his letter to Waldmann. “As such our opinion on the matter would be legally impermissible.”

Waldmann returned his legal opinion May 30. It referenced case law in a similar case relating to the Bay City Commission in 1986, in which the attorney general opined, “the resignation of a city commissioner is not effective until it is accepted by the appropriate officer or body, either by formal resolution or by appointment of a successor to such office.”

While interim City Clerk Machele Kukuk swore in Mayor Pro Tem Paula Millan prior to the next City Council meeting on May 18, Waldmann maintained that council did not accept Scripture’s resignation.

Waldmann ultimately concluded it was his “opinion that Reese Scripture successfully rescinded her resignation and she is entitled to return to her unrelinquished seat for the balance of her term,” which expires in November.

In resigning, Scripture cited issues with how the city administration was handling the budget process, as well as a conflict of interest that arose from her full-time career as an Internal Revenue Service agent with a specific niche for auditing municipal pension programs.

However, on June 1, she said did not anticipate how strongly residents would react to her resignation.

“I rescinded that resignation because no matter how hard this is, no matter how frustrating, I ran to deliver ethical leadership and a serviceable responsibility, and it appears that also still matters to a lot of people,” she said. “I am sorry for the inconvenience this has caused, but what has passed cannot be changed, and all we can do is move ahead with all good intent.”

She added that the conflict of interest remains, but she believed there was a solution she could not yet vocalize without consulting the city attorney.

“Also thank you to everyone who applied for the open City Council seat,” Scripture said. “I sincerely hope that all of you would consider running for the three seats that are open in the upcoming election.”

Council member Susan Moffitt said she hoped that the City Council could move forward in the “spirit of cooperation and pleasantries and not continuing to cause disruption.” Addressing Scripture’s issues with transparency in the budget, she said, “We were given stuff to look at, and I looked at it.”

Mayor Pro Tem Paula Millan thanked those who supported her in her brief stint as mayor.

“Our different opinions and our different views are why we’re all here,” Millan said. “The problem comes in when there are attitudes or sneakiness or accusations that are unfounded.”

She encouraged all members of council to remember that they were elected to serve their community. She also addressed negativity on social media directed at the city.

“None of us know everything, nor should we,” Millan said. “Clawson is supposed to be the little city with a big heart, not the little city with lots of drama.”