Clawson clerk resigns, city to seek new clerk, financial director

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published February 10, 2021

 On Jan. 19, the Clawson City Council accepted the resignation of recently hired Clerk Lynn Henry, of Swartz Creek.

On Jan. 19, the Clawson City Council accepted the resignation of recently hired Clerk Lynn Henry, of Swartz Creek.

File photo by Sarah Wojcik

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CLAWSON — On Jan. 19, the Clawson City Council accepted the resignation of recently hired Clerk Lynn Henry, of Swartz Creek, and authorized interim City Attorney Renis Nushaj to negotiate a separation agreement between her and the city.

According to city officials, Henry was approached by her former employer and accepted the former employer’s job opportunity, which is also closer to her home. Mayor Reese Scripture said Henry’s decision to leave was compounded by “the way the (Jan. 5) meeting went.”

During the Jan. 5 meeting, Councilman Lou Samson requested the removal of the minutes, taken by Henry, from the consent agenda because “they’re pretty sparse — they’re going in the wrong direction.” He said he wanted more conversation and details from the meeting instead of a standard record of motions and vote tallies.

“It’s not your fault,” he told Henry. “You’re working with us for the first time.”

Henry defended her minute-taking method, saying she worked with now interim City Clerk Machele Kukuk to record what was required of her and that including discussions could increase the chance of litigation against the city.

“If you want more, there’s going to have to be some clarity on your end what exactly is more, so I can do it properly,” she said.

Councilwoman Susan Moffit and Mayor Pro Tem Paula Millan said they were both satisfied with Henry’s minutes as presented, but Councilwoman Kathy Phillips said she would like to see more.

“I know that’s all that’s required; however, I like going back in the minutes and having comments here and there so it just kind of reiterates in my head what I remember of the conversations,” Phillips said.

Millan said she felt the council was putting Henry “in a really uncomfortable position.”

“I personally like the simple method. There’s less room for error, and (adding more of the discussion) puts her in an unfair position to determine what everyone’s viewpoint is,” Millan said. “I support your professionalism and ability to do it your way.”

Samson moved to include a “brief synopsis” of each item in the minutes, supported “110%” by Phillips. It passed 3-2, with Millan and Moffitt casting the two dissenting votes.

On Jan. 19, City Manager Michael Smith said he and Kukuk would post the listing for the city clerk to make a hire before a potential special election for a Clawson Public Schools bond issue in August, as well as the general election in November.

“The November election was hard on a lot of clerks. A lot of really qualified clerks are leaving the profession because of how they were treated nationally,” Smith said. “Some are taking early retirements.”

Scripture expressed shock and sympathy for clerks who were “attacked.”

“The integrity each clerk brought to the process, regardless of personal thoughts, I thought that was amazing, just incredible,” Scripture said. “That’s just disheartening that they felt so badly. I thought they were heroes in this election.”

During the Feb. 2 meeting, Smith said he was surprised to receive approximately 300 applicants for the city clerk position, although many of them appeared to be automatic applications from individuals with no experience.

He said he found about 10 candidates with “some sort of municipal experience” and a few with clerk experience using a keyword search, so the city does “have some quality candidates coming in.” The application window is set to close Feb. 19, after press time.

Smith added that he also plans to post a position for a full-time finance director soon with a deadline later this month to hopefully have a hire in place by the end of March or early April. He said it became clear that the city needs a full-time finance director to assist with upcoming budget sessions.

For more information, visit cityofclawson.com or call (248) 435-4500.

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