Macomb Township trustee questions resignation letter

Purchasing specialist also resigns

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published May 8, 2019

 Macomb Township Planning Commission Chairman Charles Oliver said the commission is going to truly miss departing Planning Director Patrick Meagher. His last day with the township was May 3.

Macomb Township Planning Commission Chairman Charles Oliver said the commission is going to truly miss departing Planning Director Patrick Meagher. His last day with the township was May 3.

Photo by Alex Szwarc

 Meagher wasn’t the only township employee to resign in April, as Purchasing Specialist Cynthia Carnes, pictured, announced she is also leaving.

Meagher wasn’t the only township employee to resign in April, as Purchasing Specialist Cynthia Carnes, pictured, announced she is also leaving.

Photo by Alex Szwarc

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Following the news of Macomb Township Planning Director Patrick Meagher’s resignation, plenty of people, from township officials to residents, sounded off on his departure.

Meagher submitted a resignation letter to the Board of Trustees April 18. May 3 was his last day on the job, as he has accepted a position as the Washington Township community development director.

He wasn’t the only township employee to resign in April, as Purchasing Specialist Cynthia Carnes announced she is also leaving the township.

At the April 24 Board of Trustees meeting, several folks wished Meagher well, while some challenged the letter.

During trustees comments, Trustee Nancy Nevers said April 18 was the first time she was aware of a “manner” with Meagher.

“That formal resignation was the first time I became aware of any problem Mr. Meagher was having with Mr. Esordi,” she said. “I don’t understand why he didn’t share those problems with me.”

In Meagher’s letter, he states there is a “disconnect” between department heads, board members and human resources/legal counsel.

Two years ago, the board named Township Attorney Tom Esordi human resources director. He now serves in both roles.

Nevers then shared her view on how the “genesis of how this coup d’état” was conceived and perpetuated.

She said negotiations two years ago regarding pay raises for the fire chief and deputy fire chief were grueling and that Esordi showed her a skill in negotiations that made her feel “he could teach a master class in effective negotiating.”

She asked if tough negotiations are now considered bullying.

“Months ago, I said there is a political party in this country whose mantra is ‘never let a crisis go to waste, even if you have to orchestrate one,’” Nevers said.

She took that quote further, saying, “I believe someone who wanted Mr. Esordi gone seized that mantra, recognizing this was a moment and ultimately a perfect way to ruin Mr. Esordi’s reputation and also believe it was enough to get rid of him.”

Esordi did not comment on Meagher’s resignation or how the arrangement of being the human resources director and legal counsel has worked for him.

Nevers’ belief is that someone “skilled in legalese crafted the majority” of Meagher’s resignation letter.

Clerk Kristi Pozzi said she is deeply saddened by Meagher and Carnes’ resignations, adding that her experiences with the human resources department and general counsel has been everything but pleasant.

Pozzi then exclaimed that she’s heard people accuse her of writing Meagher’s letter.

“Mr. Meagher is well respected in Macomb County and writes the ordinances. I think he’s perfectly capable of writing his own resignation letter, without the help of legalese or mine,” she said.

Pozzi then asked Meagher if she had any doings in writing his resignation letter.

“No. I own the letter. I wrote it and I stand behind the letter,” he said. “I have not been bullied here. I never claim in the letter I was bullied here. That is not a reason whatsoever that I’m leaving the township.”

He ended by saying he will have no further comment in regard to leaving the township, per his attorney’s advice.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Never said she in no way implied that Pozzi had leaked the letter to media.

“I believe it was union people, not you,” Nevers said.

The day after the board meeting, Nevers clarified some statements to C & G Newspapers, stating she believes Meagher wrote the first three paragraphs, which cover the facts of the resignation and compliments township employees.

“That sounds like something he would’ve said and written,” she said. “I believe the remainder of the letter was by a lawyer or someone in the union sphere.”

She said she doesn’t have a name of who could’ve written it, and that she chose to be vocal about this subject because “When I see an injustice, and I considered an attack against Tom a coup d’etat, was an injustice and I had to speak.”

Planning Commission Chairman Charles Oliver thanked Meagher for his service to the township and for guiding the commission.

“We’re going to truly miss Mr. Meagher. He’s guided our commission through many bumpy meetings,” Oliver said. “He’s always been able to keep the calm in something that can otherwise get out of hand. I don’t get mushy, but you broke my heart when you said you were resigning. I wish you all the luck. Washington Township really got someone good.”

During public comments, Carnes thanked the board for the opportunity to work for the township.

“Things happened here that prevented me from continuing my mission here,” she said. “I had fully intended to come aboard and help with rebuilding the public trust that has been deteriorated over the years.”

In September 2018, Carnes was offered the position with a date of hire on or after Oct. 29.