By Rosemary K. Otzman
Following more than an hour of discussion in closed-door session on the afternoon of March 25, the Van Buren Township Board of Trustees came back into open session and voted 3-2 to approve its attorney’s recommendation concerning the lawsuit filed by VBT’s former fire chief.
The case pending in Circuit Court is #12-01279-CD brought by former Fire Chief Darwin Loyer. The township attorney’s recommendation in the case was not announced.
Trustee Phil Hart was absent and excused from Monday’s meeting and the board voted to allow Trustee Brenda McClanahan to recuse herself because of her relationship to a party in the law suit.
In his Whistleblower’s law suit, Loyer named the township, former Supervisor Paul White, and former Public Safety Director Carl McClanahan, Trustee McClanahan’s husband.
Clerk Leon Wright made the motion to accept the attorney’s recommendation, which was seconded by Treasurer Sharry Budd.
Clerk Wright, Treasurer Budd, and Supervisor Linda Combs voted yes and Trustees Jeff Jahr and Reggie Miller voted no. The motion carried 3-2.
Trustee Jahr asked Supervisor Combs to ask their attorney when they can talk about the case and she said she would.
Combs told the Independent that the case has to go through the court system and their attorney has to carry the proposal to the other attorney and decisions have to be made. She said she would issue a statement once everything is settled.
In his lawsuit, Loyer alleges that Supervisor White discharged him because of Loyer’s complaints of illegalities, violations of law and safety regulations.
Loyer left township employment on June 21 and Dan Besson took over the job as interim fire chief. Besson was sworn in as permanent fire chief on Aug. 21.
Reportedly, Loyer was offered a settlement for leaving township employment if he would sign a promise not to sue the township. He did not sign.
The law suit was filed Sept. 17 by Loyer’s attorney Joseph R. Furton, Jr. of Dearborn. Loyer also paid the $235 fee necessary to demand a jury trial.
On Feb. 1, Loyer’s attorney filed a motion to extend the time line in the suit which was granted. Now, case evaluation is set for July 29 and settlement conference for Sept. 9.
By Rosemary K. Otzman