BAD AXE – A county commissioner says conflicts with a colleague are “getting personal” while “gravely affecting me and my family.”
Clark Elftman made the claims Tuesday before commissioners unanimously agreed to remove David Peruski from roles as the board’s vice chair of the safety committee and legislative committee member. Peruski was also taken off as an alternate to the Thumb Area Michigan Works! board. He said he requested the removals.
Elftman, who remains on the committees, said Peruski is “letting personalities interfere with his duties.”
“To have somebody come up there and say he doesn’t want to be on any committees that I’m on, what’s the reason behind it? It’s implied, but not stated, and that’s what affects me and my family,” Elftman said.
Peruski told commissioners he wanted to be removed, but didn’t explain why, citing an “issue of confidentiality between individuals.”
“I don’t believe him,” Elftman said, adding that he’s sure the action was taken because of him.
Peruski told the Tribune a similar concern prevented him from telling his reason.
Pressed for an answer, he wouldn’t say if the individuals were county employees or others he works with as an elected official handling public business.
“I can’t, I have to respect those (privacy rights),” Peruski said.
Peruski also was silent during Tuesday’s board meeting after Elftman made the assertions.
“I do not know what compelled him to say those things,” Peruski told the Tribune.
Elftman says the most recent argument between the two took place about a year ago. It involved a disagreement about “wind turbine syndrome” – a term coined by pediatrician Nina Pierpoint in 2009 that explains wind turbines making people sick.
“I investigated that, I called all of the hospitals – there was no truth to it,” Elftman said. “That apparently upset him.”
“I have no idea what he’s investigating or not on his own,” Peruski said.
(Health officials invalidated the condition in July with support from a Clinton County physician and medical epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Jevon McFadden, who told commissioners “in general, wind turbine syndrome is not widely accepted within medical science.” Read more on McFadden’s visit here: http://bit.ly/1f7mlam.)
Elftman talked of past run-ins, which involved Peruski getting “red in the face and swearing” after a committee meeting and later apologizing.
“There’s been other things through the years, but nothing like this,” Elftman said.
Board Chair John Nugent made the motion to remove Peruski from the committees. He said he doesn’t think it will hinder county business. However, there’s a “great deal of animosity between those two, and both are equally distraught.”
Other than to say Peruski and Elftman have different views as commissioners, Nugent declined to comment on the reasoning Peruski gave when requesting the removal. He said it could “irrevocably harm” the careers of other people involved, which don’t include county employees.
“You’re dealing with a lot of strong egos,” Nugent said of elected officials, adding that it was a “cumulative series of events creating tension” between them.
Elftman said he and Peruski have worked well together for a decade.
“(But) problems crop up,” Elftman said.
As a commissioner, Peruski said his “activity level” will stay the same.
“In the future, if there’s a situation when we have to work together, we will,” he said.
“I’m not going to stay away because of it, even if Clark is involved.”
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