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‘We hereby apologize’  

Credit:  4 Douglass Twp. Board members retract ‘edit’ allegation against former planning commissioner | By Elisabeth Waldon | Daily News | April 02, 2022 | www.thedailynews.cc ~~

DOUGLASS TOWNSHIP – Four members of the Douglass Township Board are retracting an allegation they publicly made against a former Planning Commission member.

Supervisor Terry Anderson, Clerk Ronda Snyder, Treasurer Amy Laper and Trustee Tom Jeppesen all signed the retraction and apology letter regarding Cindy Shick. The letter was dated Tuesday and was filed with the Montcalm County Election Commission on Thursday.

The letter was written “under the advice of their attorney,” according to Montcalm County Clerk Kristen Millard who placed the letter on file and also sent it to her fellow Election Commission members, Montcalm County Probate Court Judge Charles “Tad” Simon III and Montcalm County Treasurer JoAnne Vukin.

Douglass Township attorney Ron Redick only represents the township, not individual township board members. The township board met in closed session on Tuesday with Redick to discuss a written legal opinion regarding “an electronic security breach,” but took no action on the matter upon returning to open session.

Anderson told the Daily News on Friday that attorney Trent Hilding of Vestaburg wrote Tuesday’s retraction letter on behalf of Anderson, Snyder, Laper and Jeppesen as individuals – not as a township board. Anderson said Tuesday’s closed session only involved discussion of a written legal opinion for the township and that Redick was careful not to advise the township board members regarding anything as individuals.

Redick confirmed with the Daily News on Friday that he only represents the township and not individual board members.

“In particular, I do not represent individual board members in connection with recall efforts or in connection with threats that have been made against them, in their individual capacities, for defamation,” Redick said. “The steps that any particular board member takes in response to the recall efforts is not a legal concern of the township. It is well established that recall matters are a legal matter for the individual public official to address, not the government entity that they serve.”

Anderson, Snyder, Laper and Jeppesen originally wrote a letter to the Election Commission on Feb. 23 as part of their defense against ongoing recall efforts. That letter contained screenshots alleging to show Shick – whom the township board voted to oust from the Planning Commission in January – allowing attorney Josh Nolan to view and edit Planning Commission meeting minutes and agendas that were sent to Snyder through Google Drive.

At the March 2 township board meeting, Shick vehemently denied this accusation. She said on July 3, 2021, she did allow Nolan to have view-only access to Shick’s “share with Ronda” folder in response to a FOIA request. Shick said on June 29, 2021, Snyder was the one who shared Shick’s “share with Ronda” folder and all contents with a different email for Nolan, giving him editing privileges to all current and future documents.

Shick told the township board she planned to pursue legal remedies for defamation of character, libel and/or slander and demanded a public apology and a retraction of the letter. Snyder reacted with expressions of shock and disbelief to Shick’s statements, while Jeppesen openly laughed.

The four township board members have now retracted one allegation against Shick. The retraction letter states that Shick did provide Nolan with access to Google Drive used for township business in response to a FOIA from Nolan.

“We, Terry Anderson, Amy Laper, Ronda Snyder and Tom Jeppesen, all collectively retract any statements providing that Cindy Shick gave attorney Josh Nolan the authority to edit Douglass Township documents,” the letter states. “Attorney Josh Nolan’s authority to view was granted by Cindy Shick.

“We hereby apologize to Cindy Shick for the specific statements made in public on Feb. 23, 2022, that specifically referenced granting attorney Josh Nolan the ability to edit Douglass Township documents, and will be filing this written apology to react any public filings of the same,” the letter concludes.

Shick told the Daily News that she is “relieved and yet saddened with this resolution.”

“I am saddened by the cost, financially, but more so by the cost to relationships, she said. “I’m relieved that my reputation is being restored by the Douglass Township Board. In 10-plus years of serving on the Planning Commission and 30-plus years as an educator, I worked to maintain a reputation of honesty. The board could have avoided this situation and the financial costs completely. From the start, those that I consider friends could have resolved this by contacting me before the hurtful, public accusations. When I confronted the lie at a public meeting, any one of the board members could have immediately talked to me. After my attorney contacted the members as individuals, I waited for any one of them to respond. No one did. After multiple contacts amongst attorneys, thankfully, a group retraction letter is now recorded and the reading of that letter is to take place at the next meeting.

“Because of my faith in Christ, I hope to have an opportunity to accept the apology, offer forgiveness and restore relationships,” she concluded.

[rest of article available at source]

Source:  4 Douglass Twp. Board members retract ‘edit’ allegation against former planning commissioner | By Elisabeth Waldon | Daily News | April 02, 2022 | www.thedailynews.cc

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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