On the morning of June 30, a community member submitted a concern through the Contact Form on the East Lansing Info website about the recent appointment of ELi board member and interim Executive Director Anne Hill. This initial message scrutinized Hill’s appointment due to her role with an organization investigating elections in East Lansing. A follow-up email from the community member detailed specific concerns with a recent report published by the Pure Integrity for Michigan Elections (PIME) that was authored by Hill.
Following the initial email, the board was made aware of additional objections to Hill’s appointments conveyed in public comments on recent posts on social media. Members of the board and people associated with ELi began researching Hill’s work with PIME based on this information and the PIME website. Additionally, resources were compiled to better understand Hill’s research and prior history with ELi as a member of the Community Advisory Board.
Due to the nature of the controversy, board President Raymond Vlasin convened a special meeting of a Rapid Response Team (RRT), which is called for in such circumstances by the Defense Protocol as recorded in the Guidance Document for ELi operations. The members of the team are board members Cody Harrell, Chuck Grigsby, Amalia Medina and Vlasin. A quorum of team members met the morning of July 4 to discuss the messages and review the chronology regarding ELi’s appointments of Hill to the board and to serve as Interim Executive Director. The team chose Harrell as the chair.
After reviewing all of the public information provided to the team and gathered via emails amongst the board and interested parties, the team decided they will convene a follow-up meeting the week of July 18. Members of the RRT have unavoidable conflicts scheduled in the two weeks beginning July 4, and it is important to all members of the team that this work be done diligently and correctly. It’s unfortunate to have such a delay with a team meant to work rapidly, but we ask patience as a fresh board navigates an unprecedented situation for this organization.
The board is simultaneously struggling with the serious challenges posed to ELi by the departure of key staff earlier this year. A specially-appointed Task Force is actively working with the Board at this time to look for ways to move the organization forward, and this work on recovery cannot simply cease as we also deal with the controversy over Hill’s work. This is a very difficult situation and we ask for understanding as we take our fiduciary responsibility very seriously.
Additionally, the board wishes to address misinformation that is being spread regarding the appointment of Anne Hill to the ELi Board of Directors. All board members besides Hill were unaware of her involvement with PIME, and only learned about Hill’s involvement with the organization when ELi began to hear concerns from the community.
In the RRT meeting during the week of July 18, the team will hear from Hill and may ask to hear from other persons with relevant information. Until the conclusion of this work, Anne Hill was formally asked by the board to step away, but was not removed from her positions as Board Member and Interim Executive Director. Given that there is no publishing happening outside of the work of the RRT and Task Force, the duties of the ED are minimized at this time.
The RRT will then make a recommendation to the board the following week regarding further action in response to becoming aware of Hill’s work with PIME and the implications for ELi. At that meeting, the board will make a decision on this matter. The decision will be conveyed to the public.