Mayor Pro Tem Jessy Gregg has publicly laid out a way her fellow council members could consider reversing their decision to hire Robert Belleman as city manager at tonight’s Council meeting.
The East Lansing City Council voted 3-2 to name Robert Belleman as the next city manager in a special meeting held Sunday (Aug. 13). Belleman, who has a long history of work in Michigan local governments was recently removed from his job as Saginaw County Controller amid allegations of creating a toxic workplace environment. Council’s 3-2 decision to hire Belleman as East Lansing’s next city manager drew immediate backlash during the meeting and on social media.
In a Facebook post today (Aug. 15), Gregg pointed out that the decision is not yet set in stone and explained a way Council could revisit the decision at tonight’s meeting. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the Hannah Community Center.
“There is an option to revisit this decision,” Gregg explained in her post. “Under Robert’s Rules a Councilmember who voted on the ’yay’ side of a motion can move a ’Motion to Reconsider.’ This would have to come from a Councilmember who voted FOR Mr. Belleman’s appointment and would only be valid if that Councilmember had new information that changed their decision.”
That means the move would have to come from either Mayor Ron Bacon, Councilmember Dana Watson or Councilmember Noel Garcia, because those three voted to hire Belleman. (Gregg and Councilmember George Brookover voted against.)
Gregg goes on to say she is not advocating for the decision to be reversed, but she wants members of the community to have a “roadmap” for how that could be done because the community seems unhappy with Council’s decision to appoint Belleman. Gregg’s full post can be read here.
In response to a question from ELi about whether communication from the public led to her making the Facebook post, Gregg confirmed that was the reason. She said communications from the public over the last two days prompted her to inform the public of the process.
“Yes, the outpouring of support for Mr. Dempsey and the general consternation over the hiring of Belleman prompted me to layout the guidelines under which a motion could be reconsidered,” Gregg wrote in an email to Eli.
“It’s not an oft used rule and we have not had a chance to host our parliamentary procedure trainings in quite some time so I wanted to explain the process as I understood it for anyone who might be interested,” she wrote.
Members of the public will be able to share their thoughts during public comment at the start of the meeting.
In communication received from city residents and staff prior to Sunday’s special meeting, there was strong support for Tim Dempsey, who has worked for the city for 15 years and has served as Interim Director of Planning, Building and Development since March. Gregg and Brookover expressed support for Dempsey at Sunday’s meeting.