OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. — Nearly three weeks after Ottawa County commissioners finished their termination hearing for Health Officer Adeline Hambley, that meeting has continued with no clear end in sight.
On Tuesday, the Board of Commissioners voted to again recess the meeting and resume later in the month.
A source confirmed to 13 ON YOUR SIDE last week that the county had been preparing to offer Hambley $4 million to walk away from the job and drop her lawsuit against them. That lawsuit came from their attempt to remove her in January without prior notice.
Following the news, one commissioner previously aligned with the Board’s conservative Ottawa Impact majority bloc spoke out on the settlement being considered.
“The decision by Ottawa Impact to payout Adeline Hambley goes against every principle of good governence and conservatism,” commissioner Jacob Bonnema said.
The termination hearing, held last month, originally stemmed from charges that Hambley demonstrated incompetence, misconduct and neglect of duty during the county’s budget process when she took public her concerns about proposed budget cuts to the Department of Public Health.
Hambley’s attorney, Sarah Howard, told reporters after the meeting ended for the day that the settlement talks remained ongoing.
“We have continued disagreements about where we are in the process and we’re going have to try and work that out again when we reconvene in two week, unfortunately,” Howard said.
This came after commissioners had voted last week to accept their legal counsel’s recommendation on settlement activities.
“Our position is we had a binding settlement agreement with known terms pending and we were just reducing it to writing,” Howard said. “There’s some disagreement about whether that was the case, and so we’re continuing to have talks surrounding that issue and to see if we can resolve the situation with a settlement or if that’s not going to be possible.”
Weeks into the meeting, some members of the public have been persistent in seeing the saga through to the end, despite the delays.
Their persistence, however, has not come without frustration.
“I would think after four meetings and now they’re going to wait another two weeks- I think they should’ve, by now, known what they can settle on and I’m not quite sure why they can’t seem to settle,” resident Cathy Schmidt.
The meeting is now scheduled to resume on Nov. 28 at 1:30 p.m. Until then, Howard said that Hambley remains the health officer.
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