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AG Nessel admonishes Ottawa Co. Board, but says no laws were broken

Dana Nessel, Michigan Attorney General photo
Associated Press

Attorney General's office had been flooded with complaints over sweeping changes made last month by newly elected officials.

According to the Michigan Attorney General's office, Dana Nessel on Thursday issued a letter to the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners detailing the department’s findings after completing an extensive review into the new Board’s compliance with the Open Meetings Act, or the OMA.

During a press conference Thursday, Nessel admonished the behavior of certain board members for their lack of transparency, and said they had violated the trust placed in them as elected officials by their constituents, but had not broken any laws.

“Incoming board members clearly held secret meetings, outside of public view, prior to taking office in an effort to execute their will without interference,” Nessel said. “While this behavior does not violate the current standards set forth in the Open Meetings Act, it is the antithesis of transparency and good governance.”

The board, made up of eight-newly elected Republicans all backed by the Far-Right PAC group known as “Ottawa Impact” shocked a number of county officials last month when the voted to fire County Administrator John Shay and replace him with former gubernatorial candidate John Gibbs, permanently shut down the county's department of diversity, equity and inclusion, and fired top public health officer Adeline Hambley—allegedly over the mask requirements she implemented during the pandemic.

Earlier this week, Hambley filed a lawsuit against the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners, alleging that her termination was political payback for the safety measures that public health officials had put in place at the time.

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