Traverse City Record-Eagle

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December 20, 2012

Ex-Grand Traverse official's settlement discussed

TRAVERSE CITY — The Grand Traverse County Road Commission will discuss a proposed settlement with its former manager and hold a public hearing about the commission's budget at a meeting tonight.

Mary Gillis, who now works for the Oakland County Road Commission, left Grand Traverse County when her contract expired in October.

Commissioner John Nelson offered no details as to why Gillis might receive a settlement and release agreement.

"All I can say is it's a good question," he said. "I can't comment on it."

The commission's attorneys told board members not to discuss the proposed settlement, Nelson said.

Attorneys will present the proposed deal — and commissioners will discuss it — during the meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Road Commission building.

The commission approved parameters of a settlement offer to Gillis on Nov. 29. Commission Chairman Marc McKellar and Commissioner Dave Taylor, who led the effort to oust Gillis, voted no.

Gillis drew criticism from some of her bosses during her final months as manager.

McKellar and Taylor publicly stated in 2011 they wanted to fire her. Three commissioners then rated the former manager as unsatisfactory on a performance evaluation in April.

Gillis responded to the board's evaluations in writing, and stated commissioners damaged her professional reputation.

"It is the manager's opinion that this process isn't credible and is, in fact, discriminatory, baseless, and being used as a tool to manufacture 'just cause,'" Gillis wrote in the response.

Gillis did not return calls for this story.

McKellar, Taylor and Commissioner Carl Brown voted in May against renewing Gillis' contract.

Those board members and Commissioner James Maitland did not return messages seeking comment for this story.

Tonight's meeting also will include a public hearing on the commission's next budget.

Members of the public can speak during the hearing about how taxpayer money should be spent on roads and infrastructure, Nelson said.

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