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Four Muskegon Heights city council members miss second special meeting on vacant city manager position

City Manager Troy Bell's contract expires Jan. 31, and without a quorum, city council could not conduct official business on the vacancy.

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. — For the second time in less than a week, half of Muskegon Heights city council missed a special meeting called to address the city manager's position. 

Monday night's meeting once again turned into an open discussion, as the council could not move forward with official business without a quorum. 

Troy Bell's contract expires tomorrow, after starting his job with the city back in 2020. 

"It's sad the way we're sitting up here letting the city go down, and then talking about how 'We love the city,'" Clarence Guy, resident, says. "Why would we go and vote for folks that ain't gonna do nothing?"

Several people came expecting answers on why Bell's contract wasn't renewed at a meeting last week. The four councilors who voted Bell out missed the second special meeting called to address the vacancy.

"Don't stay at home and run, that's a coward. Just come out and do what has to be done," Bernice Sydnor, resident, says. "I don't want our city to go to the state, for the state to come in and run our city. You see what happened to our schools."

Now, the city's government hangs in the balance without someone available to step into the role. Normally, the finance director would become city manager. That position is vacant, as well as several others.

"This didn't just start. All summer, we've been without department heads, we've been on this for almost a year," Gloria Pulliams, resident, says. 

Mayor Walter Watt says they have open positions because of the city's financial situation.

"They're not filled because of several, several issues. Number one, pay. We can't afford to pay someone what they're worth to do the job in the finance department," he says.

The city council also needs a new city attorney as their current legal representation is stepping down, with a consulting attorney says puts the city at a weak point.

"There are allegations from Mr. Bell that his contract was breached" Richard Cherry says. 

Their legal counsel's resignation was another agenda item that could not be addressed without a quorum.

"We should have been here to be able to start reacting on the decision and the votes that we have made. It doesn't matter which way the votes went. At the end of the day, we have to start making decisions to move forward," Mayor Pro Tem Ronald Jenkins says. 

The next regularly scheduled meeting is Feb. 13 in Muskegon Heights, but the mayor is hoping to get another special meeting set up soon. Meeting announcements are posted on their website. 

The council members absent at Monday night's meeting have not reached back out to 13 ON YOUR SIDE to address their absence.

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