Outside Legal Counsel PLC

Ludington City Council Spent ≈$100K in Secret Email Meeting, Lawsuit Alleges

For Immediate Release | Nov 09, 2012

Ludington, MI - On behalf a local resident, Outside Legal Counsel PLC has filed a lawsuit against the City of Ludington alleging violations of Michigan’s Open Meetings Act.

According to the lawsuit, a failed sewer pipe on Brother Street in Ludington resulted in the City no-bidding a contract with a regional contracting company. Instead of presenting or deliberating the proposed contract at a public meeting, the city manager sent an email to all members of the City Council who discussed and ultimately voted in favor of the nearly $100,000 project via email.

Michigan’s Open Meetings Act requires all deliberations and decisions of a public body to be made in a meeting open to the public.

Instead of holding a public meeting, the lawsuit alleges the City Council approved via email the city manager’s request and proposal to execute the contract with a base quote of $90,705.51 plus other additional costs if necessary.

The final no-bid cost to the City and its taxpayers was $95,980.51 from its street and sewer funds.

“Cities have a legal duty not to act in secret and to conduct their affairs in the open to give citizens the opportunity to participate in the legislative process,” states Philip L. Ellison, attorney from Outside Legal Counsel. “Secrecy creates doubt of legitimacy and is contrary to the spirit and principles of government transparency and good government.”

The case has been assigned to Judge Richard I. Cooper of the Mason County Circuit Court.