By CYNTHIA KMETT
There are some definite iffy facts floating around on social media. Let’s get a few points straight.
On Friday, March 9, shortly after 10 p.m., Troy City Manager Brian Kischnick was arrested in Clawson and charged with domestic assault and battery.
Troy City Council met at 4 p.m. in Special Session on Sunday, March 11 and went into closed session to discuss the case. Kischnick was “terminated with cause,” or fired. According to Troy City Attorney Lori Grigg Bluhm, the only reason council needed to terminate him was the fact that he had been arrested, not that he had been found guilty of any crime. An arrest is part of the manager’s morals clause in his contract as a reason to be terminated. So are other things, like drugs and alcohol that reflect negatively on the city.
The couple in this event had been in an Uber and they were returning to her Clawson home from dinner when they started to argue.
While reports tried to get the name of the woman involved, Troy’s personnel attorney Tom McGraw stood by to remind the media and council members they cannot tell anyone what was said in a closed session. No, she is not the city’s deputy mayor. We do not have a deputy mayor. Troy has two assistant city managers and one of them, Mark Miller, was appointed to serve as acting city manager.
While we don’t know – until they get to court – what the argument was about – there’s a chance the Uber driver will have something to say about this evening.
Perhaps what Kischnick wrote in a letter to City Council will turn out to be the truth, that he got out of the car to avoid arguing and that a block or two later the woman also exited the vehicle and continued the argument.
A “witness” on television recounted what the neighbors said they saw: Kischnick pushing her to the ground and when she tried to get up, forcing her face to the sidewalk.
Maybe they did fall, as Kischnick wrote, so wait for testimony in the case.
Neighbors did agree the woman asked police not to arrest the manager and said she wouldn’t press charges. That, however, is up to the Clawson city attorneys, not Troy or the woman.
Social media in some instances said the council should have just suspended Kischnick without pay until this all played out in court. That’s apparently because council fired him with cause and he will not be eligible for severance pay. But if an arrest is all that’s needed as a cause for termination, the city seems pretty safe.
Mayor Dane Slater did say to reporters that “this was not the first bend in the road” where Kischnick’s actions were a concern. “It’s never a good feeling to terminate anyone, but I think we made the right decision.”
Back in 2016 there was an investigation that stemmed from Kischnick being responsible for a minor fender-bender, which also happened in Clawson. The problem wasn’t the accident, it was that he was driving a Troy Police Department vehicle and there was no police report when he turned in the request to pay for the other driver’s damage. The question was: Why wasn’t he driving his own car, for which the city gives him over $400 a month to use?
And, there were some phone accessories that Kischnick purchased that seemed excessive. Were they legitimate buys?
We really don’t know.
We don’t know the answer because the city refused to release the report from that hearing.
While it would be legal to release it, it’s not considered a good practice by attorneys to put out personnel files. Even if the findings are in favor of the person being reviewed, they can damage a career, and that can bring a lawsuit.
And, there have been other high-profile cases that had such hearings. If you’ve lived in Troy long enough, you might remember the library director who was charged with hiring his boyfriend, whom it turned out didn’t do any work. We never saw the report, but that employee was relieved of his duties, and rumors were rampant that we paid him millions to go away. Not true.
All hearings of personnel matters are done in private, unless the person wants an open hearing.
Actually, the only people speaking at the Sunday council meeting were there asking to see the report from 2016.