Ottawa County Deputy Administrator Patrick Waterman submitted his letter of resignation on Monday, citing pressure with County Administrator John Gibbs and a “deep concern relating to what I’ve considered to be an absence of efficient management and an eroding tradition of worker belief and assist inside the county.”
Waterman, who was employed as deputy county administrator in September 2022, wrote in his letter that he deliberate to resign on Aug. 4. Starting in mid-August, Waterman will function the deputy metropolis supervisor for the town of Wyoming in Kent County. He’ll work beneath Wyoming Metropolis Supervisor John Shay, the earlier Ottawa County administrator who then newly-elected far-right Ottawa County commissioners fired in January and changed with Gibbs.
“I imagine that open communication and efficient management are the spine of any profitable group,” Waterman wrote in his resignation letter to Gibbs. “When staff really feel heard, supported and guided, they’re extra more likely to stay motivated and dedicated to reaching the county’s targets. Sadly, from what I’ve skilled, this isn’t presently the tradition at Ottawa County.
“Regardless of my greatest efforts to develop a collaborative working relationship with you over the previous seven months, I don’t really feel as if my expertise, counsel and expertise have been valued or utilized,” Waterman continued. “I had hoped that over time, I’d have the ability to achieve your confidence and develop an efficient working relationship with you. Nevertheless, a sample of regarding administrative selections has led me to imagine that this isn’t attainable.”
Gibbs is a far-right Republican who defeated former U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Grand Rapids) within the August 2022 GOP main after touchdown an endorsement from former President Donald Trump and vehemently criticizing Meijer’s vote to question Trump over the previous president’s position within the Jan. 6, 2021, riot. He went on to lose the race for the third Congressional District seat to now-U.S. Rep. Hillary Scholten (D-Grand Rapids) in November’s normal election.
Beforehand employed with the U.S. Division of Housing and City Growth beneath the Trump administration, Gibbs has repeatedly promoted the lie that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump, and has railed towards ladies’s suffrage.
In January, Ottawa County commissioners employed Gibbs throughout their first assembly of the 12 months; at that very same gathering, the newly configured board with a far-right majority eradicated the county’s Variety, Fairness and Inclusion Division.
The far-right Republican commissioners – often known as members of a far-right group referred to as Ottawa Affect – ousted GOP incumbents on the board within the August 2022 main and have since gone on to considerably reshape the county’s political panorama, together with passing a decision that deemed Ottawa County to be a “constitutional county” the place the sheriff and prosecutor can select to not implement legal guidelines “opposite to the rights protected by the Structure of the USA and the state of Michigan.” That decision handed shortly after Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed gun security payments into legislation this previous spring.
The Ottawa Affect commissioners, who partially gained political momentum from espousing anti-masking and anti-vaccine views in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, maintain a six-seat majority on the 11-seat board.
Throughout the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners assembly, Gibbs mentioned he positioned Waterman on paid administrative depart starting Tuesday and mentioned Waterman’s last day with the county shall be Aug. 4.
“I worth Patrick Waterman’s contributions,” Gibbs informed commissioners. “… I want him one of the best in his new enterprise.”
Following Tuesday’s assembly, Gibbs declined to additional touch upon Waterman’s departure.
In his letter, Waterman described a piece atmosphere during which Gibbs uninvited him from “key departmental conferences,” had “restricted or no communication with me” and didn’t adhere to “established county hiring insurance policies.”
Waterman goes on to precise “gratitude for the alternatives I’ve needed to serve the residents of Ottawa County over the previous 8 months.
“I’m additionally grateful for the connection I’ve shaped with the hard-working and devoted county staff,” he continued. “I want all of them nicely.”
In a social media submit Tuesday, the town of Wyoming introduced Shay appointed Waterman as the town’s subsequent deputy supervisor. The submit famous that previous to Waterman serving as deputy county administrator in Grand Haven, he was the town supervisor in Hudsonville and the neighborhood growth director in Grand Haven Constitution Township. In whole, he has labored for native authorities for greater than twenty years.
“Metropolis Supervisor Shay is happy to welcome Patrick Waterman to Wyoming,” the town posted on its Fb web page. “In appointing him to this position, Shay factors to Waterman’s sturdy background in public administration and believes he shall be an incredible asset to the staff and neighborhood.”
Recall effort filed for member of Ottawa County’s far-right fee
Waterman’s departure from Ottawa County comes as Gibbs faces clashes with and intensive criticism from some elected officers. On the finish of June, Ottawa Affect commissioners censured Commissioner Jacob Bonnema, a Republican as soon as aligned with Ottawa Affect who has since lower ties with the group, partially for requesting a human sources investigation into Gibbs following what Bonnema referred to as a “threatening outburst” from the county administrator. A 3rd-party investigation into Bonnema’s request decided the criticism “didn’t substantiate the declare of harassment.”
In an interview with the Advance, Commissioner Roger Bergman, a Republican who will not be aligned with Ottawa Affect, mentioned previous to Tuesday’s assembly that he’s “undecided what [Gibbs] does.
“Once they employed him, they mentioned he’s overqualified,” Bergman mentioned. “He’s so certified that for the primary couple of months he didn’t know what to do? I discuss to the deputy administrator [Waterman], and he says, ‘He doesn’t discuss to me.’”
As Waterman prepares to go away Ottawa County, he wrote in his resignation letter that he’s targeted on a “easy transition” and is “dedicated to aiding in any manner throughout my discover interval.
“I’ll remember to talk the standing of any ongoing initiatives I’m coordinating and to executing any transition plan you deem needed,” he wrote to Gibbs.
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