Union files restraining order against Macomb County Clerk Karen Spranger over 'hostile workplace'
Temporary restraining order filed against controversial county clerk
MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. – Union leaders are taking legal action against Macomb County Clerk Karen Spranger.
The union filed and received a temporary restraining order Friday against the controversial county clerk.
The filing comes in response to claims that Spranger has created a hostile work environment since taking office.
Spranger is also in the middle of a legal battle against the county, which has filed to remove her from office on accusations that she lied about her residency. Local 4 went to the home in question on April 24, when neighbors said the house was overrun with raccoons.
A judge ruled last month that Spranger violated the National Labor Relations Act. From that came the judge's recommended order, which included the stipulation that a notice stating that Spranger would basically obey the law and not harass employees was to be posted in the office.
The week of Oct. 13, the notice to Macomb County Clerk's Office employees was posted by the county and locked in a glass case.
At the bottom of the notice, it clearly states it must be posted for 30 days and not be altered, defaced or covered. But security video from Oct. 13 shows Register of Deeds Jackie Ryan covering it up with a poster.
Three days later, with the notice back on display, Spranger can be seen on video covering it up with another poster.
"It's not a finalized court case," Spranger said.
"So you were covering it up because it's not finalized?" Local 4's Jason Colthorp asked.
"No, I did not cover it up, because someone who put it up there is not authorized to put it up," Spranger said.
Spranger said the case isn't over because she's appealing the recommended order. She said she doesn't believe she is violating a court order.
"They had no right to post that," Ryan said. "That's under lock and key by HR (human resources). That's exploitation of the county clerk."
Ryan said when she went to HR about the poster, the department refused to take it down without an explanation.
"That is abuse of the county clerk right there," Ryan said.
Local 4 confirmed Spranger has filed an exception to that ruling on her own behalf, and she might have much more work ahead as her own counsel because the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has filed an unrelated unfair labor practice charge, alleging she has harassed employees.
Local 4 has learned that the United Auto Workers has notified its lawyer of Spranger's violation of the order.
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