ECORSE, Mich. – Ecorse City Council fired the city’s public safety director at a meeting on Tuesday after he filed a whistleblower lawsuit.
Former Director Joseph Thomas had no idea he had been fired until the Local 4 Defenders contacted his attorney on Wednesday.
Wayne County’s Attorney General and the FBI have an ongoing investigation regarding deals with stolen cars that Ecorse handled. Allegedly, a stolen car was sold to the city’s mayor for $500 instead of going to the rightful owner.
READ: Council member calls for Mayor of Ecorse to be removed from office just after being re-elected
City Council voided Thomas’ contract without his knowledge and installed Deputy Narda Bruno as interim director.
Local 4 obtained audio from Tuesday night’s Ecorse City Council meeting. The audio is of the council voting to oust its Public Safety director and installing Bruno as the director.
“The council hereby appoints Deputy Director Narda Bruno as the Interim Director of Public Safety,” council members could be heard saying.
Thomas said he found corruption within the police and city government and is now facing retaliation for doing the job he was brought in to do.
Bruno had previously filed a discrimination complaint against Ecorse. What wasn’t made public is her agreement stating that she gets the $90,000 a year job as director and a $300,000 settlement.
Thomas’ attorney Leonard Mungo, said his client did not know he was replaced until Mungo called him Wednesday afternoon.
“Absolutely no idea. He was on vacation. He was out of town,” Mungo said.
Late Wednesday night, attorney Ed Plato released a response to this news article. That response is available below:
Former Ecorse Public Safety Director, Joseph Thomas, had been illegally hired by former City Administrator, Richard Marsh. Last October, Mr. Marsh had improperly terminated the employment of then Public Safety Director, Mike Moore, who had held that position since 2013. Marsh then hired Joseph Thomas after conducting interviews behind closed doors in clear violation of the Open Meetings Act. The Open Meetings Act, MCL 15.268(f), requires that “all interviews by a public body for employment or appointment to a public office shall be held in an open meeting pursuant to this act.” Therefore, the process of hiring of Joseph Thomas was in violation of Michigan law.
Furthermore, for Joseph Thomas to now claim he had no idea that his termination was coming, hides the truth. Mr. Thomas was advised back in early January that his hiring by Mr Marsh, just before the last election, was invalid and in violation of Michigan law. He was further advised that the newly elected City Council has the right to select and appoint who they want to the position of Public Safety Director and the new City Council wanted Deputy Chief Bruno in that position. Deputy Chief Bruno had been promised that position over a year before Mr. Thomas was hired. It was the improper actions of Mr. Marsh hiring Mr. Thomas as Public Safety Director that resulted in Deputy Chief Bruno suing Mr. Marsh and the City of Ecorse and it was the improper actions of Mr. Marsh that were the reason the City of Ecorse had to pay $300,000 in a settlement to Deputy Chief Bruno.
As for Joseph Thomas’s alleged finding of corruption within the city, there was no such finding. Mr. Thomas is referring to an investigation by the Attorney General’s office over two and a half years ago which found no wrongdoing on the part of anyone within the city.
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