Time to go? Experts try to make peace in Northern Michigan town

Google Maps showing Elk Rapids in Michigan. (Google Maps)

ELK RAPIDS, Mich. – A consultant hired to make peace in a northern Michigan community is offering some tough medicine: Members of the local library board need to go.

“This is a beautiful, wonderful community with ample opportunities and I see you guys tearing each other apart over some of the pettiest things I have ever seen in my life,” Doug Griffiths told the Elk Rapids District Library Board.

Griffiths, a Canadian who specializes in healing public conflicts, is the author of “13 Ways to Kill Your Community.” He and his team were hired to interview residents and find ways to ease tension that extends beyond the Elk Rapids library.

Some members of the Downtown Development Association resigned over whether to close a downtown street. The village president resigned earlier this year for using coarse words.

There's been a dispute over which community owns library property, among other issues. About $600,000 raised for an expansion has been returned to donors, the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported.

“One of our first recommendations is that there needs to be a new board composition,” said Heather Thomson, a community planner who works with Griffiths.

Board member Barb Johnson has resigned, the Record-Eagle reported, citing “bullying” and “dysfunctional” colleagues.