Edmore village manager stepping down amid dispute

By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 10:45 am on Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Edmore Village Manager Neil Rankin, left, looks on while Edmore Village President Chet Guild runs a recent meeting. — Daily News/Kyle Wilson

EDMORE —This village’s manager is bowing out amid an employment dispute.

Neil Rankin received a letter on Monday from the law firm of Mika, Myers, Beckett & Jones in Grand Rapids stating the village council’s 4-2 vote on June 30 to not extend Rankin’s contract means Rankin is no longer employed as village manager.

President Chet Guild and councilmen Eddie Adams, Chuck Burr and Jerry Rasmussen originally approved that motion, while councilwomen Bonnie Ashbaugh and Karen Deja voted “no,” saying they were blindsided by the move.

Rankin was never given a reason why the four council members wanted him gone after just a year on the job. He continued to work as village manager after the vote, as village ordinance says a five vote majority and hearing must take place before a manager is terminated from his position.

However, the village council voted 4-2 on July 14 to contact an attorney for a legal opinion, resulting in Monday’s legal letter to Rankin.

Rankin said he has options to fight the matter, including taking the dispute to court, but he has decided against it. He plans on clearing out his office in the Curtis Building today and then he will be gone.

“It’s unfortunate the direction that the council wanted to take at this time,” Rankin said. “Hopefully things will work out in the future for the village. I’ve received a lot of support from the people in Edmore.”

Guild did not return a message seeking comment for this story.

Rankin confirmed that he is considering applying for a job with the city of Stanton and the village of Lakeview, both of which are currently looking to hire a shared services manager for those two municipalities.

“It’s a possibility,” he said.

The next Edmore Village Council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 11.

Five seats on the Edmore Village Council will be up for election in November’s general election. A total of 16 candidates have filed to run for those seats.

Guild is running for re-election to another two-year term, but he is being challenged by Rikki Irwin and former Edmore village manager Karl Kluwe for the position.

Three four-year terms on the council have attracted 10 candidates. Incumbents Burr, Deja and Rasmussen are all running, as are challengers Walter Braman, Bonnie Gray-Davis, Aaron Hadley, Jeffrey Hansen, John Heron, Phillip Kohn and RJ Nye.

Three more candidates are running for a two-year partial term on the council — Jamie Ballard, Danielle Giles and Catherine Naru.

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