Hillsdale Board of Public Utilities Director Rickie J. Rose has been terminated for cause.
According to sources knowledgeable about the situation, Interim City Manager Doug Terry took the action Thursday afternoon. The cause for termination is not yet known.
The turn of events comes just days prior to the scheduled ending of Rose's contract with the City of Hillsdale. At May 18th's regular meeting, the City Council rejected a proposed new contract for Rose on a split vote of 4-4. That vote ensured the ending of his employment at the termination of his current contract, which the city administration says is June 30th.
Rose's employment has recently been a point of contention both amongst the city's citizens and within City Hall. After he was arrested and charged under Michigan's "super drunk" law earlier this year -- his third arrest and second charge for operating while intoxicated -- many questioned his suitability as the leader of a city department and utility company. Additional concerns about his leadership on various issues internal to the Board of Public Utilities were amplified in the wake.
On June 8th, the Board of Public Utilities held a special meeting at which they hired their own independent lawyer to determine where authority over the utility company fell to the Board itself as opposed to the City Council. Several councilpersons, at the Council's following regular meeting on the 16th, raised concerns that the BPU directors had overstepped their bounds. Questions about the Board's motivations, particularly questioning their relation to Rose's employment, were also raised by members of the Facebook group Hillsdale's Hot Debates.
A special meeting between the Hillsdale City Council and the Directors of the Board of Public Utilities to discuss these issues has been called for, but not yet scheduled, and determinations made by the independent counsel have been placed on hold indefinitely.
We'll keep you up to date as more details become available.