OLIVE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Ottawa County will pay Administrative Health Officer Adeline Hambley $4 million to resign, capping conservative commissioners’ monthslong efforts to oust her and likely preventing a protracted legal battle, the Holland Sentinel is reporting.
Citing “multiple sources with knowledge of the situation,” the Sentinel reported the deal Wednesday. It said the settlement also includes Deputy Health Officer Marcia Mansaray resigning and getting a severance of one year’s pay of $125,000.
The Sentinel noted the deal has not yet been formalized nor signed. But if OK’d, the newspaper said, it would be the county’s largest ever settlement. It would be paid from the county’s insurance authority.
The board had been expected to vote Monday whether to fire Hambley following a hearing for her removal. Instead, members went into closed session all day and ultimately voted instead to accept their lawyer’s settlement recommendation. They are expected to reconvene Nov. 14.
Conservative commissioners backed by political action committee Ottawa Impact voted in their first meeting in January to remove Hambley from her job and put her in an interim role. She sued, saying that was illegal. Commissioners countered that she was never properly appointed by their predecessors. The Michigan Court of Appeals finally ruled that Hambley was rightfully appointed, but also that the board could fire her if it could prove cause under state law.
Ottawa Impact was formed by Ottawa County Board of Commissioners Chair Joe Moss and Vice Chair Sylvia Rhodie. Moss got involved in county politics after the county health department shut down his kids’ school for ignoring pandemic-era mask mandates. Mansaray was named as a defendant when the school sued over the closure.