Chelsea City Council Reverses Course on Bell and Doom


In a surprising twist, the Chelsea City Council unanimously voted to withdraw their contract offer to Troy Bell for the Interim City Manager position.

On May 8th, the Chelsea City Council directed the city staff to initiate contract negotiations with Troy Bell of Muskegon Heights to fill the Interim City Manager position. The job offer was contingent on a successful contract agreement and background check.

At its May 15th meeting, the council voted to withdraw its offer to Mr. Bell. Comments from the council alluded to the confidential background check as the reason for giving them pause.

Councilmember Ruddock remained firm in his support for Mr. Bell, saying, “Mr. Bell wrote in his very letter to us that there are newspaper articles about him. And before I ever set one idea to this, I did my own research on this, and I found out that most of what’s been written in the newspaper is not true. One newspaper actually had to publish a correction to what they wrote about this man who’s sitting in the room, by the way. Thank you. I came to the conclusion on my own research, that this person is eminently qualified to lead our city for an interim period.”

“I don't disagree with Mr. Ruddock in tone,” said Councilmember Feeney. “One thing I will say is as a city over the last year, we've been through a lot of tunnels, and I would just as soon not go through anymore. So, there's an aspect of this where I respectfully disagree. That may be a safer course of action would be appropriate.”

Councilmember Mehuron echoed Feeney, adding, “I feel that we need to think on behalf of our city staff and our general public. We need to think in terms of solid experiential background, with good performance, and we need to think in terms of reliability, and honesty, and no drama, but rather pragmatic decision making. We really need that at this juncture.”

Councilmember Keaton supported a job offer to Mr. Bell, citing him as well-qualified and emphasizing it was only an interim position. Councilmember Iannelli commented that the reliability of third-party references could be shaky, especially if some might be harboring grudges. Mr. Iannelli believed the council should proceed with a job offer to Bell.

Mayor Pacheco told the council she believed all three candidates interviewed last week were qualified for the position. As already stated by other council members, her concern for the stability of the staff by avoiding as much turmoil as possible persuaded her to go in a different direction.

The council voted 6-0 to withdraw the job offer to Mr. Bell. Councilmember Wiseley was not physically present to vote.

The council then voted 6-0 to direct city staff to proceed with contract negotiations contingent upon a background check with Elke Doom. Ms. Doom was the applicant receiving the next highest score after Mr. Bell in the council’s ranked-choice voting last week.

The council then voted to reengage Walsh Municipal Services to aid in a search for a permanent city manager.

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