Longtime New Baltimore Councilman Jeffrey Christie announced plans to resign Monday night to a surprised council.
"I will be tendering my resignation before the next meeting," Christie said at the end of regularly scheduled session in city hall. "I'm done."
Mayor Larry Smith said he was sorry to hear the news, but added he understood.
Christie's announcement came shortly after Councilwoman Florence Hayman successfully motioned to repeal a ratified police contract for command officers, namely lieutenant and sergeant ranks, in the city.
Hayman had the matter added to the agenda during the meeting. However, city attorney Robert Hribar recommended against it. He said the city would be better off publishing the item on the agenda with advance notification.
"I appreciate his input, but it doesn't change my decision," Hayman said.
After the council approved to repeal the contract—with its contents not discussed openly—Christie turned to Hayman with choice words.
"That's absolutely the sneakiest thing you've ever done. You know that?" he said. "You just cost the city thousands and thousands of dollars."
She responded, "I'm sure Mr. Dolan can sort it out," referring to another one of the city's lawyers, Jack Dolan.
Smith said, "I question if that's even legal for us to do."
Hayman said after the meeting she sought to repeal the contract because the command officers changed union representation amid negotiations. That switch in representation from the Command Officers Association of Michigan (COAM) to another union was ignored by the city administration, she contends.
"Because of that, it is my belief that their prior union didn't have the authority to negotiate the contract," she said.
The contract was finalized and did not include any major concessions, Smith said after the meeting.
"I am just flabbergasted," he said.
Councilwoman Susan Burkhardt, who like Christie, voted against repealing the contract.
"My thoughts are: we pay a city attorney and when he makes a recommendation, I am going to heed that recommendation," she said.
Christie, who sat on council for approximately two decades, left the meeting without comment. He was expected to run for re-election this year.
Check back with Patch for more news out of the council meeting.