Albion City Mayor Pro Tempore and City Council Member Sonya Brown is pushing back against claims made in a recall petition.

On Monday, recall petition language was filed with the Calhoun County Clerk’s Office for the Precinct 3 council member, alleging that Brown directed City Manager Latonya Rufus to remove Scott Kipp from his position at the head of the Albion Public Safety Department; the language claims Sonya Brown violated the city charter by doing so.

In a statement made Tuesday, Sonya Brown says that she has “reason to believe” that those communications at the base of the recall effort were illegally obtained and then disseminated to the public by Chief Kipp; she did not elaborate on what those reasons might be. She says that she understands and follows the City Charter and the Ethics Ordinance, and that the messages with City Manager Rufus were taken out of context. Brown claims she was reminding Rufus of her authority to “terminate any employee that is continuously insubordinate and/or in debt to the city”, and was not directing her to fire Kipp, which would be a violation of the City Charter.

The complete text of Sonya Brown's Statement is below.

The recall petition language filed with the Clerk’s Office will be considered by the Calhoun County Election Commission March 11, where they will review it to make sure it is factual and clear; the Commission will not make a determination on the merits of the allegations.

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Regarding the Recall Language Submitted February 25, 2019 to the Calhoun County Election Commission

"I have reason to believe that the communication which is the basis of this recall language was obtained illegally and disseminated improperly to members of the public by Albion Department of Public Safety (ADPS) Director Scott Kipp.

I also have reason to believe that ADPS Director Scott Kipp is directly connected with the bogus Facebook blog City Watch run by Albion resident John Face, who has for more than a year dishonestly assassinated the character of former Albion Mayor Garrett Brown and has spent countless hours defaming me and other City Council Members.

For eight years, I have done my best to serve the Albion community as an elected official. I understand and follow the Albion City Charter, the City Council Rules of Procedure, and the City’s Code of Ethics ordinance. Pursuant to Albion City Charter §5.8, it would be improper for me as a Council Member to give a directive regarding the hiring or firing of an employee or to address the employee directly. The context of the referenced communication is very important, and is not included in the proposed recall language.

During the electronic communication which was a casual conversation, my intent was to remind City Manager Latonya Rufus of her administrative authority as city manager over personnel to terminate any employee that is continuously insubordinate and/or in debt to the city of Albion for hundreds of dollars (e.g. an unpaid cell phone bill for a personal phone tied to a city account), and not to give a directive. She was seeking input on a solution for a continuous issue. City Manager Rufus had disclosed growing concerns over her treatment by specific members of staff and City Council.

In the best interest of Albion, all pertinent facts and information need to be made public. Currently, it has not."

Respectfully submitted,

Sonya Brown Mayor Pro Tempore Council Member, Precinct 3 City of Albion, Michigan