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April 19, 2018 5:08 pm

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Township Fire Chief Janik Addresses Township Manager Sheridan's Misconduct

Saugatuck Township Fire Chief Greg Janik sent a letter Aug. 17 to the Saugatuck Township Board detailing incidents of “serious misconduct” by Township Manager Aaron Sheridan.

That letter by Janik, obtained by The Local Observer through a Freedom of Information Act request reads:

“As a member of the Saugatuck Township Fire District for the last 16 years and a resident of the Township of Saugatuck for 21 years, I am disturbed by the actions of Township manager Aaron Sheridan.

“Mr. Sheridan has a history and established a pattern of misconduct so severe, that several officials are under the opinion he will become violent towards those that oppose his misaligned thinking.

“Mr. Sheridan has been instrumental in creating serious intergovernmental issues within the City of Saugatuck, the City of the Village of Douglas and the Township of Saugatuck.

“Some recent examples are Township modifications and revisions to the International Fire Code and the Cost Recovery Ordinance.

“Saugatuck and Douglas council members, managers, zoning administrators, the Fire District and citizens stand in opposition to any changes by the Township.

“Mr. Sheridan clearly was a driving force in the unwise decision to modify fire codes and cost recovery ordinances.

“Mr. Sheridan has created trust issues with inter-governmental officials to the degree that numerous officials do not want to meet with him.

“There have been cases where, in my opinion, Mr. Sheridan was deceptive, and mislead appointed and elected officials.

“One example involves a request by Mr. Sheridan for Township Fire Board members to attend a meeting on July 12, 2017 with Mr. Sheridan and other Township administrators. Mr. Sheridan made the statement to Fire Board member Eric Beckman that the Township and the Fire Chief Greg Janik agreed with the recent fire code and cost recovery changes, and that Fire Chief Greg Janik was to attend the meeting. In fact, we were not in agreement and Fire Chief Greg Janik was never invited to the meeting. Chief Janik was out of town attending a training conference.

“On numerous occasions, I witnessed Mr. Sheridan’s extreme disruptive behavior, badly misaligned thinking, gross misinterpretation of ordinances and fire codes, and disrespect for others.

“On February 15, 2017, Mr. Sheridan was so disruptive and disrespectful that Township Clerk Brad Rudich and Township Supervisor Jon Phillips ordered Mr. Sheridan to leave the office and sit in another room. How can the Township tolerate such an ineffective communicator?

“On July 31, 2017, while attending a meeting with two city managers, zoning administrators and Mr. Sheridan, I witnessed incomprehensible responses to a city manager regarding questions to modifications to fire code questions Mr. Sheridan has been working on for seven (7) months. The meeting went so poorly, that both city managers and zoning administrators refused to continue the meeting, and abruptly stood up and walked out.

“Most serious in nature is the increase risks to the citizens, visitors and firefighters of Saugatuck, Douglas and Township by Mr. Sheridan’s actions to dilute Community Risk Reduction.

“Community Risk Reduction is all about a safer community and having an impact on the fire and life safety loss in our community. His lack of understanding of Community Risk Reduction is evident by his actions to manipulate fire codes, life safety practices and Community Risk Reduction.

“In my opinion, Mr. Sheridan does not perceive these essential life safety administrative functions as “value added”.

“It is my belief the Trustees must re-evaluate the professionalism, effectiveness and integrity of Township Manager Aaron Sheridan and find an alternate approach to a manager for the township.”
* * *

Editor’s Note: Township Supervisor Jon Phillips has also apologized to Fire Chief Janik for a joint press release he signed with Rudich after the Feb. 15 meeting that both downplayed and misrepresented Sheridan’s actions that Janik said were accurately reported in the Feb. 14, 2017 Local Observer. Phillips said the press release was an attempt by Rudich & Sheridan to cover-up Sheridan’s inappropriate behavior and Phillips said he was sorry for participating in signing the release.

Township Fire Chief Janik Addresses Township Manager Sheridan’s Misconduct

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