Germantown Hills Village Clerk Ann Sasso has become the latest topic of unrest among trustees on the GTH Village Board.

So serious is the issue that GTH Trustee Mike Gaetz tendered his resignation Monday morning, effective immediately. Gaetz said he notified Mayor Kenny Mitchell and village attorney Richard Joseph via email. 

Germantown Hills Village Clerk Ann Sasso has become the latest topic of unrest among trustees on the GTH Village Board.

So serious is the issue that GTH Trustee Mike Gaetz tendered his resignation Monday morning, effective immediately. Gaetz said he notified Mayor Kenny Mitchell and village attorney Richard Joseph via email.  

“What caused me to resign is watching people make (Sasso) feel the way she feels. We have employees in the village who want to unionize because they don’t feel they will be well treated by the personnel committee, headed by Clark Hopkins,” Gaetz told the Woodford Times.  

On Saturday, Gaetz and fellow GTH Village Board Trustee Terry Quinn said Sasso’s job may be on the line because  Hopkins has a hostile attitude toward her.

Sasso — an 18-year employee of the village, 16 as village clerk — had no comment on this story.
Quinn and Gaetz said this is a serious issue because Hopkins is chairman of the personnel committee and will be involved in Sasso’s employee review.  

Hopkins, on Saturday over the phone, dismissed the accusation of hostility against Sasso as “innuendo,” adding Quinn is “out of whack.”  On Monday, Hopkins asked that his comments of Saturday be considered off the record and his official comment be changed to “No comment.” The Woodford Times did not comply with that request.

While Hopkins denies he is after Sasso, his son-in-law Scott McCoy said Monday he is running an active investigation on Sasso. But, McCoy said, his father-in-law has nothing to do with it.

“I have no idea of anything between (Sasso) and (Hopkins). I know he is head of the personnel committee. I don’t work for him. He doesn’t work for me,” McCoy said.  

Principal among their proof of alleged hostility against Sasso offered by Quinn and Gaetz is an Oct. 22, 2010, email. Hopkins accidentally sent the email to Sasso. It was in response to an  email Sasso sent to trustees telling them Hopkins, trustee John Ford, and she were recommending Dori Paule for the vacant position of treasurer.

Hopkins’ reply email stated, “Damn it ... when’s Ann going to get it ... she is a secretary and clerk ... NOT A TRUSTEE!!”

Hopkins said the Oct. 22, 2010, message was a result of him working on two computers at the same time. “I did not have time to clean it up,” Hopkins said.

On Aug. 30, 2009, there were a series of emails between Hopkins, Mayor Kenny Mitchell, village attorney Richard Joseph and Quinn. Quinn emailed Trustee John Ford stating, in part, “I know from things that Clark said to me during the employee reviews that he is probably not happy with Ann. I’m pretty sure it is because Ann and his wife, Pam, had a spat a couple of weeks ago when Ann was trying to get a meeting with Clark.”

Quinn and Gaetz said Hopkins has vehemently denied having a hostile attitude toward Sasso.

Hopkins expressed the same to the Woodford Times on Saturday.

“Do I have anything against Ann Sasso? You cannot fire a person without a documented history. She has never had a bad review, even from me,” Hopkins said. “No one is out to fire Ann Sasso. I have no agenda.”

Quinn and Gaetz said they wondered  why then Hopkins’ son-in-law Scott McCoy, a Pontiac resident and former mayor of that city, has submitted numerous Freedom Of Information Act requests concerning Sasso.

On March 28, McCoy sent an FOIA request for the time sheets for Sasso for July, September and October 2008, and February 2009.

McCoy, who by April 4, was in the midst of a legal battle with Germantown Hills over content on the village website which his company created and administers under contract for the village, requested:

• Sasso’s time sheets for January, February and March 2011, as well as November 2010.

•All employment contracts/agreements/ordinances for Sasso and/or the village secretary position which Sasso currently holds, including wage/salary information, and job description/duties.

• Legal description for the Germantown Hills “Village Clerk,” including wages and duties.

On April 12 and April 20, McCoy sent a FOIA request for Sasso’s time sheet for the week of April 1-7, 2011.

On April 20, McCoy also sent a FOIA request for Sasso’s resume, application, and all other documents submitted for employment.

McCoy requested Sasso’s time sheet for the week of March 25 to March 31, 2011, and records for Sasso’s employment (such as secretarial and zoning duties) for the following totals (for current FY to date):
(a) total regular compensation paid (non-overtime)
(b) total overtime paid
(c) total vacation time paid
(d) total personal/sick time taken.

McCoy also requested records for Sasso’s employment for FY 2010, and FY 2008, indicating total compensation paid by the village to Sasso.

Quinn said the law does not allow him to question a person’s motives for making a FOIA request.

He said those who view these requests should make their own judgement on why McCoy, the son-in-law of Hopkins and a resident of Pontiac, has such an interest in Sasso.

McCoy, on Monday, said it would be “stupid” for anyone to think he was investigating Sasso for his father-in-law. He said Hopkins would have far more access to information than he would.

McCoy said Sasso is the target of an investigation he is heading for his “news agency.” He said he plans a story in the coming weeks.

“I’m in town about once a week. I’ve heard a lot of things. I hear things I can’t let go by. I decided to look into it,” McCoy said.

“We will soon be releasing information on Sasso. It will be a surprise to (Hopkins). He may be pi**** about it because he is head of the personnel committee.”

McCoy said he will be releasing information Hopkins is likely not aware of.

He also had an unsolicited comment about Quinn.

“Quinn is a total ass. I can’t stand to work with people who are threatening me ... He’s a target in my eyes.”

Gaetz and Quinn brought this issue to a head after Hopkins failed to post the agenda for a personnel committee meeting last Thursday.

The board at its April 14 meeting resolved to move up the date of the next meeting of the village board personnel committee to allow current trustees the chance to weigh in on a possible change to the village’s employee review process before new trustees are sworn in.

Quinn and Gaetz said the personnel committee was to meet Monday to discuss, among other things, Sasso’s employee review.

The Monday date was important to them because on May 12 Gaetz would have no longer been a village board member, having been defeated in this month’s election.

Hopkins said after agreeing at the April 21 meeting to have the personnel committee meeting on April 25, he changed his mind.  

Hopkins said he canceled the meeting because there were only two agenda items to discuss.

“I am a big proponent of not having meetings with no action items. I did not see an action item here,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins said he and Trustee Ford would conduct the employee reviews before the end of the village’s fiscal year.

He said they would be completed by the end of May.

“A hostile workplace is being created,” Quinn said. Gaetz said he agrees.

“(The personnel committee) should not be able to a do a performance review, based on this hostility. My feeling is every employee is entitled to a fair review,” Quinn said.

“Judges recuse themselves when there is even a hint of conflict. Clark should recuse himself. (Sasso) can’t get a fair review from Clark.”

Gaetz said, “Ann is intimidated.”

Quinn added, “Ann has a target on her back.”