‘Come to your own conclusion’: Delta County commissioners given the opportunity to explain their vote to fire administrator

This is a recording of the TV6 Early News.
Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 6:51 PM EST
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ESCANABA, Mich. (WLUC) - Delta County Commissioners had a public chance to explain their vote to fire the county administrator.

Commissioner Steven Viau added an agenda item at the start of Tuesday night’s Delta County board meeting. It gave all five commissioners a chance to explain how they voted on the firing of Administrator Emily DeSalvo last month.

But the three who voted to fire DeSalvo did not go into detail. In her 10-minute speech last month, just before she was fired, Desalvo explained she was concerned with the board’s decision to dissolve the ethics committee and said commissioners told her not to express her concerns.

Commissioner Viau, one of the newest on the board, was one of the two who voted against firing DeSalvo.

“I had nothing but a positive relationship, professionally, with our administrator,” said Viau.

Commissioner John Malnar also voted against the firing, saying he doesn’t understand why his colleagues keep saying they’re “moving in a different direction.”

“Not one time has anybody, any one of the commissioners, come up and said, ‘this is the direction we’re moving,’” said Malnar. “And I still don’t know what direction we’re moving in.”

Commissioner Robert Petersen was one of the three who voted to fire DeSalvo. Also a new commissioner this year, he said he believes talking about why someone was fired violates their rights.

“I would just say, at this point in time, watch the YouTube video, honestly, of that meeting and come to your own conclusion,” said Petersen.

Commissioner David Moyle says he didn’t go into that meeting planning to fire anyone.

“I was expecting a discussion on the contract,” said Moyle. “People are welcome to their own opinions. That’s the way it goes.”

Commissioner Bob Barron made the motion to fire DeSalvo.

“We are moving in a different direction,” said Barron. “That’s it. Thank you.”

Malnar, again, asked which direction they were moving. Barron did not respond.

DeSalvo emailed TV6, saying she doesn’t have a comment right now. But she thanks the county employees for all their hard work.

County commissioners will schedule a special meeting to review the county administrator’s job description before hiring a candidate.

Last night, the board approved interim County Administrator Ashleigh Young’s contract requests. That included job security and a $384.62 per day pay increase. A formal contract still needs to be written.

Read more about Tuesday night’s meeting here.