By Charles Sercombe
Hamtramck property owners will be on the hook for paying a lawsuit settlement with former City Manager William Cooper.
Cooper accused the city of breach of contract after being abruptly fired in March of 2012, three years after being given a new contract.
The city agreed to pay Cooper $142,000, said Emergency Manager Cathy Square.
The city has already paid Cooper about $20,000, and property owners will pay the rest. Square said she has not yet calculated what the extra tax millage will be, but it will be on the summer tax roll.
Reached by telephone, Cooper declined to comment.
During Cooper’s last few months on the job his relationship with council became increasingly strained, especially with former City Councilmember Tom Jankowski. Jankowski at one point proposed suspending Cooper for five days without pay.
During this period the city’s financial situation became worse and worse.
The vote to fire him came down to a tie vote, with Mayor Karen Majewski forced to break it. She voted to fire him, along with Councilmembers Jankowski, Mohammed Hassan and Abdul Algazali.
Majewski didn’t comment at the time why she voted to fire Cooper, but later she said she felt he had run out of ideas and energy on how to solve the city’s budget deficit.
Cooper had been on the job for nearly four years.
Those opposed to his firing included Councilmember Cathie Gordon, who warned that the council was firing him without “cause,” and that Cooper will have grounds to sue the city for breach of contract.
Cooper’s firing had also come the day after he fired former City Attorney James Allen (who was given a 30-day notice of termination).
The city council never acted on that firing. Allen was fired once again when the emergency manager took over city management a year ago.
After Cooper’s firing, the council went through three acting city managers, the first two quitting and the last being let go by Emergency Manager Square.
Jankowski decided not to seek re-election, and Gordon and Algazali opted to run for mayor in the last election. Both lost to Majewski, who is now serving her third term.