By Charles Sercombe
Mayor Karen Majewski took an action she doesn’t do very often.
The mayor removed one of her appointees, Bill Meyer, from his position on the Hamtramck Human Relations Commission. Meyer was the chairman of the commission.
Majewski said she removed Meyer because of ongoing concerns she had about his leadership and comments he’s made.
She also cited his conversation with The Review staff and threat to start a new local paper if this newspaper didn’t open up to other opinions. Meyer was told The Review always welcomes letters and guest editorials.
“I removed Bill because of a long-term pattern of behavior that caused me to lose confidence in his commitment to the commission’s mission, culminating in his acting unilaterally, outside the bounds of the commission’s mandate and its procedure,” Majewski said in an e-mail.
“For some time, I’ve been hearing complaints and personally witnessed behavior that suggested a lack of sensitivity to discrimination based on religion, race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation. Serious questions were also brought to me by fellow commissioners about the election of officers over which he presided.
“Finally, he acted outside his authority by threatening The Hamtramck Review, undermining the commission’s purpose of promoting understanding through mediation and education, and overstepping the bounds of his position by acting as the chair of the commission without the agreement or knowledge of the entire commission.”
Meyer and his supporters lashed out at the mayor at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
Meyer said the mayor essentially removed her for “political” reasons.
“ ‘Overstepping my bounds’ referred more to my growing public disillusionment with the current administration and its abusive use of power than to any improper behavior with the commission,” Meyer said in a prepared statement he read to the council.
“I’ve always known that political divisiveness was the poison preventing our community from growing together, but as chair of the Human Relations Commission, I actually believed we would be able to overcome this obstacle and find an avenue for common ground. I remained publicly neutral for a long time although I had serious concerns about certain public officials who were acting in their own best interests for political power.”
Meyer also said he did not “threaten” The Review newspaper and characterized his discussion with the staff as “a calm discussion with reason.” He added that he had a recording of the conversation and would play it if anyone was interested.
If it is true that Meyer has a recording, he may have violated state law. Meyer did not notify The Review staff that he was recording the conversation nor did he openly display a recording device.
A complaint is being filed with the Police Department.
In place of Meyer as the chairman of the commission is Ibrahim Aljahim.