West Bloomfield board members accused of discrimination; recall papers filed

Three members of the West Bloomfield board are accused of discrimination against Chaldeans and African-Americans.

Recall petitions have been filed and some residents' frustrations were high at Monday's city meeting.

"Catherine Shaughnessy, you are a joke," said resident Jim Manna. "Shame on you for all the things you said about our community.

"They aren't allegations, they are true." 

Clerk Catherine Shaughnessy has been at the center of claims she called Chaldeans among other things, crooks.

She has denied the allegations.

"There is no proof, so we need to get to the truth," she said at the meeting. 

Count  Charlene Mitchell-Rodgers as one of the residents fed up with the situation.

"The board is a hot mess," said Rodgers, who has been a resident for nearly 30 years. "When we watch these meetings it is like watching one of the 'Real Housewives' reality shows. 

"I am almost ashamed to say I voted for some of these people."

Now, she wants them out, filing recall petitions to remove board members Shaughnessy, Howard Rosenberg and Lawrence Brown last week.

"They have been having closed meetings, which violates the Open Meetings Act of employees."

Some residents called in Detroit activist Malik Shabazz for Monday's meeting in case things got out of hand.

"We're in the 21st century, we're in 2015," he said. "At some point as human beings we have to get this thing right. People are people. We all need each other - black, white, orange, polka-dot." 

Another allegation of racism includes pictures of monkeys around one employee's workspace, which is also being denied. 

The board decided Monday to start a Diversity Committee to examine the claims of discrimination and racism.

A hearing will be held next week about the petitions and if approved, 4,000 signatures would be needed for each board member to have them removed. 

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