Township claims former employee’s candidacy violates agreement
Jun. 25, 2020 PLYMOUTH EAGLE.
Plymouth Michigan News
Plymouth Township officials claim that a former deputy township clerk is breaching the contract she signed as a condition of her severance.
Sandra Groth is a candidate for township clerk and her name will appear on the Aug. 4 Primary Election ballot. Groth, formerly a township employee, filed her petition to replace current Clerk Jerry Vorva this past January. After a years-long absence, Groth was appointed by Vorva to the deputy clerk position in 2017 and she served in that capacity for 2- 1/2 years.
Vorva and Township Supervisor Kurt Heise said when Groth’s candidacy became public, they asked township labor attorney John Clark to render a legal opinion regarding the status of the severance agreement. Clark reportedly claimed Groth violated the separation agreement, by declaring her candidacy and he subsequently sent two letters to her in care of her (at-one-time) attorney.
According to Heise, legal action is a possibility.
Neither Heise nor Vorva would disclose the terms of Groth’s separation or discuss the nature of any grievance.
“Running for office is the same as seeking employment,” Heise said.” By virtue of his position, the township supervisor is responsible for all contracts and labor agreements.” Vorva and Heise both allege Groth is now making disparaging remarks about them on social media.
Groth posted “…The reality is that Supervisor Heise spent taxpayer funds to have the Township labor attorney threaten to have me removed from the ballot and threatened me further by suggesting additional legal action against me if I continue my candidacy…”
Heise, who bristled at those comments, denied there was any attempt to take Groth off the ballot. He said the purpose of the separation agreement “was to have an amicable separation with Sandy.”
“I take that seriously and it’s not true that she accuses me of using taxpayer money to retain a lawyer. She has violated one of the terms of the agreement. No one has made any attempt to take her off the ballot.”
Vorva, who would not comment on Groth’s past performance record, says she is making “allegations in the public domain that that we’re using taxpayer money to remove her from the ballot, and disparaging comments about my fight with cancer.”
In a conversation with the Eagle, Groth acknowledged she resigned “under duress” and claimed she did not breach any agreement. She would not discuss the reasons for her exit.
“That’s not what it said,” referring to the officials’ claim of disparagement, “That’s wrong. I didn’t breach the agreement.
“Everyone has a constitutional right to run for office. That’s not disparaging–that’s fact.” Groth said.
Photo: © Don Howard / Associated Newspapers