Suing the City of Fraser Can Be Fun and Profitable for Employees

City of Fraser, Michigan (Credit: Thomas LaDuke)

Ahhhhh, Fraser, Michigan. How you are an amusing, white-hot mess of confusion in the county of Macomb! But, you might have some signs of hope breaking on the horizon.

Maybe.

Today begins my breakdown of some of the happenings in the city of Fraser (where I reside) to inform residents of the 2021 election. This information is meant to provide ACTUAL documentation for citizens to make an informed decision before they cast their ballots in November. These documents I will be presenting in this article and others are official from either court or city, and are not a representation of rumor or other idle talks.

Simply to sum it up, these are the real deal — and people saying otherwise are lying, or being lied to and don’t know any better.

Today, I will focus on the most recent lawsuit settled by the city of Fraser against three of its employees back in January of this year. The three ladies that sued their employer, the city of Fraser, were…

City Clerk Kelly Donald.

Parks and Recreations Director Christina Woods.

Information Technolgy Direcotr Michelle Kwiatkowski.

The bare-bones basis of the lawsuit was that the ladies all felt that they should be paid more money than they were currently earning. All three were “at will” employees and could have left the city to work elsewhere, at any time, to earn a more acceptable wage in their eyes. They instead chose to sue the city they worked for.

Two of these three ladies, Kelly and Michelle, had sued the city due to circumstances surrounding a sexual harassment case the city was involved in from a former elected official. That settlement happened back in October of 2019, with Kelly and Michelle each garnering $85,000 each, in a settlement reached by all parties. I wrote about that incident right here at Red State at that time. Sex Harassment Lawsuit Was Just Settled for Close to 300k in Fraser, Michigan. Here Is the Proof.

The wage lawsuit, which was put to bed back in January of this year, paid Kelly and Christina $95,000, and they both agreed to resign their positions with the city. One of the key points here is that they both agreed to R-E-S-I-G-N to get the cash; they were not fired.

Now, before I go on, I want to clarify something for those reading this. I also have Michelle Kwiatkowski’s settlement documents, but will refrain from posting them or commenting on them at this time, due to a pending law enforcement investigation. If you are interested in this, you can of course file a Freedom of Information Act request with the city to receive them at any time.

Here is Kelly Dolland’s paperwork,

and here is Christina Wood’s paperwork

I encourage you to read both documents several times to get a better understanding of what has transpired here. I know that I’m not a lawyer nor pretend to be one, like some in my city, so reading something multiple times for clarity helps.

Here are some of the things that just hit me in my reading of these documents.

*Kelly’s last day of employment with the city was January 22nd, 2021.

*Christina’s was November 18th, 2020.

*Under Terms and Conditions 2-d) Kelly is to receive all outstanding vacation and PTO pay within 30 days of the signature of this agreement.

*They both are required to testify truthfully in the upcoming counter lawsuit the city has filed against former City Manager Wayne O’Neal.

Wayne was the city manager when the ladies filed the lawsuit against the city, and his contract was not renewed by the council when it expired in 2020.

So, in just three years, we have had employees sue the city for a variety of issues that might seem trivial, at best, to those that pay the taxes here in this small community of just under 15,000 people.

Ms. Dolland has won $180,000 from her former employer, and you have some in the city that find that is perfectly acceptable.

Is it?

Whatever side you fall on in this issue, your main concern should be how the city provides the vital services of Public Safety, which in a city this small is Police-Fire-Medic all wrapped into one. With eight officers being cut and city-run dispatch being eliminated in the same time frame as these lawsuits, that service is critical to making sure to stabilize the city.

Hopefully, the citizens of Fraser will take a look at this and the other posts forthcoming to cut through the noise of those who speak without actually knowing, and ask some tough questions of those on council currently and those who wish to be for the next two years.

If you truly want to put ‘Fraser First,’ you need to do this.

NEXT UP: How much did they get paid?