Controversy erupts in the village of Oakley - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Controversy erupts in the village of Oakley

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SAGINAW COUNTY (WJRT) -

(04/08/14) - There is big controversy in the small village of Oakley, in Saginaw County.

Oakley is losing its insurance this summer, and it stems around lawsuits filed against the village, its leaders and the police department.

Calling this a divided town would be an understatement. At a board meeting Tuesday, people were split in half - some supporting the police department, others backing up a family filing lawsuits against the department.

Oakley's board meeting was more of a screaming match, Tuesday night.

The Michigan municipal league is canceling Oakley's insurance.

Why? The board is debating that.

They say it's because of several lawsuits filed against the Village and police department. A few others say it's also because the police department and Chief Robert Reznick have been uncooperative with the municipal league.

Most of the lawsuits against Oakley and its leaders come from the Bitterman family. They own a tavern in town.

"An employee came to us and said she was being harassed at work. She said it was Chief Reznick," said Shannon Bitterman.

They're also taking issue with the village police reserve and how they handle issues in town.

The reserve receives donations, and the board says those donations are a big part of the village budget.

"They donate it, it comes to us as donations," said Doug Shindorf, Oakley Board President.

Many aren't happy about that.

Back to the insurance problem - Trustee Francis Koski asked the board to disband the police department to show future insurance carriers that, what he calls their biggest source of liability, is now gone.

The board voted against dissolving the department.

"We need insurance, we can't be without it," Koski said.

Their insurance with the Michigan Municipal League will end on July 1. They are shopping for other insurance carriers in the meantime.

The police chief was not at the meeting, Tuesday.

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