Musk Hts councilman wants new evaluations

Muskegon Heights Police Chief Lynn Gill addresses the City Council meets. (Aug. 25, 2014)

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Muskegon Heights city council member is calling for public evaluations of every city department head from the city manager to the police chief, but others on the council say current evaluations are enough.

Eddie Jenkins III, elected to the council in November 2013, brought up the idea to his fellow council members in a pre-meeting work session and then again in the full meeting.

“I would like to definitely have an evaluation of our departments and see what type of plan we can come with to see a better future for the Heights,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins said the need for is great to have brand new evaluations that would be made public for every department head. He told 24 Hour News 8 he came up with the idea after the seventh murder in five months.

Top, left to right: Marquis Gresham, Robert Lee Dawson, Rayshun Day and Jake Rameau. Bottom, left to right: Dmetrius Washington, Sandra Detty and Dequarius Love.
(The seven people killed in Muskegon Heights since April. Top left to right: Marquis Gresham, Robert Lee Dawson, Rayshun Day and Jake Rameau. Bottom left to right: Dmetrius Washington, Sandra Detty and Dequarius Love.)

The idea didn’t seem to gain much traction with fellow board members.

When asked what the harm would be in having an additional evaluation, Mayor Darrell Paige said, “There’s no harm. [Jenkins] has a right to ask for that and do it as a council person and I think we all do that.”

Paige went on to say that department heads already have formal evaluations yearly, and that nothing is stopping Jenkins from going to individual department heads now and asking them questions.

“I think everyone is trying to do their jobs and we’ve just been inundated,” said Paige. He said he believes that all of the department heads are “doing a good job. I back them fully.”

He said he believes that Muskegon Heights is going in the right direction.

Jenkins disagreed, saying that in order for the city to thrive, changes may need to happen.

“I guess what I would have to say about that is when you ride around Muskegon Heights, do you see it looking like that? Do you see that? You gotta realize that the citizens aren’t the only ones to blame with making it look the way it is. … Look at it like this: If you’re the parent of the home, the kids can only trash it so long before you clean it up and have to really supervise your kids and become a real parent,” said Jenkins. “We have to really be leaders at this point. Step it up.”

Jenkins said it’s something he can’t do alone. He said as long as he’s in his position, he will keep bringing the idea up until it becomes a reality.

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