A Warren resident who obtained hundreds of emails sent by Warren Mayor Jim Fouts’ appointed executive assistant claims that they show Amanda Mika was temporarily assigned to a civil service post so that she could maintain a City Hall job once Fouts is no longer in office.
Jeannie Williams, a self-described advocate for “special-needs” handicapped children, said she obtained the 416 emails under the Freedom of Information Act. She believes the electronic messages show that Fouts, 74, manipulated the civil service system for the benefit of Mika, 31, who has been linked romantically to the mayor in the past.
The emails in question refer to the time in 2016-17 when Mika transferred to a unionized job in the city Planning Department. After six months, the minimum necessary to establish a track record as an employee with job protections, Mika transferred back to her prior post in Fouts’ office, where she has served as a mayoral appointee.
Williams alleges that the movements back and forth were a scam to allow Mika to maintain City Hall work in the event the controversial mayor is recalled from office in the future or loses re-election in 2019.
According to Williams, who is self-employed, her review shows that 80 percent of the emails written by Mika show that she was doing work for the mayor during that 6-month period, not for the Planning Department.
In a press release, Williams said: “Like many Warren residents, I found it very questionable when Mayor Fouts’ controversial assistant …supposedly left the mayor’s office to take a position in the Planning Department under civil service, only to immediately return to an appointed position with Mayor Fouts after her minimum 6-month period — and her numerous pay raises restored.”
Fouts has so far endured a series of controversies related to audio tapes released in 2016 that reveal the mayor engaged in ugly comments displaying racism, sexism and nasty remarks about handicapped kids. Fouts has claimed the tapes are doctored though an expert has said otherwise. Talk of a recall drive against Fouts has simmered for many months.
As for Mika, she and the mayor stayed in the same hotel during a weekend getaway in Chicago and they were videotaped walking arm-in-arm. Around that same time, critics say they were frequently spotted together at evening events.
The temporary Mika transfer last fall raised eyebrows in City Hall because it involved a huge, voluntary pay cut, from $71,088 to $50,760.
By spending six months as an assistant planner, she earned enough credits to return as an assistant planner if her “at-will” appointed position is eliminated by a subsequent mayor. According to The Macomb Daily, Fouts provided some added protection for Mika in the new city budget – a pay increase for assistant planners from $50,769 to $69,701. That’s a whopping raise of 37 percent, far higher than the 2.5-percent increase granted to hundreds of city workers last month.
Fouts has not yet responded to Williams’ allegations.