Township supervisor, board dispute firing lawyer

By: 
Scott Sullivan
“If there was a possible conflict of interest in regard to water issues, then the appropriate response would have been to hire a special attorney for that issue and not remove our longstanding attorney with years of service and knowledge from past litigation,” Wester said.

Saugatuck Township supervisor Bill Wester isn’t happy with how Ron Bultje, the township’s 25-year attorney, was terminated.

Clerk Brad Rudich disputes some of Wester’s claims.

Bultje, a municipal lawyer with Scholten Fant of Grand Haven, was and is also counsel for other governments including neighboring Laketown Township.

At the April 1 Saugatuck Township board meeting, when Wester was on vacation, fellow members voiced concern about Bultje having a conflict of interest representing them in Kalamazoo Lake Sewer and Water Authority negotiations to which Laketown is also party.

The neighbor governments disagree over money involved with extending water to Kingfisher Cove, a 29-home community of log cabins north of Blue Star Highway. Some of its lots lie in Laketown, others in Saugatuck.

Members set a special meeting at noon Monday, April 6, to discuss their concerns about Bultje further. Neither Wester nor trustee Jonathan Phillips attended.

The remaining three board members—Rudich, treasurer Lori Babinski and trustee Roy McIlwaine—voted that day to part ways entirely with Bultje as general counsel.

For full story, pick up a copy of the July 9 Commercial Record or subscribe to the e-edition.

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