St. Johns City Commission responds to former mayor’s allegations

(City of St. Johns, MI)
Published: May. 24, 2023 at 7:35 AM EDT
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ST. JOHNS Mich. (WILX) - The St. Johns City Commission issued a statement regarding the former mayor’s allegations and reasons for resigning from the position.

Former St. Johns Mayor Roberta Cocco resigned at a City Commission meeting on April 24, 2023, citing “the reluctance of staff to provide me with the basic information and material necessary to perform my duty, as well as their reluctancy to share standard processes, communication norms or financial records, and I was surprised that my inquiries were met with hostility.”

Cocco was elected to office in December 2022. Her term was set to expire in November 2026.

“We respect Ms. Cocco’s right to share her perceptions of her time as mayor,” said the City Commission.” Some of her statements, however, do a disservice to the residents of St. Johns because they contain significant misinformation.”

According to the City Commission, Cocco accused Kristina Kinde, treasurer and city manager, of giving herself a five percent raise during the City Commission meeting on April 4. She also requested that Kinde be reprimanded or removed for using “profane and obscene language.”

The City Commission said the former city manager recommended a five percent pay increase effective July 1 for all director-level staff, and it was discussed at the Commission’s personnel committee on February 16. They said Cocco was present for the meeting and did not ask questions.

The City Commission said they support Kinde and do not intend to remove a City employee based on “unsubstantiated” rumors and accusations.

“Through a challenging time that has included adversarial demands, accusations of insubordination, and allegations of improper behavior, Ms. Kinde has remained committed to her job duties and performed them with professionalism,” said the City Commission.

Cocco claimed she resigned in part because she could not achieve a majority among the Commissioners—The City Commission said Cocco was elected by a majority vote and frequently had support from a majority of the Commissioners.

“As elected officials, we are bound by a certain amount of decorum and will not attempt to address each of Ms. Cocco’s grievances,” said the City Commission. “But when she continues to accuse our staff of actions that did not occur, paint a picture that she had no support from the other Commissioners, or influence community information with incomplete information, we feel compelled to provide residents with the facts.”

See the full statement from the City Commission on Facebook.

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