A Manistee County jury says the Manistee- Benzie Community Mental Health Board did not violate the state's whistleblower protection law in the case of Michael Moran. The board fired Moran, the long time director of the agency, in a sudden vote that some members didn't even know about until it was brought up during a public meeting.
Moran had written a letter threatening to report that Manistee and Benzie County Commissions were failing to pay their fair share of costs for mental health services. And in his suit he charged that some of the board met privately to conspire to fire him before he could make his report. The board's attorney says he drew up the letter to concoct a whistleblower case when he saw his employment was in question.
Circuit Judge James Batzer still will rule on whether the board violated open meetings rules. Earlier the judge said there was not enough evidence for the jury to decide whether the board breached Moran's employment contract and he threw out that part of the case.