MIDDLEVILLE, Mich. — Residents participated in roughly two hours of public comment at a meeting of the Middleville village board. Many called for Middleville village president Amanda Fisk to resign from her position, while others shared they don't believe there should be repercussions, citing her right to free speech.
Fisk became the subject of scrutiny after online statements were made on her personal Facebook page following the death of conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh. She shared an article to her page and laughed about it.
The statements prompted an online petition calling for her immediate removal, with many residents who signed that petition expressing their shock during the village's council meeting on Tuesday night via Zoom.
Watch the full meeting here:
"This is not about your views. Rather, this is about your communication causing division and polarization in our community," said resident Cori Curtis. "It shows a lack of respect and a failure to listen to view points that are different than your own. It demonstrates that you view people who think differently as beneath you and worthy of a painful death."
Others questioned the decision-making process of how Fisk was appointed in January by the board when her predecessor passed away.
"I want to ask the board: How on earth did you let this person become the president of the village?" said another resident by the name of Cory. "I am completely appalled by the fact that you elected this person as the president of the village when she clearly does not represent the values, morals, and principles in this village."
On the other side, residents also argued they supported Fisk's right to freedom of speech, arguing she has the right to say whatever she likes on a personal page that is not associated with the village council.
"I can see a witch mob, a virtual lynch mob, trying to destroy the livelihood over a private Facebook page," said resident Nicholas Janose.
"I find this fabricated outrage and calls for her resignation to be ridiculous," said resident Jennifer Meyer. "I am frankly think [sic] this whole issue has been blown out of proportion."
The majority of village trustees stated they disagreed with Fisk's comments, with one going so far as to call the situation costly and "unnecessary drama."
"I myself agree with the residents. I feel unrepresented," said Trustee Mike Cramer. "We are the moral standard for this community. We need to represent it, and these comments don’t represent the board and most of the views of the citizens."
Fisk had the opportunity at the end of the council meeting to respond to both sides. In doing so, she didn't defend the statement but also said she could not promise she would never make another "knee-jerk reaction."
“I hear the opinions and the thoughts on both sides. I agree; it was a very stupid mistake, no question," said Fisk, who asked that her personal record stand for itself as well. "I have been bipartisan on everything that I have ever done on this council, and I hope to continue doing that moving forward, just as I have for the past two years."
Fisk will be up for re-election in 2022.