Should he stay or should he go?Published 9:02am Thursday, April 15, 2010
By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star
Monday night’s meeting of the Niles Township Board of Trustees will be the first since one of its own, Michael Bailey, pleaded guilty to charges of indecent exposure.
One question that is on many minds: Will Bailey resign?
“I think he should resign,” Township Clerk Marge Durm-Hiatt said. “I think it’s a disgrace to the board and the office.”
Bailey was in court Friday afternoon and was sentenced to two years probation for an incident reported to the Michigan State Police on Feb. 26.
According to court documents, Bailey was arrested and released on $500 bond. Those documents define the count of indecent exposure as Bailey “did knowingly make an open or indecent exposure of his or her person.”
Judge Scott Schofield listened to an account of the incident in question spoken by Bailey, verifying with the defendant that his “penis was exposed and (the victim) could have felt it or seen it.”
Durm-Hiatt said she has received “many phone calls and emails” from township residents upset about the situation inquiring as to whether or not Bailey has resigned.
Due to the fact that Bailey has been charged with a misdemeanor, Durm-Hiatt said there was not much to be done to remove Bailey from the board; however, she also said she believed a recommendation would be made to remove him as liaison to the parks board.
Niles Township Treasurer Jim Ringler said most of the board members learned about Bailey’s legal woes through the local news.
Because the charge is not considered legally serious enough to force a removal of the trustee, Ringler said, “It’s Michael Bailey’s decision as to whether he should resign or not.”
But he added he believes the community will show how they feel regarding his position with the board.
“Serving on the Niles Township Board, being elected to that board is a privileged and honorable position to have,” Ringler said. “I think what he pleaded guilty to, in my opinion, I would have a hard time understanding how he could feel he could (represent) this township.”
Prosecutor Steve Periangeli said the case remains open as Bailey is ordered to serve out the conditions of his probation.
Another question being asked is just how Bailey came to face a charge of indecent exposure as opposed to criminal sexual misconduct based on the details of the case.
The Star has not elaborated on those details in continuing to protect the identity of Bailey’s victim.
Periangeli said the matter comes down to the legislature.
Though it’s unclear just how the decision was made to charge Bailey with the misdemeanor.
“On any case we just look at the facts of the case and of the file,” Periangeli said.
Asked if he was comfortable with the sentencing of Bailey, Periangeli declined comment and referred the Star to prosecutor Mary Malewski.
As for the board, Monday night’s meeting could be met with significant community attendance.
“If I was in his shoes, I would certainly feel I betrayed the community who elected me to that board,” Ringler said.