Members of South Lyon’s City Council have come under fire after questions during interviews for an open council seat drew concerns about transparency and impropriety.

Council held a special meeting Thursday and after publicly interviewing four applicants, appointed Stephen Kennedy to fill a vacant seat. However questions asked of certain candidates during the interview process have led to some backlash. At council’s Monday meeting, applicant Joyce Clohosey spoke during public comment to say she felt degraded by councilman Carl Richards’ persistent questioning about whether or not she had just had a baby. Clohosey says, “My reproductive history was of concern to our government instead of my employment or education history or what I have to offer. This is a degrading, over-simplification of my value as a woman in our community.” Clohosey also called out Mayor Dan Pelchat, who she says laughed during Richards’ line of questioning and that he never “gaveled” Richards to control him.

Richards apologized prior to Clohosey’s comments and Pelchat offered one as well at the end of the meeting. Pelchat apologized to “…anyone who was insulted by the process or the questions from last Thursday.” Pelchat says there was no excuse for his reaction, it is regrettable, and that “it wasn’t a good look”. Regarding controlling Richards, Pelchat did respond to say Richards was appointed by the community and that he will not censor him. He says they’ll both use it as a learning experience and hopefully move forward and be better for it.

Still, Clohosey felt there was another question that required clarity. She also addressed a question asked by Councilmember Mary Parisien, who inquired as to whether Clohosey had any personal or business relationships with anyone on council. Clohosey said she did not and maintains that is the truth, but felt Parisien targeted her. Councilmember Margaret Kurtzweil also felt the question was inappropriate and says it revealed Parisien’s “bigotry”. Kurtzweil says the interview process was “flawed and unfair” because the applicants were not all asked the same questions.

But Parisien says red flags were raised when she noticed Clohosey’s campaign flyers were almost identical to those used by two other current council members. Parisien says if the three ran as a package deal and formed an alliance, it meant three like-minds on the board that could vote similarly. She says that led her to ask about potential relationships for transparency purposes and believes Clohosey lied on the record about a friendship with council member Rose Walton. Parisien says if Clohosey lied in the interview, she wondered what else she’d lie about on council, adding that her “credibility is shot”. Parisien chastised Walton for not correcting Clohosey on the status of the relationship during the interview. Walton responded to say she wouldn’t “entertain the conversation” with Parisien. (DK)