By Jessica Mathews /

The City of Howell has updated its policy on discrimination and harassment.

Council met Monday night, where Mayor Nick Proctor commended City Manager Erv Suida and Human Resources Director Jamie Helman on the updates. Proctor said he thinks it’s a good piece of policy and complimented both.

Proctor said he’s very comfortable with the policy. He said it has different avenues of reporting, with pretty much HR being the central point, and then with the Clerk being a point for anything that would need to come to council to keep them in the loop on things. Proctor further highlighted that all elected officials are included as they are considered employees of the City.

The policy changes were prompted by the resignation of former City Manager Paul DeBuff in May. Suida was the previous DPS Director and had served as the interim city manager for the year leading up to DeBuff being hired. No information was released as to just what led to DeBuff’s departure other than the original statement that he had lost the confidence of city staff after “implementing a very rapid succession of changes.” Following the resignation, Proctor sought Council’s support to “hopefully prevent a recurrence of the recent unpleasantries” with a review of the city’s whistleblower polices.

At the time, Proctor said he hoped it would preclude a future mayor and council from being blind-sided. He noted that staff was required to work through the City’s organizational structure and not go outside to Council with any concerns - which Proctor said presented a problem with what had been witnessed and concerns from staff presented. That led to a staff review of whistleblower policies and the proposed changes to clearly articulate how to report issues of concern.