Friday, March 30, at 11 a.m., Eaton County Circuit Court judge, John Maurer, presided over a legal dispute involving Potterville City Manager, Wanda Darrow, and Potterville City councilman, Dustin Twichell. Due to a largely personal conflict, which both Darrow and Twichell identified as spanning several years ago, Darrow requested a personal protection order (PPO) against councilman Twichell for what she, and several others, have described as “belligerent,” “harsh,” “intimidating,” and “concerning” behavior.
During the Friday hearing, Darrow began to describe to Judge Maurer the circumstances that led her to request the PPO against Twichell. In the few minutes she was allotted for her testimony, Darrow described one of two specific scenarios in which she felt threatened by councilman Twichell.
The first, heard briefly by Judge Maurer, involved a situation on Monday, March 19 in which councilman Twichell arrived at Potterville City Hall to acquire documents he believed were wrongly being withheld from him, and other council members. By Twichell’s own recount, the city manager, and by extension the city clerk, were under the direction of city council to provide the document in question by a specific date and time. When the documents were not sent, Twichell called City Hall to make an inquiry. When his inquiry was met with resistance, Twichell decided to visit City Hall in person.
Upon arriving at City Hall, Twichell encountered Darrow, who was leaving to visit the bank. According to Darrow, she made it clear that she was leaving the office for about an hour, but would be back later to address any business Twichell felt pressing. Her departure was met with resistance from Twichell, a resistance that set the tone for the rest of the day at City Hall. It was unclear by any of the testimonials of the day whether or not Twichell acquired the documents.
After briefly hearing Twichell’s own side of the story, Judge Maurer turned back to Darrow.
“How has he threatened you?” asked the judge.
After hearing Darrow’s short reply, the judge dismissed the hearing and request for a PPO due to lack of substantial evidence for physical or verbal threat.
“You may not like the way he’s doing his job, but that’s for the voters to decide,” said Judge Maurer.
The second scenario, not heard in the March 30 hearing, occurred later the same evening of March 19, however. Part two of this story will be published in the April 14 edition of the County Journal.