August 16, 2022

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Muskegon County board votes towards censuring GOP commissioner Zach Lahring for ‘harassing’ on the internet posts

MUSKEGON, MI – The Muskegon County Board of Commissioners voted in opposition to a motion to censure Commissioner Zach Lahring on Tuesday, July 13, more than his derogatory Facebook posts towards the board’s chair, including 1 that known as him “a little queer with a shoe fetish.”

Lahring, who is chair of the Muskegon County Republican Get together, produced two Facebook posts final month about Republican board Chair Bob Scolnik that some uncovered offensive, especially to the LGBTQ+ neighborhood.

The board, assembly as the human expert services committee, voted 5-4 Tuesday in opposition to a motion to censure Lahring.

Democrat Susie Hughes joined Republican Commissioners Malinda Pego, Doug Brown, Kim Cyr and Lahring in voting towards the censure motion. Scolnik alongside with Democrats Charles Nash, Rillastine Wilkins and Hovey-Wright voted to approve it.

Numerous commissioners expressed disapproval with the disrespectful nature of Lahring’s posts, but not necessarily the censure.

Hughes said she couldn’t vote to censure Lahring since she felt no one experienced provided Lahring an possibility to change his habits initially.

“I place the blame on each and every one of us, simply because if we experienced a issue with what was currently being posted on somebody’s Fb webpage, we need to chat to them,” she mentioned. “Nobody gave him an prospect to change, and no one gave him an chance to straighten out what he performed.”

Lahring did not back again down from his social media posts, calling his personal Fb web page “satire.”

“My Facebook website page is my business enterprise,” Lahring said. “There’s no one I haven’t offended at 1 position or another, and I will most likely carry on to do so.”

The proposal was initial released by Commissioner Marcia Hovey-Wright for the duration of the board’s July 29 assembly, and the board voted to deliver it to the human providers committee for thing to consider. The proposal known as Lahring’s Fb posts “disrespectful” to Scolnik and “damaging” to Muskegon County.

Lahring’s June 23 Fb post referencing Scolnik study, “who understood the minimal queer experienced a shoe fetish.” The post integrated photographs of Scolnik dressed in a blond wig for a charity event and holding a pink shoe from the Skip Michigan competitors for which he was a judge.

The movement censuring Lahring claimed his Facebook posts “diminished the public’s self confidence in their elected officers and negatively impacts the reputation of Muskegon County as a full.” It also settled that the board will establish a social media coverage that commissioners have to adhere to to retain the public’s belief in the Muskegon County Board of Commissioners.

“This was one of a number of Fb posts built by Commissioner Lahring that are discriminatory to many categories of individuals guarded by the Elliott Larsen Civil Legal rights Act,” the censure motion mentioned.

A censure is a non-binding official expression of disapproval of a person’s actions. Hovey-Wright called it a “public shaming.”

Commissioner Doug Brown explained even though he does not condone Lahring’s posts, they do not warrant the want to censure the commissioner.

“This is up to the voters,” Brown claimed. “I really do not condone what he mentioned, but there are outcomes for his actions, and that’s likely to be up to the voters of Muskegon County.”

Hovey-Wright stated Lahring’s posts ended up “denigrating to the complete LGBTQ+ group,” and that commissioners experienced read from some people today who reported they ended up canceling vacations to Muskegon as a outcome.

Scolnik claimed Lahring’s submit made Muskegon County “a laughingstock.” In reaction to some phone calls that it is not the board’s work to keep an eye on personalized Fb pages, Scolnik mentioned the commissioners have a obligation to contact out inappropriate actions.

“When people say it is not our company to censure anyone, I disagree,” he explained. “Somebody requirements to stand up and say some thing.”

More than a dozen Muskegon County inhabitants spoke out both for and towards the censure motion through public remark Tuesday. Quite a few residents on the two sides of the problem argued that the scenario was divisive – but some imagined Lahring’s posts were divisive, while other folks thought the divisiveness stemmed from the censure motion.

Fruitport resident Ellen Beal known as Lahring’s posts “an embarrassment” to the district. She stated voting to censure Lahring would mail a powerful message that all citizens and companies are welcome in Muskegon County.

“I am asking commissioners to speak up and support the voiceless in our neighborhood, the marginalized teams, minority folks, the LGBT neighborhood, that also have been attacked needlessly by Commissioner Lahring’s ‘jokes,’” Beal stated.

Some residents reported commissioners really should not be held accountable for what they submit on their own Fb web pages.

“If he had (posted it) on the county fee web page, that would be a thing distinctive,” explained Sandy Kempf, of North Muskegon. “Censuring him for his own Facebook webpage is incorrect. I feel it hinders his flexibility of speech.”

Lahring signifies Fruitport, Sullivan and Ravenna townships on the county board.

A day after the “shoe fetish” post, Lahring place on Facebook yet another article that bundled a image of Muskegon Mayor Steve Gawron kissing Scolnik on the cheek with the phrases, “Eather (cq) somthing (cq) went terribly erroneous with the vaccine or its lgbtQai+Bobby time of 12 months yet again.”

Dozens of protestors showed up to the June 29 board assembly to categorical their unhappiness with Lahring, chanting “Muskegon, we’re under assault. It is time to recall Zach.” Some held up signals with visuals of Facebook posts he experienced made they deemed offensive.

Linked: Censure discussions get started versus Muskegon County commissioner as protesters connect with for his elimination at?v=bKSiD9WSqIk

Extra on MLive:

County formal who exhibited, wore Trump hat for the duration of conferences target of grievance

Racist or ‘cancel culture’ satire? Muskegon County commissioner’s Facebook posts develop debate

Muskegon County board chair requests investigation into ‘harassing’ on the web posts by fellow GOP commissioner