HARRISON – After the Clare County Board of Commissioners approved its agenda and minutes of Oct. 19, the Nov. 9 meeting moved on to General Public Comment. That’s when it got interesting.
Shirley Milliken rose, introduced herself, and dove into her reason for speaking to the board. Milliken said she just lost her job with Meals on Wheels – which she loved.
“And it was over candy,” she said, going on to explain that upon arriving at work one morning, a lady told her there was a bunch of candy on the counter, that she had taken “a bunch” and encouraged Milliken to take some also. So, she did.
“The lady who was handing out candy was standing over there, and she seen me taking candy,” Milliken said. “And she said, ‘What are you doing?’”
When Milliken said she was taking some candy, she was told it was for “staff.” To which Milliken said, “Well, aren’t I a staff?”
Milliken said she should have asked if it was all right to take some candy, and acknowledged she was remiss on that point. Then she had told the lady to smile once in a while, and walked out to the parking lot where she talked to her co-workers.
That is when Milliken said the lady came out yelling at her, pointed a finger in Milliken’s face and told her she had taken more candy than she was supposed to. Milliken said she also was accused of opening up a bunch of bags of candy, which she promptly denied. Milliken then said the candy she did have was in her car and did the lady want to see it?
However, when the lady looked over what was in the car, Milliken said the lady claimed she had taken more candy than was in the car.
“I said ‘No I didn’t,’” Milliken said. “But there was no telling her any different; she was just calling me a liar. So, I was stressed out so bad, I said ‘I’m 73, I don’t need this. I love this job, I love my people, but I’m going to finish this route and I’m done.’”
She went on to indicate mistreatment of people at the center.
“I lost my job – a job that I loved – and all the people,” Milliken said. “And I just want you people to know what happened.”
Jess McClaughry, Greenwood Township supervisor, spoke to offer a statement of support.
“In Harrison, there is an employer that should not complain about keeping and retaining employees,” he said. “When you’ve got good employees and bad management, it’s a bad combination. That’s all I’m going to say.”
During the second Public Comment, more support for Milliken came from Don Kolander, who worked for Senior Services for years.
“They need all the help they can get over there,” he said. “And it sounds like they might need some management training.” Gesturing toward Milliken, he added, “She’s a great woman, she worked her butt off for years over there. She’s got a lot of clients who are going to miss her. They need her bad, and I’m here to support her.”
The board took no action other than to hear out what Milliken and her supporters had to say.
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