Kleinjans claims ‘political pressure’ from Ottawa Impact left him unemployed

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OTTAWA COUNTY — Just a week after starting his new job, Chris Kleinjans was fired from his old one. 

Kleinjans won a seat on the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners on May 7, defeating Ottawa Impact-backed incumbent Lucy Ebel in a recall election. He took office to represent District 2 on May 28. One week later, on June 4, he was fired from his role with the local MSU Extension.

The county pays the extension for services — $272,720 in the most recent fiscal year. As part of the agreement, Ottawa County also provides office, meeting and programming space.

Kleinjans was a community nutrition instructor for the organization. He says the extension cited the Incompatible Public Offices Act 556 of 1978 for his termination.

Kleinjans claims ‘political pressure’ from Ottawa Impact left him unemployed

“They advised me they did not believe I could continue working effectively with their partners while also fulfilling the office of (commissioner), to which I was recently elected,” Kleinjans wrote in a statement. “This was the sole reason for my termination. There was no job performance issue, no personal or professional impropriety, nor any other cause for (the) MSU Extension’s decision.”

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