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Missing in action

Martel Armstrong has been at the helm of the Lansing Housing Commission for a year as executive director. But as of Friday, despite a fatal fire at the LeRoy Froh complex, he’s on vacation until June 27.

That’s got City Council officials hot under the collar.

“You mean we have a Peter Lark situation?” asked Council President Carol Wood when informed of the vacation. “You have got to be shitting me.”

She was referring to the former general manager of the Lansing Board of Water & Light, who left town for a New York vacation during the catastrophic ice storm in December 2013. He was ultimately fired by the utility, and sued. He walked away with a $650,000 settlement.

Referring to Armstrong, she said, “He needs to come back,” she said. “I understand how important family time is, but this is your job.”

First Ward Councilwoman Jody Washington echoed Wood on Monday night before City Council. Both called on Armstrong to resign.

Tony Baltimore, who chairs the commission’s board, said he has asked Martel to come back and is awaiting an answer. “We are definitely going to need his leadership.”

Lansing Mayor Andy Schor said he met with Armstrong Friday before he left the city.

“I would prefer he was here, but understand the great expense to booking and re-booking travel plans with a family,” he said. “We will move forward in the same manner regardless of whether we are working with him or his deputy.”


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