Youngs sentenced to one month in jail, with possible work release
REED CITY — Before hearing his sentence on Friday, former Osceola County Road Commission manager Cliff Youngs apologized to his friends, family and former coworkers.
“I know this wasn’t comfortable for them, and it hurts me more than it hurts them for them to have to come in here,” Youngs said. “It troubles me and saddens me that the choices and circumstances I made with my work got us where we are today. It’s unfortunate. I can’t say enough that I apologize to my family and friends for their support. ... The road commission was very good to me, but we just got into a miscommunication, and that’s why we’re here.”
Youngs was sentenced in Osceola County’s 49th Circuit Court to three months in jail with two months suspended, with one year probation. If Youngs violates the terms of his probation during the next year, he must serve those two additional months. Judge Scott Hill-Kennedy told Youngs he would allow him to serve his sentence on weekends or utilize the jail’s work release program if he was eligible.
Youngs was found guilty in March on one count of perjury, a charge brought after he allegedly lied under oath during a sworn interview with Michigan State Police Det. Troy Fellows in March 2012. Youngs was interviewed by detectives investigating claims that he had altered time cards for road commission jobs to retain extra funds from project grants, including a FEMA grant given to the county in 2009 to clean up tornado damage.
Throughout his trial, Youngs maintained that issues with billing equipment and jobs to certain accounts within the road commission were the result of a misunderstanding of his instructions to road commission employees.
Hill-Kennedy noted that the court had received several letters in support of Youngs, including notes from Osceola County Commissioner Tammy Stoner, former Osceola County Prosecutor Sandy Marvin, road commissioner Alan Gingrich and Mecosta County Sheriff’s Sgt. Scott Ruggles.
Aside from his statement given on Friday, Youngs also penned his own letter to the court, which Gregory Townsend, a prosecutor from the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, read aloud on Friday.
Townsend said the letter was a sign that Youngs did not accept responsibility for his actions.
“(My) work ethic is what made me hold employees accountable for their work,” the letter stated. “It was something many did not agree with or were not used to. This difference of opinion and work ethic is what put me in front of this court today.”