BRIGHTON (WWJ/AP) – The head of the five-county Metroparks system in southeast Michigan has been placed on paid leave during an internal investigation.

The Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority won’t explain the investigation. But director George Phifer is off the job for now.

The Metroparks system has 13 parks in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw and Livingston counties and is supported through property taxes.

Phifer has worked for the park system since 2008 when he was hired as police chief.

The Detroit Free Press says wildlife enthusiasts have criticized what they consider to be excessive mowing and the removal of dead trees. They say the trees are good for birds. Randy Baker of the Macomb Audubon Society says parks are being groomed like a golf course.

© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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