Michigan Municipal League, Flickr Creative Commons
The late Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.
Oakland County Republicans are taking legal action in a last-ditch attempt to remove the first Democrat to become county executive.
In an amendment to a previously filed lawsuit, Republicans allege former Ferndale Mayor Dave Coulter was improperly appointed to replace L. Brooks Patterson by the Oakland County Board of Commissioners in a 11-10 vote on Aug. 16.
The complaint alleges commissioners should have been deadlocked 10-10 because one of the deciding votes was board chairman David Woodward, who had resigned Aug. 7 so he could become an eligible candidate for the executive position.
In a controversial and legally murky move, Woodward rescinded his resignation so he could be the 11th Democrat on the board to appoint someone from his own party.
Oakland County Republican Party Chairman Andrew “Rocky” Raczkowski is asking an Oakland County Circuit Judge to declare that Woodward illegally returned to the board after resigning, and therefore Coulter’s appointment would be unlawful.
Coulter said in a statement that he was “lawfully appointed.”
"A majority of the board of commissioners lawfully appointed me to lead Oakland County and provide stability," he said. "I embraced this great responsibility when the chief judge of Oakland County Circuit Court administered my oath of office. My administration will focus on the work ahead and not comment on the particulars of the lawsuit while litigation is pending.”
If commissioners were deadlocked within 30 days of Patterson's death, a special election would be held so voters could choose the next executive.
A Republican had held the executive position since it was created in 1974.
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