Process to replace L. Brooks Patterson's seat gets ugly fast

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click to enlarge Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner (left) and Oakland County Board of Commissioners Chairman Dave Woodward. - Oakland County
Oakland County
Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner (left) and Oakland County Board of Commissioners Chairman Dave Woodward.

The fight to replace Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson is getting ugly. Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner, who is vying for Patterson’s seat, accused county commissioners Tuesday of making illegal deals.

Although Meisner doesn’t mention names, he’s likely referring to board Chairman Dave Woodward, who also wants to replace Patterson.

The Democrat-controlled board has 30 days to appoint a replacement to serve until the term expires at the end of 2020. Democrats have an 11-to-10 majority. But according to the charter, Woodward cannot be considered for the appointment unless he resigns as commissioner. And if he resigns, the Democrats and Republicans would each have 10 commissioners.

Commissioners said in a news release that they are holding a meeting Thursday night and “may consider a resolution for the purpose of appointing" a replacement for Patterson, who died Saturday.

Rumors have suggested Woodward and Republican Commissioner Mike Gingell would both resign to preserve Democratic control of the board. Republicans would then vote in favor of Woodward as county executive. In exchange for resigning, Gingell would be appointed deputy county executive. Neither Gingell nor Woodward could be reached for comment.

In Meisner’s news release, he warned it’s against the law for commissioners to make promises in exchange for appointments.

Meisner also couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

“Voters, not politicians should choose our elected leaders,” Meisner said in the release. “If the commission must appoint, it should use an open and transparent process that allows for the voice of the people to be heard. Openness and transparency will be hallmarks of my administration as executive.”

If a majority of commissioners can’t agree on a replacement within 30 days, a special election will be held, with the primary election in November and the general election on March 10.

Among the possible Republican candidates are Sheriff Michael Bouchard, former U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop, and two former state lawmakers: Mike Kowall and Mike McCready.

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About The Author

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
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