Macomb County is facing a crisis in governing. A massive power grab is in motion that could spell long term disaster for the county.
The citizens of Macomb County adopted a charter form of government in 2009. This charter created a County Executive and reduced the size and scope of the County Board of Commissioners. The charter also ensured checks and balances were established so neither the Executive nor the Board of Commissioners could govern the county unilaterally.
The Macomb County Executive, Mark Hackel, recently filed a lawsuit against the County Board of Commissioners for doing their duty in maintaining checks and balances. This lawsuit will be paid for fully by taxpayer dollars to represent each side of the argument.
The Executive has tried to establish sole authority on the negotiating and approval of contracts for the county. The County Board of Commissioners had been in negotiations with the Executive to establish a policy that the county board would have to approve any contracts proposed by the Executive’s office above $35,000 for goods and services and $100,000 for construction projects. The Executive vetoed this policy and the County Board of Commissioners voted to override the veto 10-3. This veto is what prompted the Executive to file a lawsuit.
The charter is clear in Section 4.4.d that the County Board of Commissioners “may approve contracts of the county.” In section 3.5 where it discusses the duties of the Executive, there is no item identified for the Executive to negotiate or approve contracts for the county.
The Executive is maneuvering to grab the power of the purse for the county and render the County Board of Commissioners irrelevant. If this were the intent of the Charter Commissioners and the citizens of Macomb County, the charter would have spelled this out directly.
If granted this authority, there is nothing to stop this Executive or future Executives from unilaterally driving the county to ruin with reckless spending practices. This sets a very dangerous precedent that need look no further than Wayne County and the mishaps of its Executive, Robert Ficano, to understand why a governing crisis is before the citizens of Macomb.
However, it is not too late to stop this from happening but you must take action immediately. Please contact Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel and let him know the following:
- The citizens of Macomb County want checks and balances in their government. No one entity should have the unilateral ability for unchecked spending of county resources.
- Macomb County should always have transparency in government. Policies and contracts should never be approved behind closed doors.
- Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel should immediately drop his frivolous lawsuit against the County Board of Commissioners and citizens of Macomb County. This is a waste of precious taxpayer dollars especially when the county is still working through economic recovery.
|Macomb County Executive||Phone|
In addition, contact your representative on the County Board of Commissioners and let them know you agree with their override of the Executive’s veto.
|Macomb County Board of Commissioners|