MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. – The drama swirling around Macomb County Clerk Karen Spranger's term in office has continued this week as employees admitted they've been working in fear after she asked for security measures to be removed from the building.
Last week, Spranger filed a lawsuit against Macomb County, naming Executive Mark Hackel, commissioners and the Ethics Board of Review.
One of the more glaring items in the lawsuit was to have security measures removed from the Talmer Building so that anyone with a concealed-pistol license could freely carry a sidearm.
The security was initially in place because Spranger demanded it and expressed concern over protecting vital records and cash that could be on hand during part of the office's move to the building seven weeks ago. It was a move Spranger fought against.
Overnight Monday, Spranger's demand was met, and the metal detector and armed guards were removed from the building.
Sources said Spranger called to ask for the security measures to be returned after employees were unhappy about working in an office where someone could walk in armed with a gun and upset about being forced to hand over their CPL. This happens at the office when someone is convicted of certain crimes or has a personal-protection order against them.
Employees told Local 4 that Spranger wasn't aware of the potential issues because she "has no idea what's going on in her own office" and hasn't for the six months she's been clerk.
"We've been living this nightmare since January," said an employee who asked to remain anonymous. "She doesn't understand our job functions. We know how to do our jobs. She has never even asked to sit with us (to understand what we do)."
Another employee said concerns were immediately raised when the security was removed, which prompted Spranger to call the Office of the Executive about having it replaced. The employee asked not to be named, out of fear for their job.
A source at the Office of the Executive said they refused the latest request because they're tired of Spranger's "seemingly daily" nonsense and because the security could be used elsewhere. That didn't sit well with employees.
"I am disappointed and appalled that the Office of the Executive and the clerk would use the employees of this county in a political game that puts their safety at risk," an employee said.
"It saddens me she doesn't value her employees enough to ensure our safely," another employee said.
Employees said up to $3,000 cash is on hand at the Talmer Building at times, and sometimes small crews work late at night.
"It makes me nervous to know there will be no armed deputy to protect us," an employee said. "She can't be the 'Mother of Macomb' if she's not going to protect us."
Local 4 has learned that Spranger, through her attorney Frank Cusumano, created the press release below after the security was removed. In it, she claims a victory against the Office of the Executive with a few jabs at Hackel.
But before the press release went out, her employees' reaction pushed her to call the county and ask for the security measures to be returned.