Macomb County Clerk Karen Spranger grilled over massive backlog in her office

Spranger faces Macomb County Board of Commissioners to address historic backlog

MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. – Macomb County Clerk Karen Spranger spent hours Thursday trying to answer questions about the costly and potentially dangerous backlog in her office.

County commissioners grilled Spranger, and they didn't pull their punches.

Put on the spot, Spranger admitted that she has failed to do her job in office. County commissioners said she's putting lives on the street in danger.

"Your incompetence in ruining that department and letting these backlogs continue and build is dangerous to the whole county," Macomb County Commissioner Don Brown said. "Do you realize that?"

"Yes," Spranger said.

In the vital Law Enforcement Information Network, there are 4,400 important records collecting dust. As a result, police officers on the street aren't being told who is wanted or who has a suspended license. Spranger admitted it has left officers in the dark and potentially put lives in jeopardy.

"The public now is at (risk)," Macomb County Commissioner Kathy Tocco said. "It's not just your shenanigans that go on in here. Now you've put the public at risk."

"I understand your point of view," Spranger responded.

She told the Board of Commissioners that the LEIN officer in charge retired. She's run off other employees and admits she hasn't rehired or trained anyone to get the LEIN system up-to-date.

"Why don't you know where your staff is?" Tocco said.

"To the day, she walked off her work for three days without notifying me," Spranger said.

"She was elected by the people to keep the train moving, and all we have are games and jockeying, and it's affecting everyday people," Macomb County Commissioner Rob Leonetti said.

Macomb County has taken her to court over the residency law they believe she violated in an effort to remove her.

Spranger was told by the Board of Commissioners that she needs to get to work. She was offered the help she needs to catch up. They said she has rejected any help in the past.

Full coverage of Karen Spranger

Jan. 19, 2017: Spranger barred from using county computers after violating security protocols

March 13, 2017: Spranger seeks lawyer for court battle with Hackel

April 11, 2017: Spranger hides in bathroom to avoid questions about dispute with county board

April 20, 2017Macomb County Clerk fined for ethics violation amid dispute with county board

April 20, 2017Macomb County clerk crashes county car after being fined for ethics violation

April 24, 2017Neighbor says home listed as Spranger's primary residence overrun with raccoons

May 3, 2017Emails reveal another battle between Spranger and Macomb County officials

May 4, 2017Spranger caught hiding moving boxes to block move to new building

May 9, 2017Legal battle troubles intensify for Macomb County Clerk Karen Spranger

May 10, 2017Judge orders Spranger to cooperate with move to new building

May 17, 2017Spranger answers claims that her office is 'hostile work environment'

June 19, 2017Simple report turns heated between Spranger and county officials

June 22, 2017Macomb County clerk files suit to allow firearms inside government buildings

June 28, 2017Spranger's employees working in fear after security removed

July 20, 2017Spranger accused of perjury over 'uninhabitable' home in Warren

Aug. 1, 2017Lawsuit announced against Macomb County Clerk Karen Spranger

Aug. 14, 2017Employee calls 911 after Spranger asks to look through her purse

Sept. 22, 2017Spranger accused of moving, hiding computers overnight

Sept. 28, 2017Judge rules against Spranger in 'toxic work environment' case

Oct. 21, 2017: Spranger's totaled car among items up for bids at Macomb County auction

Oct. 25, 2017Spranger caught on video covering up court order

Oct. 27, 2017Union files restraining order against Spranger over 'hostile workplace'

Oct. 27, 2017Macomb County Clerk Karen Spranger sues Google amid residency battle

Nov. 1, 2017Employee blames Spranger for huge online backlog at office

Nov. 7, 2017: Spranger requests $100K to pay for her ongoing legal battles

Nov. 9, 2017Spranger's office given Thursday deadline to clear e-filing backlog

Nov. 9, 2017Spranger fails to meet judges' backlog deadline

Nov. 9, 2017: Spranger solves long wait times by bringing in benches for customers

Nov. 21, 2017Union files motion to hold Spranger in contempt of court

Nov. 29, 2017Contempt of court hearing held for Spranger

Nov. 30, 2017: Spranger appears before Board of Commissioners

Nov. 30, 2017Spranger grilled over massive backlog in her office

About the Authors:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.