Oakland County Board of Commissioners draws criticism over plans to appoint new executive

'This heartless play for power is unforgivable,' Patterson's daughter said

WATERFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. – The bad feelings started bubbling over on Tuesday as L. Brooks Patterson’s public viewing was going on at the county building that bears his name.

Treasurer Andy Meisner went public with his distaste for how the Oakland County Board of Commissioners was going about appointing a successor to fulfill the rest of Patterson’s term.

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“The fix was in, I thought it was very important to call for openness and transparency,” Meisner said. 

Meisner has already declared his intention to run for county executive. He’s not the only one. Chair of the County Board of Commissioners, David Woodward, has made it clear he wants to be appointed to Patterson’s seat and then run.

Both men are Democrats. Multiple sources confirm for us that Woodward, who is well liked, had lined up the votes, both Democrat and Republican, to be appointed to fulfill the rest of Patterson’s term.

Originally the board had called a special meeting for Thursday vote. With Meisner’s displeasure, they then moved the vote to the day of Patterson’s funeral next week.

That move was the last straw, what had been discussed as tacky and inappropriate behind the scenes became vocal and public.

“He spent 45 years of his life trying to make this county better,” acting county executive Gerald Poisson said. “They can wait two two to three weeks before they go and replace him.”

Patterson’s daughter, Mary Margaret Patterson Warner, said the behavior disgusted the family.

“This heartless play for power is unforgivable and has offended the Patterson family. Our father has earned and deserves more respect than this,” she said.

The board of commissioners doesn’t have to appoint anybody.

There are two options: appoint someone to fulfill the rest of Patterson’s term or make no decision for 30 days which would then trigger a special election in the spring of next year.

Until that election, Gerald Poisson, who has been Patterson’s deputy for 38 years would remain as county executive. After all the bad press, the board has canceled the meeting for the day of Patterson’s funeral and will take up the issue the following day.

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