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Soap opera continues at County

Can we all just get along? Apparently if you were elected to run this county, you can’t!

Seven commissioners represent us. Of those seven five are males and two are females. A vote across gender lines was made last week to strip County Administrator/Controller Tracy Byard (oops can’t use Controller) from her title as Controller. Some say this is a precursor to voting her out as the top county administrator entirely.

Leading the pack against Byard is County Commission Chairman Don David. He has been very vocal and determined to take away the Controller duties from Byard and spread them amongst the Clerk, Treasurer, Senior Citizen coordinator and anyone else that might be hanging around the county building.

He was able to enlist the four other male members of the commission to go along with his plan. Interestingly enough, the two females on the Board, Lynn Grim and Karen Lipovsky, were not a part of the discussions to strip Byard of her title. That fact has caused a firestorm, that won’t be leaving the county building soon.

Apparently one of the female commissioners (my assumption- they both have denied it) filed a complaint claiming the five male members violated the Open Meetings Act. Their claim is that it was unlawful to talk about stripping Byard of her title in private- that it had to be done at a public meeting.

Technically this is true, and the charges could be serious. Three commissioners were questioned by the Sheriff’ department, and now the investigation has been turned over to the state police. If found guilty the commissioners could face civil and criminal penalties.

In my opinion both sides are acting like immature teens who have just been called out by a supposed friend on Facebook.  So now their going to air all their dirty laundry in public. In other words, you didn’t let me in on your private discussions, so I’m going to call the cops. Both sides are dead wrong. The boys should have discussed their plan with the girls. And the girls should never have filed a complaint with the cops.

So now we have this face-off- at one of the most critical times in the County’s history. Why critical you may ask? Because the commissioners are charged with the unenviable task of balancing the County’s budget which will require the elimination of programs and maybe employees.

Therefore these seven elected officials better get their act together. They best put aside their differences and stop acting like children. They better get on the task of insuring that this County will have a viable financial picture and future- or guess what, our Governor will appoint a State Financial Manager, who will come in and take over the County’s finances. No one wants that, but if we can’t get along,  that’s  a distinct possibility.

C’mon guys (and girls), let’s talk finances, and not politics. Heck we need to remember it’s an election year. You might be voted out of office if you continually air your dirty laundry.  You certainly won’t be making any decisions if the State steps in.

Let’s end the soap opera now.

One Response to Soap opera continues at County

  1. Martyjbird

    January 3, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Well said, Mike. These seven have to get their act together and it has to be sooner rather than later. Stripping Byard of her title and doing it in a way that might have violated the Open Meetings Act has created a big distraction and divisions amongst commission members at a time when all seven need to work together and deal with the looming deficit. It’s especially sad that the treasurer had to take the time at the recent meeting to remind the commissioners of the money problems the county faces. All these accusations and attempts to justify past actions may make for good stories in the paper but they make for a lousy way to run a government body.

    Marty Johnson
    Harrison, MI