Now Performing Amazing Feats Of Absurdity, Oakland's Commissioners!
If politics is show business for ugly people, then roll up kiddies because there is one grand boffo farce on stage right now in Oakland County.
And this reporter guarantees you no one is laughing harder at this show from his post somewhere in the divine eternal than L. Brooks Patterson.
Beyond comical, though, the pratfalls the county's Board of Commissioners have performed are also sadly ironic, given the legacy of Mr. Patterson.
You may not have liked or agreed with Mr. Patterson's politics, you may have cringed at his comments – especially those spearing Detroit – but whatever your party or your ideology you had to admit Mr. Patterson ran one hell of a top-notch county administration for the last 25-years.
The board of commissioners on the other hand leave one in doubt if any of them could successfully execute a takeout order for lunch.
Does the list of slipups, screwups and very naughty word-ups need repeating? Of course it does, at least in abbreviated form.
Mr. Patterson dies from pancreatic cancer. His funeral is scheduled for Thursday, August 15, which if you're reading this today is today. Also initially scheduled for Thursday, August 15 is a commissioner meeting to select Mr. Patterson's replacement. The commissioners, who have 30 days to select a successor or a special election is called, decide meeting during Mr. Patterson's funeral equals bad optics, so the meeting is reset for Friday, August 16.
Commissioner Chair Dave Woodward, who has wanted to be county executive, resigns his seat so he can be named county executive. Except in doing so, he deprives the county's Democrats of a board majority – the board is now 10-10 Dem/Republican where it was 11-10 in favor of the Dems – which could be an impediment in naming a Democrat the new executive.
As a side comic interlude, County Commissioner Republican Shelley Taub was caught texting her board colleagues to "DELETE! DELETE! DELETE!" their public email to avoid Freedom of Information requests. She tells a reporter it was dumbest thing she ever did. Ya think?
Back to the main action, a special three-member committee is named, two Democrats, one Republican, to interview the applicants for executive. They announce five interviews. Wait a sec, weren't there 21 applicants? Yeah, well, they're interviewing five. Which they do, only the Republican member boycotts the interviews.
Then today, again that would be Thursday, August 15, Mr. Woodward decides to drop out of the executive race. And he is withdrawing his resignation so he can get back on the board of commissioners. Wait a minute, wasn't something else happening today? Oh yeah, MR. PATTERSON'S FUNERAL! MR. WOODWARD PULLED OUT OF THE EXECUTIVE RACE DURING THE FUNERAL!
As one Oakland Democrat said to this reporter, "People weren't even allowed to mourn during the funeral."
And that's just the highlights, folks. There have been plenty of other diverting moments in this burlesque.
One is so tempted to repeat Will Rodgers' comment about not being a member of an organized party, except neither party has displayed much organizational prowess these last weeks.
Many people shake their heads, wondering why with Mr. Patterson so desperately ill the commissioners did not develop a sensible plan for naming a successor. One also suspects developing a sensible succession plan is the kind of action Mr. Patterson would have strongly suggested.
Well, Mr. Patterson always liked a good laugh. He has to be having one now.Back to top