Process to replace L. Brooks Patterson's seat gets ugly fast


Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner (left) and Oakland County Board of Commissioners Chairman Dave Woodward. - OAKLAND COUNTY
  • Oakland County
  • Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner (left) and Oakland County Board of Commissioners Chairman Dave Woodward.

The fight to replace Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson is getting ugly. Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner, who is vying for Patterson’s seat, accused county commissioners Tuesday of making illegal deals.

Although Meisner doesn’t mention names, he’s likely referring to board Chairman Dave Woodward, who also wants to replace Patterson.

The Democrat-controlled board has 30 days to appoint a replacement to serve until the term expires at the end of 2020. Democrats have an 11-to-10 majority. But according to the charter, Woodward cannot be considered for the appointment unless he resigns as commissioner. And if he resigns, the Democrats and Republicans would each have 10 commissioners.

Commissioners said in a news release that they are holding a meeting Thursday night and “may consider a resolution for the purpose of appointing" a replacement for Patterson, who died Saturday.

Rumors have suggested Woodward and Republican Commissioner Mike Gingell would both resign to preserve Democratic control of the board. Republicans would then vote in favor of Woodward as county executive. In exchange for resigning, Gingell would be appointed deputy county executive. Neither Gingell nor Woodward could be reached for comment.

In Meisner’s news release, he warned it’s against the law for commissioners to make promises in exchange for appointments.

Meisner also couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

“Voters, not politicians should choose our elected leaders,” Meisner said in the release. “If the commission must appoint, it should use an open and transparent process that allows for the voice of the people to be heard. Openness and transparency will be hallmarks of my administration as executive.”

If a majority of commissioners can’t agree on a replacement within 30 days, a special election will be held, with the primary election in November and the general election on March 10.

Among the possible Republican candidates are Sheriff Michael Bouchard, former U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop, and two former state lawmakers: Mike Kowall and Mike McCready.

Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.