Patterson releases HB 5187 letters in regard to redistricting

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson has released his letters to Governor Rick Snyder and Oakland County's lobbyist, Jon E. Smalley of Muchmore, Harrington, Smalley, & Associates Inc. in Lansing, regarding the bill to reduce the size of the Oakland County Board of Commissioners.

Both letters make it clear that Oakland County, in order to serve the best interests of taxpayers, sought to reduce the size and cost of county government through HB 5187. Because redrawing county commission districts would be a natural consequence of the legislation, the letters state that Oakland County wanted to align the way it reapportions with the current State of Michigan legislative model: to have elected representatives who are directly accountable to the residents of Oakland County determine the new district boundaries, not Democrat and Republican party chairs.

In his letter to the governor dated Oct. 4, 2011, Patterson said, "With the support of a majority of the members of the Oakland County Board of Commissioners, Oakland County will soon be proposing new legislation that would allow Oakland County to reduce the size of its government by limiting the number of elected commissioner positions.

"Given the shrinking revenue base, Michigan governments, including Oakland County, must reduce their footprint. ...Oakland taxpayers will save nearly one-quarter million dollars annually if legislation is adopted that allows us to reduce the number of elected commissioners by at least 4, from 25 to 21."

In addition, in his letter to Smalley dated Aug. 2, 2011, Patterson said, "The change in the current law on redistricting at the county level to allow the elected commissioners to redraw the district boundaries would simply align our procedure with the existing state legislative model. It works well at the state level; way too political at the county level. We are asking for a process that insures fairness for all commissioners and the citizens they represent."

The public may view the letters at Oakland County's "News and Events" webpage,

Published: Fri, Jan 27, 2012