Republicans on the Oakland County Board of Commissioners will waste no time exercising their expanded muscle when they’re sworn in Jan. 5.
They picked up three seats in the Nov. 2 election to move from a 12-12 split with one vacancy on the board to a solid 15-10 majority.
They plan to use their ironclad clout to appoint a Republican to fill the seat to be vacated by Commissioner Bill Bullard, R-Highland, who was appointed Oakland County clerk in December.
Commissioners have 30 days from the date of Bullard’s resignation in January to fill his seat with a temporary replacement until special primary and general elections can be held in May and August.
They have the option to leave the seat vacant until the special elections are held but incoming commission Chairman Mike Gingell, R-Lake Orion, indicated Wednesday that’s not likely to occur.
“We will be looking to fill Bill Bullard’s seat on Jan. 5,” Gingell said. “After last Thursday’s meeting, we will have 15 Republicans on Jan. 5.”
The final meeting of the split commission Dec. 9 produced a lengthy partisan debate over a proposed contract for sheriff’s patrols in Pontiac.
The contract was eventually voted down after a half-dozen amendments to it offered by Commissioner Tim Greimel, D-Auburn Hills, and passed by a Democrat majority that day were not acceptable to the sheriff’s office, Pontiac’s state-appointed emergency financial manager, and ultimately to the majority of the county commission.
A broadcast of the meeting was streamed live on The Oakland Press website at www.theoaklandpress.com.
“I personally believe the city of Pontiac contract will be back before us in the first part of next year,” Gingell said. “The little stunts that happened last Thursday aren’t going to happen anymore.”
Possible successors on a temporary basis to Bullard’s seat include former commissioner and former Waterford Township supervisor Bob Hoffman of Highland.
Hoffman has filled in as a county commissioner because of a vacancy once before when former Commissioner Dennis Powers of Highland was appointed a district court judge in 1998.
Gingell said Hoffman is one of the names under consideration but that the incoming Republican caucus still needs to finalize how it wants to proceed and who it wants to appoint.
“There’s been different names out there besides Bob Hoffman’s,” Gingell said. “There’s other people who are planning to run for the seat who are interested in the seat.”
At its Jan. 5 meeting, the agenda also calls for making appointments to various county commission committees.
For about a third of the 25 members, the county commission will be a new experience.
The Nov. 2 election produced eight new commissioners, two Democrats and six Republicans. The ninth will be whoever is selected to replace Bullard.
New Republicans Bill Dwyer of Farmington Hills, Philip Weipert of South Lyon, Kathy Crawford of Novi, Beth Nuccio of Oxford, Jeff Matis of Rochester Hills and Mike Bosnic of Troy.
New Democrats are Nancy Quarles of Southfield and Craig Covey of Ferndale.
County commissioners — old and new — will be sworn in at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 5 at the Board of Commissioners Auditorium in Pontiac.
Contact Charles Crumm at 248-745-4649, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @crummc and on Facebook. Keep up with Gov.-elect Rick Snyder at snyderwatch.blogspot.com.