(File Photo)

 

by Graham Sturgeon, co-editor

   A motion to censure Shiawassee County Treasurer Tom Dwyer was tabled by the Shiawassee County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday, Aug. 14 and will be considered for action in September. Commissioners Brandon Marks, Cindy Garber and Jeremy Root cast the three “yes” votes but were overruled by Commissioners Dan McMaster, Gary Holzhausen, Marlene Webster and John Plowman.

   Last month, during the Board’s July meetings, Commissioner Marks gave Dwyer an ultimatum to resign by Monday, Aug. 12 or face censure from the Board. According to Commissioners Marks and Garber, Dwyer has failed to perform his statutory duties, which has allegedly required the Board to allocate additional funds to ensure Dwyer’s duties were accomplished.

   Garber also pointed out that Dwyer was not present on Thursday, Aug. 1 for a routine site visit from the State of Michigan Department of Treasury and failed to notify the Board of the visit.

   County Coordinator Mike Herendeen added that Dwyer’s office has been late filing the county’s audits with the Department of Treasury for three consecutive years, but he also pointed out that the responsibility of filing the audits was not Dwyer’s, directly.

   Commissioner Marks, having initially called for a resolution of censure of Dwyer during a committee meeting on Monday, Aug. 12, was baffled when his peers decided not to forward the motion to the board’s Thursday, Aug. 15 meeting.

   “I’d be interested to know why we tabled the item, unless we know something behind the scenes,” stated Commissioner Marks. “The reason I pushed for the censure is, I think the numbers will come out in due time, but well over $100,000 has been spent to perform that department’s statutory duties. Anyone who doesn’t go to work for three years and doesn’t perform their duties should be relieved of their job. That’s not what a censure does; it is simply a statement from the board that lets the public know we disagree with how the office has been running.

   “I can’t imagine why this was tabled,” continued Marks. “Every one of you knows what kind of money we’ve spent. Regardless of why he has been unable to fulfill his statutory duties, if he is unfit to serve in office, we should have discussed it today, and we tabled it, we buried it. We are accomplices now to any inaction or anything bad that comes out of that office that the county has to pay for.”

   Commissioner Webster responded by saying, “I don’t know that I have to defend my vote, but I would offer an explanation. I believe that all of us are concerned about the Treasurer’s Office. Mr. Dwyer has served this community for many, many years and has done an incredible job, and I think there is a more professional or diplomatic way to handle this than by public censure. I think a different solution can be reached.”

   Marks explained that he favors resolving the matter “out in the open for everyone to see,” rather than “behind closed doors.”

   “It does seem to me that this different solution is, behind closed doors, we’re going to go to him and tell him to retire, rather than doing everything in front of the public eye, which was what I wanted to do,” explained Marks. “That way, we could present what is going wrong and what has not been accomplished, so that the public would know. They are the voters, the ones who put him there with a reasonable expectation that the job is being accomplished. But now that we’ve hidden that, people will wonder, and I’ll be very interested to see if he retires by the end of the month. If that is the case, then I will have to wonder if he was forced out behind closed doors.”

   *Note: Shiawassee County Treasurer Tom Dwyer submitted a letter on Thursday, Aug. 15 declaring he will retire at the end of the month. Following his retirement, a committee including  Deanna Finnegan, Caroline Wilson and Judge Terrance Dignon will appoint his successor.

Censure of Treasurer Tabled by Commissioners was last modified: August 19th, 2019 by Karen Elford