I have had way too many encounters with the current County Clerk Lauri L. Braid and her office personnel. They are not all bad, just Braid and her friend in the office, who’s name escapes me.
I am part of a FOC case in the county. I often have had to file motions and most of those were filed with state form MC20 for fee waiver. I am on disability and meet the requirements at least three ways. The form correlates to a state law which is easy to read and understand and the form comes with very clear instructions as to how it is to be filled out including forms of qualifications. It is a form that is an affidavit. This means that you are declaring you are telling the truth and it is notarized. Lying on the form is a penalty, the same as perjury.
The clerk’s office refuses to follow the instructions on the form and the law it was written for. I have filed three grievances and so far they have stopped only one of their mistakes. You can qualify if you are on any state aid, section A, or, the or on the form is bolded, list your income and assets. They had been requiring both and finally stopped that practice. It was denied if you didn’t jump through their hoops.
Their new thing is ignoring that the form is an affidavit and they require that you show less than 14 day old proof. This is no different than testifying under oath and having to prove your statement.
Finally I paid for a motion after a denial so I would have paper proof of the incorrect use of the form. I left with a filed and stamped motion. Then, days later, they claim that I did not pay and cancelled my motion. Braid and her friend must have pocketed the money. You should have seen how fast the two of them came running downstairs the day I went into the office looking for security cameras, then left. I ended up talking to one of the deputies on the first floor. I guess they were worried about what I was up to.
The office is open so our discussions were heard by all in the office. Someone knew that there was something wrong happening. I got a letter from that person and a self-addressed envelope to her and she stated if I filed the form again she would get it signed. She went around Braid and her friend to get my motion filed. The money was lost, but I finally got my motion. Note to security personal; you should always point cameras at areas where money is exchanged.
I told them I would have their jobs over this. My intent was to find someone in the county that could serve the people and the position as it should be. I then see that Caroline Wilson is running for the position and then both retired judges from the county endorsed her. My prayers have been answered. I have no doubt the great people of Shiawassee County will see the only intelligent choice and the end of further embarrassments will come with any choice but Braid. Hopefully, her friend will go with her. I had met Phil Hathaway in the past and was going to ask him to consider the position. But as long as someone is running against Braid, I cannot see how she will hold the position.
Now if I can get Chief Judge Matthew Stewart, who is holding a recently filed grievance, to instruct those in the clerk’s office and teach them what an affidavit is and the proper execution of one. Seems kind of low-level skills for the position to me. I personally have not seen or experienced an office with integrity under Braid.
Steven Smewing, Fremont Township