On July 15, in a closed meeting, Shiawassee county commissioners voted to give themselves bonuses with federal relief money related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The money, which is described as “hazard pay” included $25,000 for Jeremy Root, Chairman of the Shiawassee County Board of Commissioners. Mr. Root had no comment on why he received $25,000 while others received smaller amounts.
It is important that we have two political parties in this country to act as checks and balances on one another. The board of commissioners is 100-percent Republican. Thankfully, they are not all corrupt, but unfortunately, the good ones are a minority. There has never been a political scandal in Shiawassee County approaching the magnitude of this injustice that has unfolded over the past two weeks and the Shiawassee Democratic Party is duty-bound to strongly condemn the action of certain members of the board of commissioners throughout this COVID hazard pay corruption scandal.
We thank commissioner Webster (R-Dist. 1) for her dedication to honesty and integrity. Time and again, she demonstrates her fitness for her office and should be held up as an example of competent leadership. Commissioner Brodeur (R-Dist. 2) has rightly criticized these actions; said early he would donate the money and has called for the resignation of Chairman Root. The Shiawassee County Republican Party has also issued a statement condemning the actions of the board, and we applaud them for their commitment to integrity and fiscal responsibility. We stand in agreement with our county GOP counterparts on this issue, and are still waiting on word from our State Rep. Ben Frederick on whether he agrees that the elected county board of commissioners should grant themselves thousands in federal funding.
Commissioner Root, (R-Dist. 5) is fully incapable of continuing his work on the Shiawassee County Board of Commissioners. Other commissioners should join the calls of Mr. Brodeur and thousands of citizens for Root’s resignation. Commissioner Garber (R-Dist. 6), who has been vocal in her defense of Root and of their pocketing of the money, should also resign. Their unwillingness to return the money (without a court order/legal opinions) is inexcusable.
The Shiawassee County Democratic Party is dedicated to fostering good government at all levels. We believe that there is no other entity that can better promote a healthy society than a well-functioning government. However, that government can only function as well as the people who serve in it. If the commissioners who were complicit in this scandal of greed and corruption do not resign, we will start the process of recalling them. We hope you will support us in this effort. We encourage you to research which district you live in and call your commissioner and to sign a recall petition. Make your voice heard loud and clear by showing up to the special meeting scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 1 (watch the local papers for specific info).
These self-dealing commissioners must be held accountable for their actions. They have attempted to enrich themselves at the expense of frontline workers and do not deserve your votes, nor the offices they hold.