We’ve been hearing rumors for months – months! – that Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson was going to step down after this November’s general election, in order to appoint a successor who would be firmly in place for 2020, when the seat is up. Some we contacted are insiders who speculated it could be true, that they’ve never seen Brooks as frail or as tired as he is now, who was first elected to the post in 1992, as he was critically injured in a car accident in 2012 (when he was overwhelmingly reelected while in a coma), and recovery has been difficult. Others scoff at the idea that Brooks, 79, would leave one second before midnight of his final term, which he has said of this, his seventh. Those who play the dice could speculate that the game changed on Tuesday, November 6 – when for the first time since 1976, the Oakland County Board of Commissioners flipped their majority from Republican to Democrat – and they’re the ones who appoint a new executive if there is an opening, meaning that if Brooks is going to step down, he better do it before January 1, when those new Democratic commissioners take office. Rumors are that Brooks, and the current county board, would want Sheriff Michael Bouchard to become the new county exec – but Democrats would definitely prefer a chief of a different stripe.