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Gerry Poisson

It's the end of an era with the passing of Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson on Saturday, August 3, and as one local leader said, “It's going to be an absolute shit show” as pols jockey to determine who will take the long-time executive's post. Former deputy executive Gerry Poisson took the oath of office (a temporary position) from county clerk Lisa Brown late August 3. Democrats hold the county treasurer, prosecutor and clerk's positions and, for the first time in over 40 years, the county board of commissioners, which must choose the next executive within 30 days of a vacancy or a special election will be called. Board chair Dave Woodward (D-Royal Oak) has long made it known he wants the position, but has to step down to be elected, jeopardizing the Democrat's11-10 majority. Here's what insiders are telling Downtown newsmagazine: a special commission board meeting will be held this Thursday, August 8, where approximately a half-dozen Republicans have agreed to support Woodward for executive appointment – freezing out main Democratic opponent county treasurer Andy Meisner. Unknown is whether a deal between Woodward and buddy/former board chair Mike Gingell (R-Lake Orion) would have the latter appointed chief deputy county executive in exchange for the Republicans' support. That would fit with what Oakland Confidential first revealed in early July as a possible deal between the two, although some have suggested that agreement had started to unravel like an old sweater prior to Patterson's passing. But before anyone attributes any magnanimous motives to the GOP crew, here's the inside skinny: The Republicans would rather cross over to appoint Woodward because they see him as an easier mark in the 2020 election when he would have to run to hold the seat, rather than Meisner, a more formidable foe. Don't forget – this is a blood sport after all. Meanwhile, all the maneuvering and backroom dealing won't preclude a showdown between Woodward and Meisner in 2020 – campaign financial report shows Meisner brought in $354,561 between January 21 and July 20, while Woodward raised $25,700 between April 26 and July 20, which includes a $5,000 contribution to his own campaign. “Smartest thing Meisner can do is be earnest and clean, working hard versus backroom deals and dirty politics,” said one local official. No word on Republicans who could come forward to run for this office, including state Sen. Ruth Johnson (R-Holly), most ruling out a run by Oakland Sheriff Mike Bouchard, and many more discounting the viability of former state legislators who now hold county administration positions – Mike McCready (R-Bloomfield Township) and Mike Kowall (R-White Lake).


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