BLOOD IN THE WATER
Oakland County Board of Commissioners Chairman Dave Woodward (D-Royal Oak) and former chair, commissioner Mike Gingell (R-Lake Orion), were once such good friends, they vacationed together, had dinner together with their spouses – and had a deal for Gingell to get the Republican commissioners to support Woodward as the next county executive when the late L. Brooks Patterson died. When that plan was exposed and went south last August, so did their friendship – and so, apparently, has civility between the two on the commission. The water has become so toxic, it seems they can no longer talk out simple board disagreements. Case in point – a squabble playing out in public over press releases and who is authorized to send them out. Seems it all happened because Gingell sent a press release out regarding the commission’s approval of the upcoming county parks and rec bond, which Democrats on the board are proposing to increase by 50 percent. Gingell named the sponsor of the bill in his release – and Woodward took umbrage to the naming of the commissioner. “Gingell was being political, and Woodward felt it wasn’t collegial,” said one insider. Instead of talking it out, like friends or mature politicians, Woodward instituted a policy preventing commissioners from sending out press releases with specific policy without his approval. So – Gingell sent out a press release to object. “We’ve always operated as a non-partisan staff, and the board is evolving into as partisan as the state legislature,” said Chris Ward, chief of staff, board of commissioners. Maybe they should be sent to the sandbox to work it out between themselves.