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Dave Woodward

With many residents struggling with business closures, layoffs, unemployment, food insecurity, and other issues related to an economic downturn related to the COVID-19 pandemic, some would say it was the definition of chutzpah – or audacity – for Democratic members of the Oakland County Board of Commissioners to propose a pay raise for themselves, to take place in the new year, but that is what they recently tried. The proposed hike was to be three percent on their $37,000 annual salary (plus health care) for part-time work;  for chairs of minority and majority caucuses to have their pay increased by 10 percent – and for board chair David Woodward (D-Royal Oak) to receive a 30 percent increase. Currently, Woodward receives a 20 percent stipend over his base pay for the extra work that goes along with being a board chair. The board vice chair and caucus leaders were to get an increase in their stipends. All this dough at a time when county officials are proposing buyouts or voluntary retirements of county employees to decrease payroll. The county commission raise was voted down, with all the Republicans and one Democrat voting no. Outgoing commissioner Shelley Goodman Taub (R-Birmingham, Bloomfield Township, Bloomfield Hills) pazzsaid, “I keep thinking about one percent that the single mother doesn’t have for her car payment, or the one percent she doesn’t have for rent or the one percent she doesn’t have for groceries or for food.”  As for the stipend for Woodward, commissioner Mike Gingell (R-Lake Angelus), himself a former board chair, broke with his fellow Republicans in supporting Woodward receiving a 30 percent pay bump, to $53,042, noting that “It’s focused on leadership.” He also said he had done the job before and knew how much work it entailed. GOP county chair Rocky Raczkowski said, “It’s unfathomable when people are hurting economically. This is not leadership by example but leadership by personal greed.” He said he would resign as party chair “if Dave Woodward would resign and give back his pay raise because he doesn’t represent the people of Royal Oak.”



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