LANSING, Mich. — Shiawassee County Board of Commissioners Chairman Jeremy Root submitted his letter of resignation as Chairman and Commissioner Gregory Brodeur was sworn in as the new chairman Sunday night.
Brodeur has only been on the board of commissioners for 7 months.
“This is a very extraordinary thing for me to be voted in as chairman, but these are extraordinary times,” Brodeur said.
More than 200 Shiawassee County residents showed up for the special Board of Commissioners meeting at the Corunna Community Center Sunday night. Though not in attendance were both Root and Commissioner Cindy Garber.
"I am a resident of district 5. Jeremy Root is my county commissioner. I’m here to voice my concerns and opinions of his actions as chairman, I’m asking for the governor to sign some kind of order removing him from the board or asking him to step down," Anthony Karhoff, a fireman in Shiawassee County, said. "I was hoping he was here tonight, but he took the coward way out."
“I think that they didn’t want to face all of the questions that were going to be asked of them," Commissioner Marlene Webster said. "I think they are chickens, I think they’re hiding, I think if you’re not guilty and you believe you did the right thing, then stand up and say it.”
The meeting and public anger come in response to the elected officials using $65,000 of COVID federal relief money to give themselves bonuses.
Brodeur was not at the meeting where this was approved and commissioner Marlene Webster says she thought she was approving something else.
“What was written on the paper was that I was giving an average of $2,048 to 250 county employees," Webster said. "I thought I was voting for those people who work in juvenile court who stood up and talked tonight, who only got $600. I thought they were getting $2,048.”
Former County Board Chairman Jeremy Root got $25,000. Two commissioners received $10,000 each, while four others received $5,000 each. A lawsuit has since been filed that alleges the Shiawassee County Commission was wrong when it decided to pay itself and other county employees hazard pay without getting input from the public.
“I think anybody who was involved in distributing the money needs to resign. Right now I could call that out to be Cindy Garber and Jeremy Root,” Webster said.
“I’m a frontline worker myself, and it hurt me to know that they were paying themselves more than they were paying their employees," Karhoff said. "A true leader takes care of their workers before they take care of themselves."
While former chairman Jeremy Root did resign as chairman, he will still serve on the board. Despite calls from the public for additional resignations, at this time no commissioners have resigned.
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