A committee comprised of two Democrats and a Republican has whittled the field of candidates vying for L. Brooks Patterson's old job down to five.
According to the Free Press, the contenders for interim Oakland County executive include:
- Kevin Howley, a Huntington Woods business executive and a Democrat who ran unsuccessfully against Patterson in 2012. Howley said in his application that he would not seek election to the executive’s seat next year in the countywide election.
- Randy Hazel, a Lake Orion resident whose application labeled his political affiliation “independent” and who is a business executive with Auburn Hills-based Dana Inc., a major auto supplier.
- Timothy Gossman, a resident of Clarkston who also called his political affiliation “independent.” Gossman is a real-estate broker with a degree in accounting.
- Julie Secontine of Rochester Hills, a former senior lawyer with Oakland County’s legal team, who earned praise from Patterson in 2015 when she received the president’s award from the Michigan Association of Fire Chiefs for her work as Oakland County Risk Manager. Secontine, since 2017, has been State Fire Marshal from 2016 to the present. Her political affiliation was unclear because she asked the county board not to make her application public.
Also in the running is former Oakland County Board of Commissioners Chairman David Woodward, a Democrat who represented Berkley and much of Royal Oak.
Woodward resigned last week and has said he will run for Patterson's old role in 2020.
Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner — also a Democrat — said he plans to run for the position in 2020.
Meisner has argued against finding an immediate replacement for Patterson and called out alleged political shadiness in the process. He issued a statement to Freep Tuesday:
“I called for an open and transparent process in making this appointment, and instead we’ve had dirty deals, self-interested politicians and, now, the appearance of criminal wrongdoing."
By wrongdoing, Meisner meant the behavior of Republican Commissioner Shelley Goodman Taub of Bloomfield Township. Taub admitted to reporters that she'd sent a text to her Republican colleagues on the county board that said "Delete! Delete! Delete! Now” in an effort to have them erase potentially troublesome emails about secret wheeling and dealing, presumably with Democrats, to fill Patterson’s shoes.
Destroying government correspondence, depending on the contents, can be a criminal offense. The Michigan Attorney General’s Office said this week it would investigate Taub’s text if the issue were brought forward by a local agency. Some Democrats, including Meisner, have called for Taub to resign.