Skubick: Is relocating the MSP headquarters a good move?

Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm had major headaches over a story five years ago that refused to go away, and now it's back in the news.

In 2010, the Michigan State Police headquarters was moved from East Lansing to downtown Lansing after Granholm critics accused her of working a deal with prominent Democrat Joel Ferguson to build the $48 million structure. He built it and the MSP came but not without some grumbling.

The joint was near a flood plain which meant critical state police emergency services could not be housed in the new building. Then there were the complaints by some among the 400 employees about having to pay the Lansing non-resident income tax not to mention the parking fees which, for some, was about 70 bucks a month.

Now out of nowhere the MSP Director Col. Kristie Kibbie Etue unveils her plan for a new "public safety complex" in Eaton County where there is plenty of free parking and no income tax, and she justifies the move saying the consolidation of MSP services in one campus complex is a good move.

The new release said nada about the fees and taxes.

Instead, the Snyder administration played up the angle that over ten years, by moving the state cops out and moving some Community Health Department folks in, there would be a projected savings of $30 million.

In a town where lawmakers like to know what's going on, some were caught unawares.

The former chair of the state cops budget Sen. Peter MacGregor (R-West Michigan)says there should be more motivation that just fees and taxes, to justify the relocation.

"There was a lot of hub bub about that building," he recalls and asked if this passed the smell test, he said, "Exactly. Exactly. I hate to pass judgment without all the facts in front of me."

Rep. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) got wind of the story from the media, "Now it sounds like we're going to spend a lot of money to abandon this new facility that we spent so much money on. So it's a little troubling to me. I need to get the details on why that building is no longer suitable…"

Shouting hip-hip-hooray is Sen. Rick Jones. He was part of the former governor's headache as he fought unsuccessfully to block the project calling it now "Jennifer Granholm's boon-doggle."

"It's absolutely a good move. It should have happened years ago…Now we see we did not need it."

Lansing's vocal Mayor Virg Bernero has signed off saying he's been reassured that state government will "bring people into the city" at the soon to be former MSP headquarters.
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