(FOX 2) - After much controversy and debate, Ferndale mayor David Coulter was chosen Friday morning as the interim Oakland County Executive.
Coulter is filling the seat of L. Brooks Patterson, who passed away earlier this month at 80 years old, months after announcing he had late-stage pancreatic cancer. Patterson had been Oakland County's chief since 1993 and served as its prosecutor from 1973 to 1988.
"I am humbled by the responsibiity that I will inherit in this position," Coulter said. "This is not a celebratory day for me. I understand very well that this day was only made necessary by the passing of our county executive Brooks Patterson."
In a heated debate Friday morning at the board of commissioner's meeting, the board's former chairman Dave Woodward was allowed to stay on as a member. He resigned on Aug. 7 so he could be eligible for Patterson's seat, but then rescinded his resignation a few days later, saying it wasn't binding because the board hadn't acted on it.
Allowing him to stay on the board meant that Democrats had control of the nominating process, with 11-10 votes going to Coulter - something that Oakland County Republican Party chair Andrew "Rocky" Raczkowski thinks "soiled" the reputation of Oakland County.
"We're completely fed up with this, we're going to take this to the voters, win back the commission and win back the executive spot," Raczkowski said. "This was ramrodded, rushed, it was a sham application process that was done behind closed doors."
Coulter is a Democrat. Patterson was Republican.
Coulter says he hopes to "bring a sense of unity back to the county."
When asked if he'd now dissolve his campaign committee for state legislature, he said he's going to think really seriously about that. "I think my focus is going to be this, I'm seriously considering this, but literally I've had 48 hours to think about this and I haven't made a decision yet."