Macomb County clerk Karen Spranger replaced by longtime county employee

Macomb County has a new clerk in place but ousted clerk Karen Spranger and her employees have not gone easily, despite the ruling by a judge.

Spranger was removed from office on Tuesday by order of a Macomb County Judge who ruled that Spranger violated election law. 

Her deputy chief, Jacqueline Ryan, was also removed when she reported to work on Wednesday  morning. She was told she had 20 minutes to pack up, but she wasn't leaving.

"I'm that clerk's deputy. I want to do my job," Ryan said.

The decision was made by the St. Clair County Judge, which was a result of a counter-lawsuit. Spranger, a Tea Party Republican elected back in 2016, has been accused of creating a hostile work environment and has more than 20 grievances filed against her.

The judge's decision did not mention the deputy clerk being removed from office. 

"Her office as chief deputy is invalid because a judge ruled that Karen Spranger's position was invalid," Mark Deldin, Chief Deputy Executive, said.

Chief Judge James Biernet appointed a temporary court clerk - Kathy Brower, a longtime employee of the county.

She admitted in her only interview that she has a big mess to clean up and that she'll hire at least 14 people to fill vacant spots.

"The impact has been major in this department. It hit all of our department. E-filings were behind immensely, liens were behind, everything got behind," Brower said she has no desire to be the permanent clerk.

The judges will make a temporary appointment on April 13th but, if that person wants to finish off Spranger's term, they will have to file by April 24 and win an election in November.