New Oakland County executive sworn in, GOP leaders call for FBI probe into chair of county's board

It's official, David Coulter is Oakland County's next executive.

The first Democrat to hold the position in decades, Coulter's appointment crosses the finish line of a race that was marred with controversy from the start.

After the swearing in, the former Ferndale mayor gave his thoughts on his new position.

"A little overwhelmed because there's a lot of work to be had," said Coulter.

That means assembling his team, building a budget and ensuring the administration accurately reflects the county's demographic.

"I hope that they include people from the current administration because I've reached out to them and I want to know their interest in serving," he said.

As the former mayor plans his agenda, Republicans have begun making moves on their own. Despite calls for unity from Coulter, that's not necessarily on the minds of GOP officials who feel road to Coulter's appointment didn't follow protocol.

"We don't want to harm Mr. Coulter, but he is a collateral damage that may occur," said Rocky Raczkowski, chair of the Oakland County Republican Party. 

The Republican's main strife lies not with Coulter, but with the commission's current chair; Democrat Dave Woodward. 

"We asked for injunctive relief that Mr. Woodward should not be placed on the county commission," said Raczkowski.

Two weeks ago when rumors began to circulate that Woodward was eyeing the position of executive, he resigned his seat on the board. While this reduced a Democratic majority on the board to a tie of 10-10, Woodward couldn't be on the board if he was to be appointed. 

However, that resignation brought cries of backroom talks and shady deals being done between Woodward and commissioners. As the county extended their search for executive for a week, Raczkowski made calls for investigations by the state's attorney general and the FBI. 

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"The county executive should have stayed with Mr. Poisson or we should have sent it to a vote of the people," said Raczkowski.

Gerald Poisson was the deputy executive commissioner to former executive L. Brooks Patterson. However, the Democratic majority board elected to appoint an official, rather than defer to Poisson or contend in a general election. 

Woodward, who applied for the executive position would later rescind his application and rejoin the board - a move that has unnerved many GOP officials. 

Meanwhile, Coulter has brushed asside the controversy, instead interested in working on the county's budget.

"There will be time enough to talk political things later," he said. "I'm just focused on the job."