"This deal stinks," Oakland County GOP Chair calls for Nessel, FBI probe into county executive vote

Oakland County isn't used to so much changeover so quickly - especially at the top of its management.

Since former County Executive L. Brooks Patterson died Aug. 3, there's been a lot of commotion - and political maneuvering - at the top. From the county's Republican Party chair, it doesn't look right.

"If you live in Oakland County, this deal stinks," said Rocky Raczowski, chair.

That deal Raczowski is referring to is the supposed agreement made between now former Chair of the Oakland County Board of Commissioners Democrat Dave Woodward and several still active members of the board that if Woodward resigned his seat, he would be voted to take over the seat left vacant by Patterson's death.

Raczowski said if the purpose of Woodward's resignation was to run for the seat, then it's dirty and illegal. 

"He must've cut a deal with the members of the Democratic and Republican caucus," he said. "You can't skirt the law."

That law in question is that a sitting county board member can't be appointed to any position by those commissioners. However, there is much more ambiguity in question due to Woodward's move late Wednesday night to resign from the board. 

In an interview from WWJ NewsRadioNews on Wednesday night, Woodward expressed interest in the position.

"It's been widely reported that I'm interested in becoming the next county executive," Woodward said. "If afforded the chance, I welcome the opportunity to share my vision to improve the lives of Oakland County."

However, the dynamic nature of the county's board isn't good enough for Raczowski.

"The law is very clear. You cannot be a seated commissioner to run for the executive position," he said. "I know he resigned, but he resigned after he set an appointment or date of when the vote was going to take place."

As of Thursday, the board's political lean is even; 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans. That divide means Woodward would need the backing of members on both sides of the political aisle to be voted into office. 

As this jockeying for position has gone on, another dilemma has risen; one of timing. The board scheduled the vote for Patterson's seat on Thursday Aug. 15, the same day as the late executive's funeral. Family members of Patterson called the board's decision "unforgiveable."

A few hours after the family released that statement, the board's acting chair rescheduled the vote for Friday, Aug. 16. 

Between that time period, the board has opened an application for any interested in applying for Executive of the County. For any curious to learn more, you'll have to answer questions regarding to your background of complex budgeting, your vision for Oakland County and what you think the largest problem facing Oakland County is today.

Meanwhile, Raczowski has made public calls for state and federal investigations into the board's decision.

"I'm asking for an investigation. I've asked for Nessel to do it publicly. I've asked for Jessice Cooper to do it. I'm even asking the FBI corruption unit in Detroit to look into this," he said.

Sources did tell FOX 2 that some believe there could be a violation of the open meetings act, while others say the situation warrants a Freedom of Information request for the commissioner's emails and texts. 

"If they're going to cut a deal, if they're going to vote to replace Brooks Patterson, they need to be transparent about it," said Raczowski.

The vote is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 16.