Stories indexed with the term ‘county government’

Update: Washtenaw County Candidate Filings

With two days remaining before the filing deadline for candidates in the Aug. 7, 2012 primary election, several incumbents remain unchallenged so far for Washtenaw County offices. The filing deadline for candidates affiliated with political parties is Tuesday, May 15 at 4 p.m.

Sheriff Jerry Clayton, county prosecuting attorney Brian Mackie and county clerk Larry Kestenbaum – all incumbent Democrats – were the only candidates to have filed by the end of the day on Friday, May 11. No candidates have filed yet for the office of county treasurer – including incumbent Democrat Catherine McClary. According to the county clerk’s office, McClary has picked up the paperwork to file but has not yet turned it in. All of those elected positions … [Full Story]

LaBarre Enters Race for Washtenaw Co. Board

Democrat Andy LaBarre, a former aide to U.S. Congressman John Dingell, on Thursday announced plans to run for the Washtenaw County board of commissioners in 2012. He’ll seek the seat in the new District 7, which was formed during the redistricting process earlier this year. In a statement, LaBarre cited his interest in protecting human services, public safety and parkland: “Unfortunately, as Lansing continues to ask local governments to do more with ever-shrinking state funds, we are confronted with extraordinarily difficult decisions about how to deliver these vital programs just when many residents need them the most. I am running for county commission because I want to use my experience to advance the solutions that will both invest … [Full Story]

County Board Strategizes on 2012-13 Budget

Washtenaw County board of commissioners budget retreat (Feb. 9, 2011): For two hours last Wednesday evening, commissioners continued a discussion on priorities aimed at guiding budget decisions – both long-term and immediate – for county government.

Bill Reynolds

Bill Reynolds, Washtenaw County's deputy administrator, with a framed copy of the county's "guiding principles."

The discussion was another step toward developing a framework that county administrator Verna McDaniel and her staff can use in their budget planning for 2012 and 2013, when the county faces a projected $20.9 million deficit. The session followed a five-hour Jan. 29 retreat. The board also plans to continue their budget talks on Feb. 23, after their regular administrative briefing.

Conan Smith, chair of the board, told the group he hoped they could form an outline of their priorities – not in terms of programs, but at a policy level. He said that focusing on specific programs at this point would limit the administration’s flexibility for future restructuring.

During the two-hour session, commissioners talked about the importance of providing a safety net of services for residents who are most in need – perhaps through a combination of the county’s own services, and partnerships with outside agencies. Though some commissioners expressed concerns about privatizing, there seemed to be consensus about exploring ways to market the county’s infrastructure services – like payroll processing and human resources – to other local municipalities.

They discussed the need for more self-reliance on local resources, as opposed to state and federal funding – while acknowledging the dependence that many county programs have on state and federal grants. The board also talked about the importance of balancing short-term budget needs with long-term investments that could bring more significant structural savings in future years.

Also during Wednesday’s retreat, some commissioners noted the importance of keeping all budget discussions in public view. The retreats – unlike the board’s regular meetings and working sessions – are not televised, though they are open to the public. In addition to county commissioners, the retreats are attended by other elected officials and county staff. [Full Story]