MD: “Redemption for Miller as he wins Macomb County clerk post”

<<snip>> ““It’s about putting the people first,” Miller said. “I know people want leaders are all levels who are going to fix things and not fight things. I want to work to make county government operate the best it possibly can.”

 

Redemption for Miller as he wins Macomb County clerk post

The Macomb Daily November 7, 2018 By Jaimie Cook

 

Fred Miller didn’t call it redemption, but redemption is what he got Tuesday when he defeated Lisa Sinclair for the right to serve out a term as Macomb County Clerk and Register of Deeds.

Democrat Miller beat Republican Sinclair in a fairly close race, 51.3 percent to 48.7 percent, a margin of about 9,000 votes, to capture the final two years of ousted clerk Karen Spranger’s four-year term.

Two years ago, Miller lost in an extremely close election, 50.1 percent to 49.9 percent — 635 votes — to political unknown Spranger in one of the biggest, if not the biggest, upsets in Macomb County electoral history. Spranger was removed by a judge last March, necessitating Tuesday’s special election.

Miller, who has most recently worked as an appointed deputy treasurer in Oakland County, said Wednesday he didn’t want to dwell on the past and is “eager” to start the job, which pays a salary of $111,000 annually.

“I’m not reading anything in to it (the results) … as long as you get one more vote,” he said. “I’m just celebrating this moment and humbled and excited to start serving the interests of the residents of Macomb County.”

The outcome mostly followed party lines as Miller won in many traditionally Democratic areas south of M-59 and Sinclair topped him in traditionally Republican areas, mainly in the north end of the county.

Miller, a former state representative and county commissioner from Mount Clemens, outspent Sinclair by a five-to-one margin and was helped by negative letters distributed by the county Democratic Party that revealed issues in Sinclair’s past – two alcohol-related arrests, a bankruptcy and lukewarm voting record.

Sinclair, 42, of Harrison Township, relied heavily on social media to promote her message.

A registered nurse, Sinclair Wednesday was “disappointed” with the loss but “very proud.” She mentioned the negative attacks against her and alluded to running for elected office again.

“I am thankful for the support I received,” she said. “When I run for a position in the future, I will be considered based on my achievements.”

Miller declined to comment on Sinclair’s campaign but said, “I appreciate anybody” who decides to run for office and serve the public.

Miller was opposed by Democratic County Executive Mark Hackel, who favored Republican Sinclair but did not formally endorse her.

Hackel said Wednesday Miller should be worried about his relatively small margin of victory over a first-time political candidate.

“That was not a resounding victory,” Hackel said. “That was a statement to him – ‘You’re lucky.’ If the Republicans put forward a better candidate, he would not be clerk.”

Hackel said he expects Republicans will put forth a more experienced candidate in two years when Miller will have to run for the post again. He believes some voters were turned off by the negative ads against Sinclair. He added local Dems also engaged in negative campaigning against Miller’s main primary opponent, Steve Bieda, although those ads were distributed by the Phil Hart Democratic Club, a political action committee based in Mount Clemens, the same home base as the county Democratic Party panel.

Despite acrimony between Hackel and Miller, both said Wednesday they will work with the other to accomplish goals for the county.

“It’s about putting the people first,” Miller said. “I know people want leaders are all levels who are going to fix things and not fight things. I want to work to make county government operate the best it possibly can.”

Hackel said, “We don’t have to agree with each other politically” to work together.

“Whatever he needs to get the job done we’ll fully support,” he said of his administration. “We’ll put personalities aside. I’ve always been able to do that.”

The county administration and clerk typically have minimal interaction, although under Spranger it was amplified because the county was in the midst of a multi-million dollar project including renovating and moving of clerk offices. Spranger often resisted plans, resulting in disputes, some of which went to court. Her removal was ultimately based on what a judge deemed to be untrue statements about residency on her election filing documents.

Miller will take office as soon as the Board of Canvassers certifies the results in two weeks or less.

Acting Clerk Kathy Smith, who had been working as a judicial secretary, will relinquish her duties after serving for six months.

Smith was commended by by Hackel, Miller and other officials for her management of the office.

Miller declined to comment about who he will appoint to his top two deputy posts, one for the court section and the other for register of deeds.

“It’s about putting the people first,” Miller said. “I know people want leaders are all levels who are going to fix things and not fight things. I want to work to make county government operate the best it possibly can.”

Hackel said, “We don’t have to agree with each other politically” to work together.

“Whatever he needs to get the job done we’ll fully support,” he said of his administration. “We’ll put personalities aside. I’ve always been able to do that.”

The county administration and clerk typically have minimal interaction, although under Spranger it was amplified because the county was in the midst of a multi-million dollar project including renovating and moving of clerk offices. Spranger often resisted plans, resulting in disputes, some of which went to court. Her removal was ultimately based on what a judge deemed to be untrue statements about residency on her election filing documents.

Miller will take office as soon as the Board of Canvassers certifies the results in two weeks or less.

Acting Clerk Kathy Smith, who had been working as a judicial secretary, will relinquish her duties after serving for six months.

Smith was commended by by Hackel, Miller and other officials for her management of the office.

Miller declined to comment about who he will appoint to his top two deputy posts, one for the court section and the other for register of deeds.

 

Click here for link to story on-line.

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