GENESEE COUNTY, MI — The Michigan Court of Appeals has blocked, at least temporarily, the proposed appointment of a new Genesee County commissioner to represent parts of the communities of Flint, Grand Blanc and Mundy.
In an order issued Wednesday, Jan. 25, the court barred the county board of commissioners from appointing a successor to Commissioner District 4 for Domonique Clemons pending a district court ruling on the merits of a lawsuit filed by Amy Miller, one of the nominees deals replace him.
Miller finished second in the District 4 county commissioner election on Nov. 8 and is one of 12 candidates who ran for appointment to the post after Clemons vacated the seat to become the county’s clerk registrar.
But Miller also filed a lawsuit earlier this month, asking a judge to order a special election to replace Clemons, rather than an appointment by commissioners.
Genesee Circuit judges have withdrawn from hearing the lawsuit, which also seeks to prevent the commissioners from making the appointment until their case is heard.
The commissioners are scheduled to meet at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and had planned to appoint replacements for Clemons and the late Bryant Nolden, D-Flint, who died just a month after winning a new two-year term to serve as District 1 to represent, including parts of Flint and Mt. Morris Township, in November.
Related: Genesee County Commissioner Bryant Nolden dies, remembered as a community warrior
District Attorney David Leyton said Miller’s lawsuit will likely be assigned to another district judge by the state court’s administrative office.
“The facts before this Court indicate that Mr. Clemons accepted appointment to a new office on December 6, 2022, at which time his county commissioner seat became vacant. The board did not fill this vacancy by appointment within 30 days, so it appears at this time that the board must call a special election to fill this vacancy,” the appeals court order said.
The county has claimed in its own court filings that the 30-day appointment window in Clemons County did not begin until Jan. 1, the date Clemons would have started his second term as commissioner. Miller’s lawsuit alleges that the 30-day clock started ticking on December 6, when Clemons was appointed clerk by Genesee Circuit Court judges.
Clemons’ appointment is also the subject of two separate pending lawsuits alleging that the county violated the state’s open assemblies statute when judges selected him for the post without conducting public interviews for the post or in public to advise.
In addition to Miller, 11 other candidates have stood for nomination to the District 4 seat. Contestants include Beverly Brown, Gregory Dietrich, Kellogg Dipzinski, Kenneth Frierson, Linda J. Hoff, Bethany James, Casey Lester, Joe Massey, Lynn M. Sorenson, Shannon K. Taylor and Glenn Wilson.
The appeals court’s decision does not appear to affect the planned appointment of a replacement for Nolden, a process also due to be examined by commissioners on Wednesday.
Candidates for the District 1 seat are Valencia J. Battle, Michael D. Doan Jr., Leon El-Alamin, Kate Fields, Delrico Loyd, Candice Mushatt and Lakeisha Tureaud.
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