About 1 in 4 Michigan county commissioners will be new in 2017

Michigan’s corps of county commissioners will greet 160 new members* come January, based on a preliminary review of unofficial results from Tuesday’s General Election. (*Updated 11-10-16)

The newcomers represent 26 percent* of the state’s 62michigan-county-map2 county commissioner seats.

Based on MAC reviews, turnover rates in county commissioner seats range between 20 percent and 25 percent in any given election. Commissioners serve two-year terms.

Among the notable changes stemming from Tuesday’s vote and earlier primary results from August:

  • Emmet County will welcome six new members to its seven-member board.
  • Lake County in west-central Michigan will have five new members on its seven-member board.
  • Branch County in south-central Michigan will have three newcomers on its five-member board.

As the statewide association that represents county governments in Michigan, MAC is gearing up for a series of “New Commissioner Schools,” in partnership with MSU Extension, to give newcomers an intensive look at their responsibilities.

“New commissioners don’t have a great deal of time to prep before their county responsibilities fall on them in January,” explained Tim McGuire, long-time MAC executive director, who will be leaving at the end of 2016. “These programs play an essential role in aiding public servants.”

GOP builds on large majority of Michigan’s county commissioner seats

parties image(Updated 12-19-14): In addition to retaining statewide elective offices and majorities in the Michigan Legislature, the Republican Party gained a small number of seats in the ranks of county commissioners, a MAC review of election results finds.

Based on unofficial election results, the Republicans now hold 396 of the 622 seats, a gain of 3 seats. Democrats hold 217 seats, a drop of 5, and candidates labeled as unaffiliated hold 9 seats, a gain of 2.

Republicans also hold a wide margin in control of county boards of commissioners:

  • 59 boards have GOP majorities
  • 23 boards have Democratic majorities
  • 1 board is tied (Alpena Co.)

Partisan control shifted in five counties due to election results: Clare (D to R); Kalamazoo (R to D); Manistee (D to R); Monroe (D to R); and Schoolcraft (D to R).

Of the 622 commissioners in 2015, 136 will be new to the office, MAC found. This turnover rate of 22 percent is consistent with historical results.

Millages find favor with voters

The day after the primary, the MIRS News Service in Lansing was reporting that 80 percent of new local tax proposals passed, and 99 percent of requests that were renewals were approved.Vote image

Among the notable county results on new millages reported by MIRS:

  • Road levies were approved in Alcona, Arenac, Ionia, Keweenaw and St. Joseph counties. (However, Cheboygan County voters rejected a road millage there.) Correction: Cheboygan County also approved its road levy, 2,892 to 2,197.
  • Emergency services levies were approved in Alger, Alpena, Cass, Iosco, Mason, Midland, Oceana, Osceola, Oscoda and Van Buren counties.
  • Senior services millages were approved in Allegan, Kent, Kalkaska, Missaukee, Ogemaw, Presque Isle and Shiawassee counties.