Collins new Wayne County deputy executive

Former U.S. attorney and Wayne County judge Jeffrey G. Collins has been appointed as the new Wayne County deputy executive, to replace Azzam E. Elder, who resigned Thursday.

Scandal has shaken the county’s leadership since it was reported that former Chief Development Officer Turkia Mullin received a $200,000 severance payment after voluntarily leaving to run Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

Collins was a Wayne County Circuit Judge who ran as a Republican for a seat on the Michigan Supreme Court in 1998. He lost to current Justice Michael F. Cavanagh.

FBI to investigate Wayne County over severance packages

Reenactment of FBI entering Wayne County offices. Only not really.

From the Detroit Free Press:

Three teams of FBI agents entered Wayne County government offices in Detroit this afternoon to serve subpoenas for county records.

The agents’ presence comes as County Executive Robert Ficano has retained prominent criminal defense lawyer Steve Fishman to represent him in the FBI probe into a $200,000 severance paid to former county economic development director Turkia Awada Mullin.

County Commission Chairman Gary Woronchak, D-Dearborn, said he was told in an administration briefing that the teams of FBI agents gave the county several weeks to respond, by sometime in mid-November, he said.

“I’m glad they’re here and if they find criminal action then we can deal with that and then move forward and get on with the business of county government,” said Woronchak. “I think nothing else but full open and disclosure is in order to restore the people’s confidence in Wayne County government.”

I wonder if anyone is going to bother looking into getting a copy of that check from Mullin (alleged) returning the money.

HELP WANTED: Chief executive, must be miracle worker

With an unemployment rate of around 15 percent, you’d think that no job opening in Michigan would go unanswered.

But there’s one high profile job that will be available at the end of the year that no one seems to want to apply for: Democratic candidate for Governor of Michigan.

First Lt. Gov. John Cherry was forced to bow out of a race of which he was the front-runner because he couldn’t raise any money.

Next, former Detroit mayor and prominent attorney Dennis Archer declared that he wasn’t interested.

Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow have both said that they won’t run.  (It’s in there. Trust me.)

Now, Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano said he’s not running either.

While House Speaker Andy Dillon (D-Redford) seems like a logical candidate that is well-known statewide, but his popularity among the party rank-and-file is questionable in light of his support of consolidating the benefit plans of all state employees. Plus, he’s only just formed a committee to raise money for a potential bid. What if he runs into the same problem that Cherry did?

It’s getting so strange that some of the names being bandied about as great candidates either have no public affairs experience  (Denise Ilitch) or just don’t make sense (Joe Dumars).

Surely, someone will take the plunge. Mike Cox is the only Republican to win a statewide election since 1998. [UPDATE: An astute commenter reminded me that Terri Lynn Land also won two elections as Secretary of State as a Republican. Thanks for reminding me.] (Judicial elections don’t count as they technically aren’t affiliated with parties). The task of following up Governor Granholm can’t be that daunting, can it?

(On second thought, don’t answer that.)