Kowall bill will bring transparency to Macomb County drainage board

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LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall on Monday announced he will be introducing a bill to bring transparency to the Macomb County drainage board.

“Under the drainage board’s current structure, the county executive of Macomb County cannot make appointments to the board and has no oversight of it,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “That is a bad arrangement.

“The Oakland County drainage board, by contrast, includes a member appointed by the county executive, subject to the approval of the county’s board of commissioners.”

Senate Bill 1117 would update the structural arrangement of the Macomb County drainage board so that it matches that of the Oakland County drainage board.

“Since the county executive of Oakland County is an elected position, accountable to the voters, having that person appoint a member to the county’s drainage board has helped ensure transparency,” Kowall said. “Residents have a right to know how and why the members of the drainage board are making their decisions.”

Kowall said the issue came to light after Macomb County Public Works Director Anthony Marrocco was interviewed by WXYZ-TV — and sent out pamphlets — stating that Oakland County was polluting the waters of Macomb Water.

The lawmaker said that without transparency on the Macomb County drainage board, there is no way to investigate any evidence, or lack thereof, for Marrocco’s comments. It is time to shine a light on the county’s practices, he said.

Sen. Rick Jones is a co-sponsor of SB 1117.

“No county government should have books that the people of the county can’t see,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “It’s time to open the books and be transparent.”

Kowall said that to achieve everyone’s goal of superior water quality, the proper governmental structure must be in place.

“There is a need for collaboration and for a regional approach to water issues,” he said. “An open county structure, such as Oakland County’s, encourages such cooperation.”

Kowall is the majority floor leader in the Michigan Senate. He has previously served as public safety director for White Lake Township in Oakland County.

SB 1117 will be officially enrolled when the Senate returns to session in mid-October.