Kzoo Co. Commission seat will stay empty for now

 

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners will be down one member until Jan. 1 after a now evenly split board ran into partisan deadlock on its very first vote to fill an empty seat.

What this means for the future has some commissioners worried.

The loss of a Democratic member who moved out of his district leaves the board with a 5-5 split between Republicans and Democrats. The divide was in full display Tuesday during a commission meeting as the board tried to fill Kevin Wordelman's District 2 seat.

Wordelman moved out of his district Sept. 24, but continued to vote and make proposals and amendments at least one meeting. He voted on and introduced some important county business, including amendments to the county budget that now are invalid.

Other issues that must be addressed include creating an indigent defense solution as mandated by law, participating in a lawsuit against opioid providers, and accepting and distributing $500,000 in Public Housing Commission grants for the homeless. The board had moved on all of those issues — all by 5-6 votes — but the decisions were thrown out when Wordelman moved.

Under state law, the county board can appoint a new member within 30 days or hold a special election to fill the seat, but there is no special election available until May.

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