Meeting The Candidates
County clerk and treasurer candidates
mix with voters at Temple Beth El.
ocal politics entered the realm
of Sunday breakfast when can-
didates for Oakland County
Clerk and Treasurer broke bread with
some 50 people at Temple Beth El's
Brotherhood breakfast on Oct. 21.
In a departure from the usual drawn-
out stump speeches, candidates were
given only five minutes to introduce
themselves and then were made avail-
able to answer questions one-on-one.
Event chair, West Bloomfield
Township Trustee Steven Kaplan, intro-
duced each of the candidates.
Lisa Brown, Democratic candidate
for Oakland County Clerk, said her top
priorities are protecting voters' and
"We've had unprecedented mortgage
fraud happening across the country,"
said Brown, currently state represen-
tative in the 39th District (Commerce
Township, part of West Bloomfield
Townships, Wixom, the Village of
Wolverine Lake). "People are losing their
homes due to fraudulent deeds'.'
She also promised that if elected, the
clerk's mobile office would visit every
community in the county, especially
senior centers and assisted-living facili-
ties. "I believe in bringing government
to the people'
Bill Bullard, the incumbent county
clerk, said the mobile office is labor
intensive. "We have to take employees
out of the office in Pontiac and put
them out in the field. We've expanded
mobile offices to senior centers, to
festivals and farmers' markets, and we
will get to every community, but we
can't take them out every day:'
He said he will continue improving
services and cutting expenditures by
increasing the use of technology.
"We're recording more deeds, filing
more lawsuits, providing more vital
records through technology," he said.
"Every time we do an electronic transac-
tion as opposed to a person standing at
the counter, we save money"
Marty Knollenberg, challenger for
treasurer, said his work in Lansing as
state representative in the 41st District
of Troy and Clawson and his private-
sector expertise make him the perfect
Knollenberg, who is term-limited,
is currently chairman of the State
Banking Committee, and has dealt with
mortgage foreclosure, fraud prevention,
and a whole variety of issues relevant
to the job as treasurer, he said.
Oakland County, he added, does not
contact delinquent property taxpayers
until they've been delinquent for two
"For most people, it's simply too late
to get back in the game he said. "We
need to be more proactive and more
preventative. It's a clear difference
between me and my opponent:'
He contrasted this with his insurance
business, where delinquent accounts
are reviewed every Monday. "We reach
out to them before their policy is can-
celled. The same principle could apply
to property tax delinquents," he said.
Incumbent Treasurer Andy Meisner
said that when elected in 2008, he prom-
ised to fight to protect property values,
tackle the oncoming foreclosure crisis
and to maintain fiscal discipline during
a time of unprecedented economic peril,
and he's tried to accomplish it all.
He said Knollenberg's assumptions
about delinquent property tax payers
are wrong. Under state law, on March
1 of the next year, delinquent taxes are
turned over to the county treasurer for
collection, he said.
"Since I became Treasurer, I insti-
tuted monthly payment plans. Now we
have 2,410 taxpayers on monthly plans,
thanks to our early intervention. That's
brought in $11.2 million.
"In addition, I have visited every
community in Oakland County and
met with local officials to help get the
word out about the importance of fore-
closure intervention. The same state
law requires me to send notices several
times a year to those taxpayers, and we
personally visit them," he said.
"You get a wake-up call and see who's
running and make up your mind': said
Isaac Pan of West Bloomfield. "What they
do in Washington is one thing; the local
politicians run our lives here:'
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October 25 a 2012