County board supports resolution to extend commissioner term years

GENESEE COUNTY — The Genesee County Board of Commissioners has given its support to a resolution that seeks to extend county commissioner terms from two years to four years throughout the state.

On March 24, the board cast its support for State Senate Bills 242 and 245, which seeks to change Michigan’s current law providing for two-year terms for commissioners and enact four-year terms for commissioners in each county. The board passed the resolution by an 8-1 vote.

Commissioner Domonique Clemons (D-Flint) said that the county board’s support of the resolution does not give Genesee County the authority to enact four-year terms for its commissioners; rather, he said it is a symbolic gesture to support the senate bills at the state level.

“We as a board have a lot of very important decisions to make and having two-year terms oftentimes doesn’t allow us the ability to get as much work done, because we are constantly in a state of reelection,” Clemons said. “I think having four year (terms) would allow folks to make tough decisions, allow them to remain here longer and learn and get into the details of the work that needs to be done.”

Board Chairman Mark Young, who represented the lone dissenting vote, said he wasn’t comfortable with changing the county commissioner term years.

“Our state legislators only have two-year terms,” he said. “This would give county commissioners a free shot at midterms to go against state representatives, basically without risk to their current political position.”

Supporters of Senate Bills 242 and 245 have said that the roles and duties of county commissioners have greatly expanded over the years, requiring more time for commissioners to get situated with their positions and make informed decisions to benefit their communities.

Michigan is one of only five states that limits county commissioners to two-year terms.