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Chaos continues in Macomb County clerk office

Macomb Daily
Photo of Karen Spranger prior to election as Macomb County Clerk

Macomb County officials say the county clerk's office is falling into chaos as supervisors and staff flee a hostile workplace of the new clerk's making. 
Six of eight supervisors are on paid administrative leave, and roughly a dozen staff are on paid medical leave due to conflicts and stress caused by Karen Spranger, the county clerk who before her election was known for showing up at local hearings wearing an aluminum-covered suit to protest smart meters. 

(Read more: Macomb County's new Clerk can't stay out of trouble)

Unfilled positions are being left unfilled. Spranger has also removed most of the technology from the office and has staff using carbon paper for copies of receipts. 

County Attorney John Schapka calls Spranger's conduct "shameful" and says a once-stellar and professional department is now in shambles.

The county is trying to get rid of Spranger, widely viewed as incompetent and unstable, by proving she lied about her residency when she filed to run for County Clerk.

Since being elected, Spranger has:

  • gotten herself and the county slapped with a whistle-blower lawsuit, after she fired two employees for calling attention to ethics violations
  • been fined by the county commission for those ethics violations
  • gotten into an accident while driving a county-owned car
  • tried to stop the county from moving some of her department into a new building by hiding the moving boxes
  • told an associate to secretly film a customer using the county's services
  • has been found by the county human resources to have created a hostile workplace for employees
  • asked the county to pay for the attorney she is using to sue the county

That's among other conflicts, disputes, and disturbances.
Michigan Radio was unable to speak with Spranger in time for the publication of this story, because a county clerk employee left the call on hold for a lengthy period of time.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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