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Posted on Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 11:36 a.m.

Progress Michigan says Mark Ouimet should return $35,000 of 'wasted taxpayer money' to county

By Ryan J. Stanton

Lansing-based citizens group Progress Michigan is calling on Washtenaw County Commissioner Mark Ouimet, a Republican from Scio Township, to repay the county more than $35,000 for what the group considers "wasteful and questionable spending."

“Mark Ouimet treats taxpayers like his personal ATM for wasteful taxpayer-funded spending sprees, and he should return every cent of that money to taxpayers where it belongs,” David Holtz, Progress Michigan's executive director, said in a statement released Tuesday.


Mark Ouimet

“Mark Ouimet should stop feeding at the public trough," Holtz added. "The only responsible thing left for Mark Ouimet to do is to return the taxpayers’ money and apologize for using that money irresponsibly and wastefully.” reported on Sunday that Ouimet has collected per diem payments totaling $25,925 for attending 1,037 meetings in his nearly six years as a commissioner. Some county officials believe he billed the county for many meetings that shouldn't have been eligible, including meetings with and The Ann Arbor News.

Ouimet also has received mileage reimbursements totaling more than $10,000 since 2005, county records show. That comes in addition to his annual board salary of $15,500.

The Washtenaw County Democratic Party has called for an investigation into Ouimet's expenses. Local attorney Thomas Wieder, who has been investigating Ouimet, said on Tuesday he believes at least $21,000 of the money Ouimet collected violates county rules.

Ouimet, who is running for the 52nd District state House seat, has dismissed the claims against him as "politics as usual." Ouimet is up against Democrat Christine Green in the Nov. 2 election.

Ouimet reiterated on Tuesday he has not intentionally taken money from the county that he is not entitled to, and he encouraged the county clerk to examine his expenses.

"If there's any discrepancy, I would certainly repay it," he said.

Ouimet noted he gives all of the money he collects from the county to charity. Ouimet and his wife are listed publicly as members of the Tocqueville Society, which recognizes individuals who contribute at least $10,000 annually to the United Way of Washtenaw County.

"My wife and I give far more into this community than what I earn at the county," he said.

County records show Ouimet has far outpaced other commissioners in claiming per diem payments. In 2009, all 11 commissioners combined to claim $18,650. Of that, $6,550 went to Ouimet, while the other 10 commissioners averaged $1,210 apiece.

In 2008, the 11 commissioners combined to claim $15,325 in per diems. Ouimet claimed $6,450, or about 42 percent of the total for the entire board that year.

Multiple county officials are now calling for an end to per diems.

County Commissioner Leah Gunn, a Democrat from Ann Arbor, tried to eliminate per diems, mileage and travel money for commissioners last year. The board instead opted for a "flex account" proposal that limited each commissioner's spending at about $3,500 a year. Gunn said she intends to try again to end per diems, mileage and travel money.

County Commissioner Kristin Judge, a Democrat from Pittsfield Township, said on Tuesday she plans to bring a resolution to the county board on Oct. 20 to eliminate pension and health insurance benefits for commissioners. She said commissioners are part-time employees and should not receive such perks.

County officials are planning for a potentially $20 million deficit for 2012 and 2013, about $4 million more than previously thought. With property tax revenues declining and state funding uncertain, adjustments also may be necessary to address a shortfall in 2011.

County Clerk Larry Kestenbaum said Ouimet's case illustrates how much trouble per diems can cause for commissioners. Long after the fact, he said, it can be difficult to prove or disprove that an official took part in some specific meeting or the meeting was eligible for a per diem under the board rules then in force.

"For the umpteenth time in the last 10 years, I call on the board to abolish per diems for salaried officials," he wrote in a statement posted on

Ouimet said Tuesday he would vote in favor of a proposal to do away with them.

"I would agree that we shouldn't be getting the per diems," he said.

Per diems for attending meetings are common in county governments all across Michigan, though they're not typically paid in city governments. Ann Arbor City Council members do not collect per diems for attending meetings, though they are paid a salary.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529.



Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 8:19 p.m.

@trespass: These per diem disbursements are from a non-accountable plan, and thus it would be a failure of county administrative officials if a W-2 was not issued, as they are taxable as income.


Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 7:55 a.m.

Mark Oiumet has known about the FOIA, at least since I met with him in early August, but he didn't offer to have anyone audit his account or pay anything back until he was confronted by Mr. Dowty. For those that excuse this based on him supposedly giving the money to charity, the per diem is not taxed but the charitable donation is tax deductible, so he got a big tax savings.


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 12:39 p.m.

I must confirm that Ryan Stanton is my favorite writer for, but I have some problems with this story. First, Mr Ouimet was paid $6550 out of $18,650 in 2009. That leaves $12,100. And Ryan tells that all others averaged $1210 each. So it appears the Ryan has taken the $ not taken by Ouiment and divided by the other ten, which was the average spent by each. If some took none, then the average is higher for those who did and those who did not should not be included as taking $1210. Gunn and Judge do not like reimbursements, maybe they did not claim any. Or maybe they don't go to meetings like Ouimet does. That is misleading. Perhaps some of them took none at all and some took a lot, but not as much as Ouiment? I would prefer a listing of he use of these reimbursements of each candidate, not simple math. And I want to know how much the other commissioners gave to charity after you confirm Ouimet's claim he did so. Also, if Ouimet took this tax money and gave it to charity was our tax money used by him as a tax deduction for charitable giving? Did our tax money lower his taxes? The other thing that sticks in my craw here and should be higher up in the story based on the inverted pyramid style of reporting: "it can be difficult to prove or disprove that an official took part in some specific meeting or the meeting was eligible for a per diem under the board rules then in force." So is this an issue with Ouimet or an issue with incompetence in county government? If the process was so cloudy that the people running it had trouble understanding it, why did it continue? It was hard to determine if the meeting was eligible. If so, then how can you fault Ouimet? Is Ouimet getting more than the others because he is doing something inappropriate, or is it because he is representing his constituents far more than the others?


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 10:58 a.m.

@ Kristin Judge: Hope that statement is correct, if not you did a great job of waving your own flag. So in your opinion was any wrong done here? The voters are listening.

E. Manuel Goldstein

Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 10:53 a.m.

Mr Ouimet, like all Republican lawmakers, is entitled to go on any junket he chooses, all while using taxpayer dollars, isn't he? In fact, maybe he should get an Argentinian mistress on the public's dime, and "go for a walk on the Appalachian Trail", just like other good christian Republican he-men. For goodness sakes, it was only $35,000, right?


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 10:44 a.m.

@ Ghost: You agree with Tom, just weakens anything you have ever said! As for what Progress Michigan thinks, are they not a liberal think tank? Who cares, you cares what they think we know what the goal is.

Kristin Judge

Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 9:37 a.m.

@seniorcitizen - Thanks for bringing up that point. "Checks and balances within the county system ensure that all per diems were approved. If people don't like the per diem system then the system should be changed through normal mechanisms." The checks and balances were NOT in place when I took office in 2008. After a thorough examination of the entire county budget (with special attention paid to the Board of Commissioner Budget) for which I was criticized by fellow Commissioners, I found the lack of oversight appalling. Clerk Kestenbaum is correct that his office was not given authority to question Commissioner per diems. Remember, the 11 elected officials are solely responsible for all $200 million of the county budget. We write the rules and should follow them in my opinion. To be eligible for a per diem, a commissioner must be appointed to a specific committee by the Chair of the Board. In public meetings last year, I suggested limiting per diem payouts to $100 a month. There are no more than 6-8 maximum meetings a month that qualify for per diem. It is important to note that prior to my instituting the internal finanacial control, Commissioner Ouimet was paid for approximately 250 meetings a year. After the "checks and balance" he is now getting paid for approximately 60 meetings. Still think this was politically motivated? I firmly believe that elected officials have an obligation to use taxpayer money wisely and follow the rules put in place to ensure proper use of YOUR money. When I saw the problem, I fixed it.


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 9 a.m.

My take is that the reason Mark received more in per diem than the other commissioners is that he spent more time focused on his role as commissioner and did more for the county than the others. Checks and balances within the county system ensure that all per diems were approved. If people don't like the per diem system then the system should be changed through normal mechanisms. Trying someone in the press like this is NOT appropriate.

Tom Wieder

Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 2:01 a.m.

There continues to be significant confusion here about what the per diems are. They are not reimbursement for expenses. They are a form of pay, sort of "piece work." They go back more than 4 decades ago to the days of the Board of Supervisors, which preceeded the Board of Commissioners. At that time, payment for going to the meetings is all that they got - no salary. They are an anachronistic form of compensation. But make no mistake about it - they are ordinary income taxable by the IRS the same as salary or hourly pay. Taxes really aren't an issue here. IF (and that is a BIG IF) Ouimet had given all his county money to eligible charities, he could have taken a deduction for the whole amount (subject to caps on itemized deductions), but he would have had to include the per diems in his income, so he doesn't come out ahead on his taxes by taking the money and giving it away. But why does anyone believe that he actually gave all the money to charity, just because he said so? The real issue is whether he was entitled to the money in the first place, and, clearly the answer is "no" - to a lot of it. Commissioners are only entitled to per diems for attending specific meetings - meetings of specifically listed Board of Commissioners committees and subcommittees, and meetings of a list of County citizen/Commissioner committees, boards, etc., if, and only if, the Commissioner has been formally assigned to serve on the committee. Nothing else is permitted. Ouimet claimed per deims for attending about 600 meetings that he wasn't eligible to be paid for, plus over $6,000 in mileage reimbursement to attend them, for a total of over $21,000! He claimed reimbursement for stopping by township board meetings, for meetings with non-County groups, for informal discussions with county employees, for meeting with The Ann Arbor News, etc., etc. He was not entitled to those payments, no reasonable reading of the rules would permit it, and no other Commissioner came within a mile of comitting comparable abuses.


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 12:10 a.m.

@tlb1201--you're welcome! @Larry Kestenbaum--The source of my confusion, from "What happened for the current year was we were basically asked to vet these things, and so we started doing that," Kestenbaum said. "But prior to that, basically if a commissioner filed for the meeting, WE PAID IT." [emphasis added] The antecedent for 'we' set up by the author of this article includes the 'staff member in the county clerk's office who is responsible for signing off on expenses', as well as Kestenbaum himself given his own use of the word 'we'. These per diems by all descriptions have no specific connection to meals or overnight travel. This is a non-accountable plan, in which a minimum of 197 County positions participate (see below). From the entirety of the direct quotes, it is administered through the sequential functions of the County clerk and payroll offices. Disbursements under such a plan are taxable as income. Given IRS cross-checks of tax returns to electronic W-2 reporting, compliance with taxation would be assured unless the County administrative officials failed to issue W-2s. Eligibility for the County's non-accountable plan, based on rules and regulations adopted by the Board of Commissioners on January 6, 2010, extends not only to the commissioners but to all members of 27 County policy boards and commissions; not all rosters are on the County website but the incomplete list includes 197 persons. Therefore, to understand the entirety of this, one needs to ask why the 9 to 2 majority Washtenaw County Board has authorized, and the County clerk and payroll offices administer, a non-accountable plan for about 200 persons, when the economy is so tenuous for many of our citizens. How much additional money was spent under this plan referable to the 186 individuals who are not commissioners?


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : midnight

Me Thinks They Doth: Thanks for the excellent detailed explanation of accountable vs non-accountable plans! And Larry Kestenbaum, thanks for clarification of the process the county uses. And Ghost: It wasn't my intent to defend Mr Ouimet. It was my point that you were incorrectly using the tax deduction issue to spin things to further your own agenda of attacking Mr. Ouimet, as you seem to do to anyone else who is even slightly right of center. I would be among the last to defend the guy if he was improperly taking the money. As most people with integrity would do, I'm simply waiting for the truth to come out as to whether he was entitled to the per diems and reimbursements before accusing, trying, and hanging the man in the court of public opinion. The real Edward R. Murrow is probably spinning in has grave right now!


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 10:53 p.m.

I hope this is all smoke and mirrors but if it isn't....It amazes me that there are so many people here who seem to be OK with a possible missappropriations of public funds by a public official. Maybe that's because so many folks have "retired" on the public dime and just consider it to be a job "perk". A charitable donation with possible ill gotten funds in order to receive an ego boost and praise doesn't even register on the ethics scale for some folks. I guess corruption and it's acceptance is business as usual. Help yourself to the paperclips and pens, don't forget to get the oil changed and do the grocery shopping on company time too. Gotta love those public servants.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 10:10 p.m.

"...This story is just a political hit...." Speaking of hit jobs, when will Ouimet apologize to Green, his opponent, for the smear mailer which the state GOP sent out for his campaign's benefit? In the context of Ouimet's per diem habits in recent years, it takes more than a little nerve to accuse the opposition of questionable financial responsibility.

Erich Jensen

Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 9:26 p.m.

Doesn't Mark Ouimet needs to be compensated for attending more than 1000 meetings in 5 years? How does that attendance equate with the other commissioners? What do the readers think is fair compensation for time, gas, wear and tear on vehicles, etc, etc, etc? Would anyone trade places with Mark?

Larry Kestenbaum

Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 8:54 p.m.

"If Mr. Kestenbaum disbursed these monies under an accountable plan..." Let's be clear here. I do NOT disburse per diems. They are disbursed by the payroll office under the authority of the Board of Commissioners. The money comes from the Board's own budget, not mine. Until the beginning of this year, as a matter of convenience for commissioners, the same staff member who takes minutes at board meetings would collect the per diem slips and give them to Payroll. Starting in January 2010, we were given the authority to review and reject per diems. Now, each one is examined, and only the ones which comply with the Board rules are given to Payroll. As a matter of general policy, the county pays mileage to its employees only at the IRS rate. That rule applies to commissioners, too.

David Briegel

Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 7:58 p.m.

mike, What happened to your fiscal conservatism? "far left Dem advocacy group". Oooohh, now that's scary! From Lansing, oh no! When you don't have an answer to the issue, attack a conservative like Sam Adems.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 7:34 p.m.

@Ghost and tlb1201: neither of you is precisely correct on the tax issue. Business expenses can be reimbursed by an accountable or a non-accountable plan under IRS rules (e.g., there is nothing to prevent an organization from paying $100.00 per mile for mileage, but reimbursements under such non-accountable plans are income and must be included on W-2s). The discretion about reimbursing under an accountable or a non-accountable plan resides solely with the organization, not the person receiving the disbursement. If Mr. Kestenbaum disbursed these monies under an accountable plan, then no W-2 entry should have been generated and the organization, not the recipient, has validated the appropriateness of the expenses to the IRS (i.e., accountable is what the organization must be). If Mr. Kestenbaum disbursed under a non-accountable plan, then we need to understand why the Washtenaw County government finds the need to operate such a plan with the economy so tenuous for many of our citizens. A decision to operate a non-accountable plan is far beyond the sole discretion of a single individual, either as a payee, county official or as a county commissioner. If no W-2 was issued for non-accountable reimbursements, then Mr. Kestenbaum and county administrative officials have failed in their responsibilities under federal tax law, and their error would inconvenience the payee with the need to file an amended return through no fault of the individual. Conversely, if the payee ignored the only notice of the non-accountability of the disbursement, namely the W-2, and failed to include the amount on a tax return, the IRS would generate an inquiry or an audit through its cross-checks with the W-2 information that it receives electronically. The problem with the politics of personal destruction is that it generates so many inconvenient questions for the instigators when people stand tall like they are above, and reject the bullying.

Joe Hood

Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 7:21 p.m.

@Ghost tlb1201 is noting how he is following the advice of a professional. This story is just a political hit. The man donated the money to charity. Not like he added two trillion in debt in 19 months or something criminal like that. If this is the best the opposition can come up with for dirt, they must be down pretty far down in the polls.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 6:35 p.m.

Ghost: That is not necessarily true about per diems not being taxable. From advisories my CPA has provided to me in the past, if the amount of a per diem exceeds the actual expenses of attending a job-related metting, then the IRS considers it to be taxable income. The answer to whether Mr. Ouimet paid taxes on his per diems or what he received in benefits from any charitable contributions is between him, his accountant, and the IRS.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 6:18 p.m.

Just because a Cty. Commissioner is eligible for health insurance does not mean that they necessarily avail themselves of the benefit. To read this article, it certainly appears to assume rather than present factual information. It's unfortunate that this is the only media outlet available to receive information on our local candidates. Did anyone at even ASK the "other side" for a rebuttal?


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 6:15 p.m.

Executive Director of Progressive Michigan, David Holtz, sent me a mail talking about Mark Quimet issue. I replied by stating that if we care about the integrity of our commissioners and other officials. We need to keep an eye on the proposal "Coordinated Funding" voted at the end of this month, Which has been written twice by This new proposal gathers all the power at Urban County, and the commissioner acting chair there will have ultimate power. Mark Quimet is obviously having taken more than he's supposed to have. Except greed on money, we also need to be alert of greed on gathering power. It's much more severe than greed on money. Why? once people has much power, decision making can definitely influenced by being bribed by money. It will affect us directly. Mark Quiemet returns the money, the case will be closed. However, if any policy is influenced by supreme power, the bribery under the table which we can never see. I applaud the efforts of other commissioners who try their best to establish a healthy, decent government. Thanks!

Sam Adems

Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 5:51 p.m.

I'm disappointed in the coverage of Mark Ouimet by This is not the first time that Mark Ouimets behavior has been questioned but if you read this news story and the posts you'd have no idea. Here is what's missing: Mark Ouimet was Chairman, President & CEO of a local bank and he received $465,000 in bonuses from the bank during that time (see page 14 of, yet the bank lost money every year he was president of it, for a total of $2.7 million (see page 15 of As a result, he was asked to step down by the banks board of directors. Mark Ouimet during his years working for Northwood University asked people to refer to him as Dr. Mark Ouimet, yet there is no evidence that he ever had a doctorate degree. For three examples, see: This document which states, "Dr. Mark Ouimet, chancellor of Northwoods University, has joined the foundation board of directors." This document gives a list of people including "Dr. David E. Fry, the President of Northwoods University; Dr. Mark Ouimet, its Chancellor." Lastly, Chamber News which states The day begins with an inspirational message from Dr. Mark Ouimet, a board member and past award recipient of the National Athena Foundation, who will share reflections on the relationship between value systems, moral leadership and the tenets of the Athena award. Perhaps in future stories reporters can mention the past actions of this man which are echoes of the current actions that many find so troubling? Finally, @Ryan - perhaps you can settle the matter about "Dr. Mark Ouimet" by asking Mark Ouimet directly if he was encouraging people to call him "Dr. Mark Ouimet" as the evidence on the net (and the memory of several posters on the first article) indicates and let us know the result?

mike from saline

Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 5:39 p.m.

so Ryan, a far-left advocacy group from Lansing that, up until you wrote this piece, nobody's ever heard of, releases, what amounts to an attack ad against a Republican Candidate for a State house seat in Washtenaw County, and you [along with the Editor's of] consider this a great example of political reporting? You and Lon Horwedell must have attended the same Journalism school.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 5:31 p.m.

I don't care what Progress Michigan thinks. Not only should folks vote for mark because he's the better candidate of the two, they should do so to take a stand against Green and her pathetic politics. Don't believe her if she says she's not involve. You are smarter than that.

American Family

Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 4:17 p.m.

If Mr. Ouimet was a member of the Democratic Party, he would be given cheers of support from both the living and the Ghost of the Democratic Party members. If you are not in to some form of "ism", the people here in the land of Lolli-pops and Sugar Drops will attack you in a hateful smear campaign. You "ism" people can keep your change, and your "ism". I believe in the good old fashion American way. Let the boo and hiss crowd begin their chants and tantrums now. Mr. Ouimet did nothing wrong.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 3:33 p.m.

Was shocked to see this article but after reading and seeing the people involved, I understood what is going on!!. To wait until less that 4 weeks prior to the election and to have the people involved to all be from the other party, do we really need to investigate. Guess they are scared and looking for a way to round up some more votes. I hope that people realize how good this man is and how well he will serve us in Lansing. I for one am PROUD to know him, Fredric S Leeman


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 3:16 p.m.

Ghost and Murrow and maybe a few others who seem so upset that Mr. Ouimet may have gotten a tax deduction on the income he donated, you seem to be missing something. If he received that money from the county, he had to pay taxes on it as income. Most likely, given our tax structure, he didn't get 100 percent of it back. It cost him something to make the donations. I mean, besides the bad PR some people are trying to slap on him before we know whether it is warranted. I think it's good to be outraged at a politician who abuses the system. That can drive reform and change. BUT there is a huge difference between a hard-working public servant and someone who abuses the system. It's not right to attack and convict someone online until we know the facts. I definitely think the compensation system needs to be changed to prevent potential abuse and waste, whether or not Mr. Ouimet received per diems he was not entitled to. It's not structured well. But enough of the partisan garbage that the same old blowhards spew on this site for the sake of simply being partisan! Some of us are tired of hearing it and want to read some legitimate discussions of facts and opinions without the over-spin that some of you try to inpart on just about every story on here just to hear yourselves talk. And shame on for not identifying the partisan nature of those quoted in stories like this one. All it does is give the appearance of motives like muck-raking simply for the purposes of getting people stirred up to pad readership numbers or for swaying voters for the upcoming election. It just doesn't look good whether there was motive or not.

David Cahill

Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 3:14 p.m.

The rules on per diems were summarized in an earlier article, and were set forth verbatim in the Ann Arbor Chronicle's coverage. The FOIA response listing Ouimet's per diem reimbursements was also posted. Many of these per diems that Ouimet awarded to himself violated the rules, as even Republicans should be able to admit.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 2:43 p.m.

Sorry, but doing PR interviews with news media DOES NOT COUNT as public service, especially when you are running for another (higher paid) public office! Some of these expenses, such as attending meetings of townships MAY at a stretch be the actual business of a county commissioner, or they MAY be a way to drum up support for your campaign for that other, more important public office. Someone impartial needs to investigate whether those meetings were necessary. And I don't care if it went to charity. First, it came out of everyone's pocket in the form of taxes paid to county government. Second, charitable donations are tax deductible, so he got a third or so of it back in income tax not paid!


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 2:41 p.m.

So if I rob a bank but give the money to charity it's okay? It doesn't make any difference if he gives the money to charity. If he is taking money he is not entitled to it should be returned. You cannot completely say he has not personally benefited. If he has made a commitment to donate $10,000 to the United Way but he is using taxpayer money he really isn't making a sacrifice. If the rules for per diem and mileage are clear and he has violated them, he should be prosecuted for fraud. And I totally agree that they need to do away with pension and health care perks for these part time jobs. I wonder how many years they have to have the job to be vested.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 2:30 p.m.

This is normal politics - why does anyone care.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 2:30 p.m.

@ msfadden: Thanks very well said! Not everyone has him convicted. Just the democRATS.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 2:22 p.m.

I'm a Democrat, but also an acquaintance of Mr. Ouimet. He has certainly shown himself -- over many years -- to be a fine public servant. No one seems to be able to demonstrate that his reimbursements were in any way outside of the rules. What a shame: character assassination at it's worst. It's amazing that we can get anyone to run for office: who wants to put up with this junk?


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 2:16 p.m.

Could one of the charities he gave our money to be his own campaign fund?


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 2:16 p.m.

I am so tired of Democrats who overtax their constituency and re-distribute that money to their pet charities. I am sick of it. I suggest we oust the guy and vote Republican next time. I want fiscal conservatives, who stand for lower taxes and smaller government, overseeing my money. pssst Really??? No!!! But I thought


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 2:15 p.m.

@ Ghost: So he is already convicted, that is interesting does not take many "facts" does it? How about we have him pull out of the election and Green can run unopposed would that bother anyone? That is the only way she is going to win so "stay home on November 2"! Good thing we still have that not guilty verdict.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 1:38 p.m.

JSA, For the same reason The Michigan View group doesn't state "Paid for by the Republican Party".


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 1:31 p.m.

Why didn't the disclaimer "Paid for by the Michigan Democratic Party" appear after the article?


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 12:39 p.m.

I'm with BasicBob on this - eliminate all Flex Spending accounts. Conferences and travel are the first things companies eliminate during tough economic times. Apparently some commissioners think they have to take a trip instead of picking up the phone or going on-line to learn anything. Of course, having the family tag along for a nice trip at the same time is a decent perk to hold onto. Look where they all get to travel next summer if they keep this perk: Ouimet is now on record supporting the elimination of these perks. Let's see if he follows through on the 20th. I want to see PRE-ELECTION action from all commissioners on this issue, not after! Not so sure about taking away part-time employees' health care though. That seems counterproductive.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 12:22 p.m.

@Stephen Landes 1) if he is inappropriately claiming per diems, then that money has to be return to the tax payers (even if he didn't personally benefit), and 2) he can (and probably does) personally benefit in the form of charitable tax deductions.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 12:18 p.m.

Two things seem clear: 1. The payment structure for county commissioners needs to be fixed; and 2. Mr. Ouimet seems to have worked harder for his district, and the county, than his critics think he should have. What is most unfortunate, is that people seem to have lost track of reasonable thought and careful language in how they brought this questionable spending to the media. "Feeding at the public trough"? "Treating tax payers like his personal ATM"? IF it is established that he recieved funds he was not entitled to, he has said he will pay them back. What does he do with the income he recieves as a commissioner? He gives it all away to charity, so he'll be paying the county back with personal funds, having already donated the money he recieved from the County. As much as anything else, all this reiterates is Mr. Ouimet's work ethic, dedication to the county, and philanthropy.

Basic Bob

Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 12:07 p.m.

Since we are talking about fiscal responsibility, the educational conference expenses should be on the table, too. Can we get a resolution?


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 12:05 p.m.

You think we could do some investigative journalism on some of the democratic nominee's backgrounds.. or would that be biting the hands that feed you?

David Briegel

Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 12:04 p.m.

Stephen, what is your role in the Ouimet campaign? The Snyder campaign? Is there something wrong with being a Dem? What difference does it make who is making the allegations? Is Mark right or wrong. Pretty simple question. I can see why Republicans might not wish to answer. Political stunt indeed! The "objective person" is the county clerk and he stated his opinion quite clearly. I would think you "fiscal conservatives" might wish to prove you are! Should Mark get the tax deduction for his "generosity" with the peoples tax money? Alan, the Tea Party is the Republican party! All the hoopla only applies to Dem spending.

Top Cat

Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 11:56 a.m.

Has Mr. Ouimet violated any law or policy, yes or no? The timing of these revelations is certainly "interesting" as he appears to be leading in the race to take a seat that is currently being held by a Democrat. And Democrats are not running on their record and accomplishments this year. I wonder why that is?


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 11:46 a.m.

Has M-Live become an arm of the Democratic Party? Every person named in the article is a Democrat. Is this yellow journalism at its worst? I am not asserting that Mark Quimet is not taking too much money, this should be objectively researched. But less then one month before the election and with only Democratics making the accusations, it makes a person wonder!


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 11:33 a.m.

So he gets over $15,000 per year (about a person working full-time for minimum wage earns), plus about $6K in "per diems" for attending meetings (isn't that what his $15,000 is for?) Not too bad for a part-time position that is limited to a few evening meetings per month. What I'm more concerned with is that there are pension and healthcare benefits associated with this part-time job- how many people are entitled to either of these working in a part-time position?

Stephen Landes

Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 11:13 a.m.

Unfortunately the voting option doesn't speak to the one critical piece of information in the article: Mark Ouimet has apparently not personally benefitted from the per diem payments he received for his work. It seems he and his wife have donated that money to charity. If that is the case then I can't see any reason for him to secretly and maliciously overcharge the county. This sounds like one more old fashioned political stunt by the opposition (and we know who they are).