DETROIT (WXYZ) - The clamor for the Wayne County Executive to resign appears to be growing louder. So what would happen if Robert Ficano bowed to the pressure and stepped down? Or could he be removed from office?
It started with a handful of elected officials asking Robert Ficano to walk away. Now popular radio shows are polling Wayne County residents, and the buzz is growing.
But forcing Ficano out won’t be easy.
“Today I call on Bob Ficano to resign and let Wayne County move on forward to be the great county it can be,” said Wayne County Commissioner Laura Cox on February 16, 2012.
Cox was the first Commissioner to ask for the embattled county executive to leave office. And she’s not alone in wanting to Robert Ficano to resign.
“I think that it’s getting to the point now where we’re not able to govern or really provide the services to the people of Wayne County,” said Commissioner Bernard Parker.
Commissioner Kevin McNamara recently sent out about 7,000 emails – to take the pulse of his constituents on whether Ficano should stay or go.
“Bob Ficano obviously has made massive mistakes, both leadership-wise and managerial. I want to know based upon that information, would you ask him for his resignation,” said McNamara.
Monday, McNamara told 7 Action News that the majority of the responses he received are clear – they want Ficano to step down.
Ever since the 7 Action News Investigators exposed the Turkia Mullin severance scandal, and broke the news that the FBI was investigating Ficano’s staff for possible corruption – the County CEO has been at the center of a firestorm of resignations, terminations, and grand jury subpoenas.
Even the hugely popular WRIF morning radio team, Drew and Mike, conducted their own comical poll – asking listeners if they want Ficano to resign.
Drew: “Can you tell us what upset you most about Bob Ficano’s performance?”
Listener: “He’s a crook!”
Drew: “Was there anything specific? Turkia Mullin, did that set you over the edge?”
Listener: “Yeah, yeah. People out here struggling, to find a job, and try to keep a job, and when they’re laid off, you got to fight for benefits, and she’s getting a big pile of money just laid in her lap.”
Listener: “Turkia Mullin was really enough to seal the deal, the rest of it is just – I would like to get a dozer and lift him and take him out of office myself.”
Drew: “Wow, I love this woman, that’s fantastic. And I agree – Turkia Mullin was enough, he should have been gone then.”
So what would it take to remove the county Executive from office?
“What we do know for sure, there’s no provision in the county charter or in state law that allows the county commission to remove the county executive,” said Commissioner Chairman Gary Woronchak. “The Commission could propose a charter amendment to allow some sort of mechanism for the removal of the ... of any official. But then again state law might supersede.”
Woronchak also says it’s not clear who would choose Ficano’s replacement, should he voluntarily leave.
“If the County Executive were to succumb to the pressure and resign from office, the deputy county executive Jeffrey Collins, would assume all duties of the county executive,” said Woronchak.
But then there’d be a debate as to whether the deputy CEO would stay until the next election – or whether state law would kick in, which calls for the prosecutor, the chief probate judge, and the county clerk to choose Wayne County’s next leader.
Robert Ficano maintains that he won’t step down. His press secretary says he’s focused on jobs and growth for Wayne County.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
More from The Investigators
The 7 Action News Investigators are digging deeper into the rare complaint filed by Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper against Novi District Judge Brian MacKenzie.
The Wayne County Commission agreed to enter into a Memo of Understanding with Dan Gilbert’s Rock Ventures this morning.
In a blistering complaint, Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper says her office has found seven cases where Novi District Judge Brian Mackenzie improperly dismissed misdemeanor charges where plaintiffs had already pled guilty or no contest.