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Former State Senator Mike Kowall responds to allegations of favoritism in new high-paying role with Oakland County

Posted at 4:09 PM, Feb 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-06 19:49:47-05

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. (WXYZ) — Former State Senator Mike Kowall recently landed a new high-paying job with Oakland County, but some county leaders say he got special treatment.

Kowell received a $124,000 contract job in economic development with Oakland County after roughly two decades as a public servant. The position came with a more than $50,000 pay raise compared to his last job. He says he is qualified for the position.

"Because of the contacts and relationships I have, with virtually everybody around the state, it’s a better fit," Kowall said.

Yet, Kowall is married to Republican County Commissioner Eileen Kowall. The Deputy County Executive said this fact had no bearing on his appointment. The county stressed Kowall gets no vacation time, no benefits and no special treatment. But the deputy also admitted no one else got an interview for the position.

“Mike’s strengths and qualifications. Mike has been elected for 23 years," the deputy said. "Everything from township supervisor, to State Senator, to state rep and he’s been well recognized.”

But not everyone agrees that Kowell's appointment was without favoritism.

Democratic Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner believes the new position raises questions.

“If you’re a white make in your 50’s, 60’s or 70’s, you seem to have a really good shot of landing a job in the Patterson Administration," Meisner said.

Democratic Chairman of the Board of Commissioners David Woodward is now calling for a deeper review into Kowall’s new position as Economic and Legislative Liaison.

He says he suspects Kowall is cashing in on a long running friendship with the CEO, who also endorsed him in a failed bid for Congress.

"In my entire time on this board, I’ve never seen a scenario where we hire a temp agency to go find someone Brooks has known for longer than I’ve known Mike Kowall," David said.

Action News made an official request for County Commission Eileen Kowall's voting record compared to the County Executive. We are waiting for the documents and will continue coverage on this story.