Deputy County Executive Defends Patterson, Touts Oakland County Achievements (video)

Deputy County Executive Defends Patterson, Touts Oakland County Achievements (video)DDAsample01

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Jan. 24, 2014)

The day after local media swarmed on a scandalous profile piece published in The New Yorker, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson cancelled a speaking engagement with the Oakland Chamber Network, sending Deputy County Executive Phil Bertolini instead.  The former tax assessor-turned-right-hand-man  defended Patterson and shared Oakland County success stories with the group of board members of Chambers of Commerce from throughout the county.

“No matter what has been said over the past two days, our County has been a champion of regional initiatives,” Bertolini said.  “It’s been a rough two days.  And there’s been a lot of comments that have been Street-Eatzz-Admade.  We had a reporter that chose to take 20 year old quotes instead of the hours that we had spent with her talking about all the regional initiatives that we’re doing, being part of this region.”

Bertolini talked about how projects like the CLEMIS law enforcement system, the Detroit Zoo and Cobo Hall came about because of Oakland County collaboration.  “What you see standing before you is the only representative from the only county in this region that has actually invested in regional initiatives,” he said.

“I’m here to let you know this morning, first thing, let’s just nail it right now, that this County Executive believes in Oakland County. He’s believed in this region for a very long time and if they want to go ahead and smear him with quotes and do different things to impact him, it’s not gonna matter in the long run bridget and kevin deegan krause thank youbecause we are financially sound.  We have the most incredible Chamber Network in the entire nation. We have the best businesses in the entire nation.  The business community here is second to none and we’re gonna be successful as Oakland County in the long term,” Bertolini said.

He said the county’s plan was simple “don’t spend more than you have.”  He also said that they “started restructuring government back in 1993 when Brooks came into office.”

The latest restructuring took place in 2003 when they realized that declining property tax revenue would Jim Shaffer ad EDITEDimpact the budget.  A hiring freeze was put in place and a budget task force was instituted to look at long term planning.

In addition to managing the budget defensively, Oakland County made investments to diversify the types of businesses attracted to the area.  Automation Alley sought to take SE Michigan “from the Rust Belt to the Tech Belt,” Bertolini said.  And Medical Main Street got hospitals and medical device companies working together to make Oakland County a destination stop for healthcare and healthcare professionals.

“We wanted to be in this knowledge-based economy, knowing full well many of our eggs were in the automotive basket,” he said.

Bertolini, a former tax assessor, also threw in his thoughts on the importance of paying taxes and of having a strong tax base.  “People want police on the street. They want fire departments.  They want services that they need to provide for the health, and safety, and welfare of the people. They need that and there has to be a way to fund it,” he said.  “The property tax system has been that way for many years.  It’s not a HowesLocationpopular thing, and no one likes paying their taxes, but you know what, it’s what makes the world go round for these services.”

The Oakland Chamber Network hosted the Annual Meeting and Joint Board Breakfast on Jan. 22 at The Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills.  The event gave members of over 20 different Chambers of Commerce a chance to network and learn. Other stories from that event will be posted in the coming days.

For more on Oakland Chamber Network go to www.theoaklandchambernetwork.com.  For more on Oakland County government, go to http://www.oakgov.com.

For a previous story on L. Brooks Patterson’s interview with The New Yorker go to http://oaklandcounty115.com/2014/01/20/a-week-with-l-brooks-patterson-nets-new-yorker-a-juicy-profile/.

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