County commission debates McDonough’s employment

St. Joseph County commissioners are expected to decide next week whether to submit a letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer regarding the employment of county prosecutor John McDonough.

During their executive committee meeting Wednesday, commissioners debated whether to submit the letter in an effort to remove McDonough from the post he has held for nearly 12 years.

Board chairman Dennis Allen said McDonough is an elected official and that the board of commissioners does not have the right to relieve him of his duties. A higher authority, perhaps Whitmer or more likely Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, though, possibly could, Allen said.

County administrator Teresa Doehring said as directed by commissioners, she worked with the county’s legal counsel to discuss the content of the letter. Doehring said a rough draft includes reference to the fact commissioners are unable to address the situation in any meaningful capacity.

Commissioners will likely revisit the issue and give Doehring direction at their county board meeting Tuesday next week.

Also Wednesday, commissioners agreed to conduct next week’s board meeting through Zoom. Earlier in September, they planned to return to in-person meetings starting with the Oct. 6 assembly. Now, the option will be put on hold at least until November.

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