Michi­gan Cham­ber’s chair, trea­surer leave

The Detroit News - - Metro - BY BETH LEBLANC Detroit News Lans­ing Bureau

At least two high-rank­ing mem­bers of the Michi­gan Cham­ber of Com­merce’s Board of Di­rec­tors are out fol­low­ing the group’s ef­fort to stop a bal­lot pro­posal aim­ing to com­bat ger­ry­man­der­ing.

Mark David­off’s ten­ure as chair­man of the board ended when his com­pany Deloitte left the cham­ber in Oc­to­ber, ac­cord­ing to Deloitte. A Deloitte spokes­woman did not say the rea­son for the com­pany’s de­par­ture from the cham­ber, but re­ferred ad­di­tional ques­tions from The News to the cham­ber’s “in­com­ing chair” Arny Rodriguez, pres­i­dent and CEO of Tech­ni­cal Pro­fes­sional Ser­vices Inc. in Way­land.

John Lin­dow,

the

cham­ber’s board trea­surer, re­signed in Septem­ber “in or­der to fully fo­cus on in­creas­ing work re­spon­si­bil­i­ties,” ac­cord­ing to his em­ployer, MASCO.

David­off, man­ag­ing part­ner for Deloitte LLP in Detroit, has been chair­man since Jan­uary. John Lin­dow is the vice pres­i­dent, con­troller and chief ac­count of­fi­cer for MASCO and took over as trea­surer in Jan­uary.

Their de­par­tures came a cou­ple months be­fore the cham­ber’s an­nual an­nounce­ment of new lead­er­ship and sev­eral months prior to the sched­uled com­ple­tion of their terms Dec. 31.

David­off was one of the main tar­gets of ads run in July in The Detroit News and Free Press that in­cluded threats of vi­o­lence, boy­cotts and calls to ha­rass cham­ber board mem­bers for their op­po­si­tion to the re­dis­trict­ing com­mis­sion pro­posal.

Along with their names and pho­to­graphs, the board mem­bers’ com­pa­nies were also listed.

The Michi­gan Cham­ber of Com­merce, whose le­gal coun­sel Robert LaBrant played an ac­tive role in Repub­li­can re­dis­trict­ing ef­forts in 2001 and 2011, bankrolled an un­suc­cess­ful ef­fort this sum­mer to keep the pro­posal off the Novem­ber bal­lot.

The Vot­ers Not Politi­cians bal­lot mea­sure, Pro­posal 2, passed Tues­day with 61 per­cent of the vote.

Fol­low­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion on the Vot­ers Not Politi­cians pro­posal by for­mer Michi­gan Supreme Court Jus­tice Bob Young Jr. in Jan­uary, the board adopted a pol­icy op­pos­ing the pro­posal, ac­cord­ing to a copy of the board’s Jan­uary meet­ing min­utes. Young was ap­pointed gen­eral coun­sel for Michi­gan State Univer­sity in May.

At the Jan­uary meet­ing, the cham­ber also voted to “de­fer ac­tion in 2018 on ini­ti­at­ing a Con­sti­tu­tional Amend­ment bal­lot pro­posal to re­vise (leg­isla­tive) term lim­its,” “main­tain a rule of law ma­jor­ity on the Michi­gan Supreme Court” and op­pose “bal­lot pro­pos­als that threaten or would dam­age our eco­nomic com­pet­i­tive­ness.”

Cham­ber CEO Richard Stud­ley de­clined to con­firm or com­ment on the de­par­tures “to pro­tect the right to pri­vacy and the right of as­so­ci­a­tion.”

More than 80 busi­ness and com­mu­nity lead­ers serve on the board of di­rec­tors, he said.

“With a large and ac­tive Board of Di­rec­tors, it is nor­mal to have some turnover ev­ery year,” Stud­ley said in a state­ment.

“It is not un­com­mon for vol­un­teers to join or leave the board for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons in­clud­ing pro­mo­tions, trans­fers, re­tire­ments, un­fore­seen per­sonal cir­cum­stances or busi­ness de­mands.”

David­off

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