89.1 WEMU

In The Public Interest: Getting To Know Your Washtenaw County Government With Jason Morgan

Oct 7, 2019

Washtenaw County Commissioner Jason Morgan
Credit Susan Wooley / League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area

This edition of “In The Public Interest,” our bi-weekly conversation with the League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area, is hosted by WEMU’s Patrick Campion.

The conversation continues about “getting to know your Washtenaw County government” as Patrick talks with county commission chairman Jason Morgan.


(From L to R) WEMU's Patrick Campion and Washtenaw County Commissioner Jason Morgan
Credit Susan Wooley / League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area

What is the role of a County Commissioner?

  • Set policy for county services, personnel, capital improvement.  Enact ordinances (rather than laws).
  • Oversight of programs county funds are used for.
  • Constituent services - representing voters to administrators is a function that few, other than elected officials, can perform
  • Look at the big picture, coordinate all today and plan for the future

How many commissioners are there?

Nine.  Each represents a district.

How are comissioners chosen?

Elected - Two year terms; elections are in even-numbered years.

How big is county government?

  • Budget for general fund in 2019 is $120 million for General Fund
  • 32 departments
  • 59 Boards, commissions and committees

What about elected county officialsClerk, Treasurer, Sheriff, Prosecutor, judges, water resource commissioner?

These are statutory positions and elected to four year terms in presidential years.  They each run their own department.  

What are some of the big issues facing the commission in the year ahead?

  • Youth Commission
  • Mental Health
  • Addressing climate change by getting to Carbon Neutral by 2035
  • Gelman Dioxane Plume and PFAS
  • Master Planning – creating a new community vision for our county
  • Expanding access to broadband internet
  • Working with the community to build an East side recreation center

How can residents contact their commissioner?  

County website is an excellent resource for all sorts of information about county government including how to identify your commissioner and providing contact information.

League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area logo
Credit League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area / lwvannarbor.org

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— Patrick Campion is the WEMU Program Director.  You can contact Patrick at 734.487.3363, on twitter @WEMUPC, or email him at pcampion@emich.edu