De Leon to resign from Ingham County Board of Commissioners

By Sam Inglot
Ingham County Commissioner Debbie De Leon

Seven-term commissioner will serve on tribal board in northern Michigan

Thursday, June 27 — Ingham County Commissioner Debbie De Leon will be resigning from the Board of Commissioners later this summer to serve as vice chair of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians.

“I am fortunate and extremely honored to have been elected by the residents of the 4th District to serve them in this very important role for seven terms,” De Leon said in a statement. “It has been an incredible educational and fulfilling experience. I hope that I have given as much as I have received in the process.”

De Leon, who represents north Lansing, expects the resignation to be official either August or September. On Monday, De Leon was elected as vice chair of her tribe, which requires residency in the tribal jurisdiction in Petoskey and Harbor Springs.

The county commission will have 30 days to appoint someone to replace De Leon once she officially resigns.

Under law, if a commissioner resigns in an odd year, then she serves until a special election can be held, said State Rep. Andy Schor, D-Lansing, who served on the board for four terms. But if it is an even year, then the appointee will serve out the balance of the term.

However, there is a bill that could simplify that process and save the city of Lansing from having to hold a special election. Schor said there is a bill awaiting Gov. Rick Snyder’s signature that would allow the appointed commissioner to serve out the remainder of the

term. Schor said Snyder is expected to sign the legislation in the next few days.

Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope said a special election for De Leon’s district would cost the city about $16,000 for both the primary and general election. Lansing Township, which is part of De Leon’s district, would also have to hold a special election, he said. But with the new legislation likely to kick in before De Leon resigns, the city and township won’t have to dole out the cash for the election.