Jackson Co. Road Commissioner Could Lose His Job, All Lose Benefits

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Jackson County Road Commissioner Bob Zenz could lose his job after the county board voted to authorize a hearing over allegations that Zenz used his position for personal gain.

The hearing could lead to non-criminal charges.

"These are statutory charges for reasons for dismissal," County Board Chairman James Shotwell Jr. said.

That vote was unanimous; it also calls for investigating the other two road commissioners.

"There were a number of issues there we want to be thorough on," County Commissioner David Elwell said.

The allegations surround work done on and around the Zenz Family Farm in Jackson County's Grass Lake Township and financial deals that benefited Zenz or members of his family.

A Jackson County Sheriff's Office investigation found Zenz used taxpayer dollars to pave these driveways on his property, among other things.

Now Shotwell tells News 10 the investigation is expanding to see whether the other two road commissioners knew about it but looked the other way.

The county board also voted to strip all three commissioners of their benefits. They'll lose a taxpayer-funded car August 6. Their health benefits will be gone by August 31. And they'll be taken out of the pension system at an unspecified date.

Those votes were not unanimous.

"You had people who were being vindictive against the road commissioners," Shotwell said. "You have gentlemen who have done a lot for this community. We have excellent roads."

"It's not a punitive thing," Elwell said. "It's just time for change at the road commission. We're one of the highest paid or the highest paid in the state."

That sentiment was shared by the three people who spoke up after the decision was made, including the head of the road commission workers union.

"This is a long time coming," Local 905 President Dewey Graves Jr. said.

The county board is expected to set a hearing date in the Zenz case at its next meeting August 21.

County Administrator Randy Treacher said the hearing could come as soon as 45 days after that.

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