"Most people believe they can go to their elected official and complain, and get change," said Ingham County Commissioner Andy Schor.
That's true, says Schor, in all cases but one.
"Right now we've got a board of road comissioners appointed for six years, and they are not really responsible to anyone," he said.
Schor says there are complaints from citizens both about roads not being maintained or plowed and about internal personnel problems within the road commission.
That's why he's proposed a resolution to dissolve the County Board of Road Comissioners and bring operations in-house. That won't fly unless state law changes first. And with two bills on the house floor, change is on its way, but not if the County Road Association of Michigan can help it.
"County commissioners are re-elected every two years, and they'd be constantly having that learning curve whereas the road commissioners, that's all they do," said Monica Ware, public relations specialist for the association.
And they're responsible to the whole county, not a specific district, says Ware, insulating road projects from the political process. Plus, no road comission would mean the county itself takes on more liability, she says.
"They can be sued if there's a defect in the roadway, and the county could be opening themselves up to that exposure. And the county has much bigger coffers," Ware said.
Schor's takeover proposal comes after a study found a "culture of distrust," favoritism, and poor decision-making within the road commission. Ware worries it's a knee jerk reaction with no due process.
We also talked to Road Commissioner Marc Thomas. He says better leadership and organization is needed within the Road Commission.
"If we succeed soon in fixing the organization, I believe a take over will be unneccessary," said Thomas.