LeDuff: Election nears, but will Patterson be fit for office? - KMSP-TV

LeDuff: Election nears, but will Patterson be fit for office?

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L. Brooks Patterson's desk sits empty after the county executive was injured in a car accident last week.  (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com) L. Brooks Patterson's desk sits empty after the county executive was injured in a car accident last week. (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com)
PONTIAC, Mich. (WJBK) -

The desk of L. Brooks Patterson sits empty after the 73-year-old Oakland County executive was in a horrible car wreck last Friday.

Fox 2 has confirmed that Patterson suffered a broken leg, hip, ribs and wrists.  He has endured three surgeries and is in and out of sedation.

If and when he will return to work remains unclear.  In the meantime, Gerald Poisson is running things.

"All the county executive functions I'll be responsible for, which happens in the ordinary course under the law, and Brooks' team has been in place for almost 20 years, all of us.  We know the plan.  We've got the vision, and we'll continue executing what we've been doing," he said.

Poisson said things are business as usual in Oakland County with Patterson calling the shots from his hospital bed.  I asked Poisson what shot he has called in the last two days.

"The last two days nothing.  I talked to him last about business on Friday before his first surgery."

What business was that?

"The budget."

But what if Patterson can't return?  He is up for reelection, after all, come November 6.

"We certainly wish L. Brooks Patterson the best during this situation," said Kevin Howley, his Democratic challenger and a business turnaround specialist.  I asked him who he is running against.

"Right now sort of a phantom.  I'm running against what the legacy is of Brooks' leadership, which is an empty infrastructure and an undiversified economic base.  That's who I'm running against."

If Howley wants to debate, would Poisson be the guy that debates him?

"I don't know," Poisson said.  "I'm certainly ready to debate him if he wants to debate our record and our progress.  We're thrilled to do that.  We defend it and promote it all the time."

Should Patterson be re-elected and not be able to return to work, then the county commission can either select a caretaker or schedule a special election.

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