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Macomb County

Macomb Matters July 2016 Issue 44

Mark's Message
Macomb County honored at White House for local innovations to drive cultural vitality, prosperity and competitive edge
Macomb County top NACo award winner in the state
Macomb County Health Department receives national Public Health Ready recognition
For Your Benefit
Employee Highlight
What you need to know for Primary Election Day
Volunteers needed – Macomb County Animal Control
Discount tickets to Cedar Point and Michigan’s Adventure available to all Macomb County employees

Photos: New parking structure
Photos: Beats and Street Eats 2016

Click for a pdf version of Macomb Matters.

Mark’s Message

Finally!!! No more trekking through the snow, wind and rain, or playing Frogger on Main Street. The new parking deck is open!!

The structure, which cost $9.5 million to build, officially opened on Thursday, July 21 after over a year of construction work. I am so pleased with how the structure works and cannot thank Clark Construction and its crew enough for the fabulous job they did. (Click to view photos of the ribbon cutting.)

That being said, I know the project caused a lot of annoyances for many of the county’s employees, especially for those who work in the Administration Building, and our visitors. I appreciate your understanding during this time. This project was an integral part of our $65 million government renovation plan for downtown Mount Clemens. All of the work done on our county buildings will create a campus that best serves us as employees of the county, as well as those who use the services we provide. Even though the parking structure is done, I will continue to provide you with monthly reports on the construction progress for the whole plan. (Click to read July’s report.)

You may have also recently noticed when you pull up your Chrome browser, you are now initially connected to Inside Macomb, our employee portal. The portal provides all employees with the most up-to-date information regarding internal affairs. Employees can check out news, educational opportunities and connect to our Human Resources Department, among other things. Be sure to check it out often so you know what’s going on! 

Macomb County honored at White House for local innovations to drive cultural vitality, prosperity and competitive edge

Macomb County, along with more than 50 other U.S. cities and counties, was honored this week at the White House for innovative and proactive efforts to bring all residents into the community fabric. Each of these communities understand that creating a welcoming environment where all can thrive is an imperative now for their survival, prosperity and global competitive edge, and they are leading the way for the nation in immigrant integration.

These communities are part of the Building Welcoming Communities Campaign, a partnership of The White House Task Force on New Americans, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and Welcoming America, a national nonprofit organization with expertise in welcoming efforts, to encourage communities to engage in local immigrant integration efforts.

“We are proud to be part of the White House’s Building Welcoming Communities Campaign,” said Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel. “Our OneMacomb team, led by Deputy County Executive Pam Lavers, is creating a more welcoming environment for all who make Macomb their home.”

 “The local governments being honored today represent the leading edge of a growing movement that recognizes that being more welcoming to all residents, including immigrants, is not only the right thing to do, but smart policy for economic growth and building more cohesive communities,” said Welcoming America Executive Director, David Lubell.

A special event was held at the White House on June 30 that recognized Macomb County for participating in the Welcoming Communities campaign. Special recognition was given for using Video Remote Interpreting Services in order to allow for convenient, on-demand language access services through live internet video connection. The county is also enhancing language access by installing multi-language signage throughout county buildings and translating their brochures into numerous languages. It also partners with English language literacy partners to provide connections and information regarding literacy services locally.

U.S. President Barack Obama has called on these communities to act on a set of principles to build inclusive, welcoming communities that allow all residents to thrive and advance integration efforts in three core areas: civic, economic and linguistic integration.

OneMacomb’s mission is to support collaborative and community-based activities which embrace, share and celebrate multiculturalism and inclusion. For more information, visit OneMacomb on Facebook, Twitter or online at 

Macomb County top NACo award winner in the state

Government recognized with 19 Achievement Awards

Macomb County has been recognized with 19 Achievement Awards – the most in the state – from the National Association of Counties (NACo). A total of 36 were earned statewide. The awards honor innovative, effective county government programs that enhance services for residents.

“It is an honor to receive these awards because they symbolize the effectiveness of our local government,” said Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel.   

Of the departments under the direction of the County Executive’s Office, one NACo award was given to Emergency Management, one to Health and Community Services, three to Health and seven to Information Technology. The Macomb County Clerk’s Office was also honored with six awards and the Office of Public Works garnered one.


  • Court and Uber partner to provide jurors with free ride to jury duty at no cost to county budget
  • Juror ATM-style kiosks pay jurors in cash
  • Jury clerk communicates electronically with jurors to improve juror yield
  • Kiosk system improves customer service
  • Land records search accuracy improved, risk of fraud reduced, with parcel ID number verification
  • Online concealed pistol license application system eases application process
  • Business Preparedness Conference

Health and Community Services

  • Reconfiguring mothballed urban schools as family resource centers


  • Advancing health communications
  • Family support group for children’s special health care services
  • Immunization improvements using the Health Level Seven (HL7) Interface to the state’s registry​

Information Technology

  • Electronic commerce
  • Family planning and Macomb McLaren Bi-directional Lab Interface
  • Health immunization waiver imaging and integration
  • ITI re-write
  • MCIR HL7 Interface
  • Video remote interpretation
  • Waste water website

Public Works

  • Macomb County Public Works Office environment presentations: “Pollution Solutions,” “Recycle Macomb” and “Water and the Urban Environment”

Nationally, awards are given in 21 different categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services counties provide. The categories include children and youth, criminal justice, county administration, environmental protection, information technology, health, civic engagement and many more.

Started in 1970, NACo’s annual Achievement Award Program is designed to recognize innovative county government programs. Each nominee is judged on its own merits and not against other applications received.

The awards will be presented at NACo’s 2016 Annual Conference and Exposition July 10–13 in Mecklenburg County, N.C. 

The National Association of Counties (NACo) unites America’s 3,069 county governments. Founded in 1935, NACo brings county officials together to advocate with a collective voice on national policy, exchange ideas and build new leadership skills, pursue transformational county solutions, enrich the public’s understanding of county government and exercise exemplary leadership in public service. Learn more at

Macomb County Health Department receives national Public Health Ready recognition

The Macomb County Health Department (MCHD) has been recognized by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) for its ability to plan for, respond to and recover from public health emergencies.

MCHD submitted and met the 283 benchmarks to prove emergency readiness capabilities. These preparedness benchmarks are required for recognition by Project Public Health Ready (PPHR), a unique partnership between NACCHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

MCHD is the first health department in southeastern Michigan and one of over 400 local health departments across the country which have been distinguished for excellence in preparedness through PPHR. 

“Our Emergency Preparedness Program is able to call on our various divisions within the health department at the most critical times,” said Bill Ridella, director/health officer of the Macomb County Health Department. “They also work hard to cooperate and collaborate with other emergency response and human service agencies. Just in the past 24 months, they have proven their abilities during the response to the southeastern Michigan flooding that occurred in August 2014 in a timely, efficient manner.”

MCHD has a thorough and coordinated emergency operation plan in place to assist in public health emergencies, natural disasters or acts of terrorism. MCHD staff have the training to protect the health of the community during an emergency, according to the PPHR set of national standards for public health preparedness. These standards align with federal government requirements and other national best practices.

“When disaster strikes, it affects local communities and local health departments are a critical part of any first response to disease outbreaks, emergencies and acts of terrorism,” said Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, NACCHO executive director. “NACCHO commends Macomb County Health Department for being a model of public health emergency preparedness.”

For Your Benefit

By Human Resources and Labor Relations

Whether an employee is facing his or her own critical health diagnosis or must take time away from work to care for a newborn or a loved one with a serious illness, the situation may be very stressful. However, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may alleviate some of the burden on families.

It is important to understand the FMLA and that both employees and employers have rights and responsibilities under the act.

The FMLA provides unpaid job protection when an employee working for a covered employer, or his/her eligible loved one, faces a serious illness that requires them to take time off from work.

The Department of Labor defines covered employers as:
•    Private employers with 50 or more employees
•    Government agencies (including local, state and federal employers) and elementary and secondary schools, regardless of the number of employees

In addition, to qualify under a covered employer, you must meet the following criteria:
•    Have worked for your employer for at least 12 months
•    Have worked for the employer for at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months before you take leave
•    Work at a location where the employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles of your worksite

FMLA leave should not be confused with a short-term disability plan, which pays a portion of wages when a covered employee is off work for a qualifying illness or injury. FMLA leave does not provide pay, but rather time off with job protection.

Eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave in a 12-month period for a variety of reasons to care for themselves or a spouse, child or parent with a serious health condition.

Under the FMLA, leave can be used all at once or intermittently for a qualifying medical condition. This time is unpaid, unless your employer allows benefit time to be used.

The Department of Labor cites the following as some of the most common reasons for FMLA leave:

·         Conditions that require an overnight stay in a hospital or other medical care facility

·         Conditions that incapacitate an employee or his or her family member

·         Chronic conditions that cause an employee or family member to be incapacitated and require treatment by a health care provider

·         Pregnancy (including prenatal medical appointments, incapacity due to morning sickness and medically required bed rest)

Additional details are available at

There are also provisions under the FMLA for military family leave related to military deployments and caring for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness.

For general information about the FMLA and employees’ rights and responsibilities, visit

For more information specific to Macomb County’s Leave of Absence policy and FMLA, contact Human Resources and Labor Relations or visit:

Employee Highlight

Steve Smigiel – Finance Director

By Sarah Cormier, Macomb County Executive Office

Monday through Friday, Steve Smigiel is Macomb County’s finance director. He is responsible for making sure Macomb County has a balanced budget and remains in healthy financial condition. He also makes sure his department is available to help with any accounting or budgeting needs other departments in the county may have.

So it may come as a surprise to learn that, when he’s not working, Steve is heavily involved in raising and racing Standardbred racehorses (trotters and pacers, the kind that pull the carts behind them).

Currently, Steve owns six horses, all of which are stabled in Fowlerville where he pays someone to condition the horses to race and ship them to and from events. The horses frequent the local racetrack scene – often appearing at the Northville Downs track and various county fairs.

“On the weekend, I go to the farm and work with the horses. That includes exercising and training, bathing them as well as cleaning and bedding stalls and other barn chores. I try to attend all their races if possible,” he said.

To an outsider, the racing world can seem complicated. There’s not only different horse breeds an owner can pick from, but the way they walk/run, gait, sex and age all play a factor into what horses one may want to buy and which races those horses would then be allowed to participate in. Steve said most horses’ prime racing age is from 3 to 7 years, but they can race until they are around 15. The average horse lives around 25 to 30 years.

Steve has been involved with the trotters and pacers since he was 12, when he started attending races with his parents. Then, when he was in high school, his parents decided to buy the first of four horses. The person who trained his parents’ horses was a cousin and her husband. That couple had a son who Steve has remained close to and who eventually convinced Steve to finally purchase his own horse in 2007, a mare named Dreamy Amanda.

Dreamy Amanda was the only horse he owned until 2012 when he got a second horse, Rockinroundtheclock, who raced until May 2015 when she had to be put down after she rolled in a field and twisted her intestines. Dreamy Amanda raced until 2014 when she was 10 years old, at which time Steve had her bred. She had her first foal in May 2015, a colt named Dreaminmylifeaway, and had another colt this past April that Steve hopes to name Dreaminallthetime. Amanda is pregnant again and is expected to have another baby next April.  

In 2013, Steve joined up with another partner, and the two have brought three more horses into the mix: Hemlock Blitz, a 3-year-old colt trotter; YSS Super Muscle, a 2-year-old colt trotter; and A Hits A Hit, a 3-year-old filly trotter. All three are active racers.

The horses require a fair amount of maintenance. When they are in their racing years, new shoes have to be put on once a month. They also are fed a steady diet of hay, oats, corn and molasses. Of course, there’s the training and stable fees to pay for as well.

Steve said his father, who is now 89 years old, still goes with him to the track.

“This is my passion outside of work,” he said. “My therapeutic release.”

What you need to know for Primary Election Day

Vote Tuesday, Aug. 2

Polls open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Voters across Macomb County will make their voices heard on Tuesday, Aug. 2.

“A great deal of attention has been focused on the presidential election, but many other important decisions are going to be made locally at the primary election as well,” said the Macomb County Clerk / Register of Deeds.

On the partisan section of the ballot, voters will nominate candidates for congress, state representative, prosecuting attorney, sheriff, clerk / register of deeds, treasurer, public works commissioner and county commissioner. Township voters will select nominees for local township offices.

In the primary election, in the partisan section of the ballot, you may only vote in one party’s primary. You may not “split your ticket” and may not vote in both parties’ primaries. For example, you cannot vote for a Democratic candidate for one office and a Republican candidate for a different office. If you do so, the partisan section of your ballot will be spoiled.

“In several townships, the candidates who will be nominated at the primary have no opposition in November, which underscores the importance of participating in primary elections,” said the Macomb County Clerk.

On the nonpartisan section of the ballot, voters will choose non-incumbent circuit court candidates for the November general election. On the proposal section of the ballot, there are two countywide millage proposals. Local issues appear in Eastpointe, Roseville, St. Clair Shores, Utica, Warren, Bruce and Washington.

“Please get out and vote on Aug. 2 and remember your vote is your voice,” said the Macomb County Clerk.

To view a list of candidates and ballot proposals, visit

To check your voter registration, find a polling location and view a sample ballot, visit

To download an absent voter ballot application, visit,8611,7-127-1633-21037--,00.html.

To see election results on Election Day, or to sign up for text alerts, visit

Discount tickets to Cedar Point and Michigan’s Adventure available to all Macomb County employees

If you plan to go to Cedar Point or Michigan’s Adventure this summer, check out the discount ticket information available to all Macomb County employees. Go to, and click on the Exclusives tab.

As an employee of Macomb County government, you are eligible for exclusive offers at Cedar Point! How to redeem:

1.     Click on special ticket link

2.     Enter the username: MACOMBCOGOV.

3.     Enter the password: mcg2016.

As an employee of Macomb County government, you are also eligible for exclusive offers at Michigan’s Adventure! How to redeem:

1.     Click on link

2.     Enter username: MACOMBCOUNTY.

3.     Enter password: COASTERFUN33.

Volunteers needed – Macomb County Animal Control

The Animal Control Department is looking for volunteers to help with an amazing fundraiser coming up Sept. 17! We are partnering with Wolverine Harley-Davidson in Clinton Township to put on Hogs and Dogs at their location on Gratiot Avenue. The event will feature live music, dinner, drinks, silent auction and more. In order to make this event possible, we need your help! Whether it is helping sell tickets in the community prior to the event, setting up the day of or coming out during the event to assist, we have plenty of different opportunities to contribute. This is a great way to get involved in volunteering with us and might even spark your interest to join us for adoption events or stopping in to work with the animals in our care.  

If you are interested or would like any additional information, please contact Danielle Reske ( or Michael Hudson ( or call the department and ask for either one at (586) 469-5115. In addition, keep a look out for more updates on the event including a link to online ticket purchases or locations to purchase tickets.

New parking structure


Beats and Street Eats 2016