Skip to main content
Email Subscription

To sign up for email updates from Macomb County or to access your subscriber preferences, please enter your email address. If you would like to subscribe for text alerts please select Text Updates in the drop-down menu.

Macomb County

Contact: Dan Heaton

Phone: 586-469-7424



December 11, 2019

Changing Culture as MCPWO Puts Focus on Transparency, Public Service


Click here to find out more about our Goals and Themes in 2020!

Year-End Review Highlights Ongoing Accomplishments

“Focus” – that may be the best word to describe 2019 at the Macomb County Public Works Office. And the focus is on serving the public.

Numerous major accomplishments are now in the books and more are tee’d up for 2020.

Most importantly, there’s been a sea change in the culture of the organization as the third year of Commissioner Candice Miller’s leadership of the office draws to a close. The permits issued by the office are completed in a timely fashion, new technology is being utilized and the office’s largest water quality improvement project in half a century is well underway.

“Across the entire organization, we’ve put our focus on doing things that benefit the public – from the little things like ensuring permits are issued fairly and in a timely manner, to the larger things that will make a difference for generations to come, like our upgrades to the Chapaton Retention Basin that will significantly reduce Combined Sewer Overflows into Lake St. Clair,” Miller said. “We’ve said since day one that we had two goals: to improve the quality of life for our residents and to serve as a critical component of economic prosperity. I think our accomplishments in 2019 reflect those goals.”

While a number of major physical accomplishments took place in 2019, such as substantial completion of a major upgrade to the Sterling Relief Drain, MCPWO leaders point to a number of smaller things that speak to a change in the culture.

“Having all of our drain board meeting notices and board minutes posted to our web site – that speaks to an understanding that we are accountable to the public. Transactions, invoices, it all is in the minutes and available to the public,” said Brian Baker, Miller’s chief deputy. The materials are all posted on the MCPWO website,

Here are some of the major accomplishments recorded in 2019 by the Macomb County Public Works Office:

  • Open & Transparent bidding and contract awarding. All major jobs contracted by the Macomb County Public Works Office are listed for bid via the Michigan Inter-governmental Trade Network (MITN). Bids are opened in public meetings and are awarded, in public, by the appropriate drain board at the MCPWO office. This ensures there are no “back-room” deals and allows the public to have confidence that all work is awarded using criteria that serves the public interest.
  • Commercial and industrial permits issued by the MCPWO are now able to be conducted electronically, streamlining the process and reducing the amount of paper necessary. MCPWO engineers work closely with developers to ensure new development can advance in a timely fashion.
  • MCPWO is the first Macomb County agency to adopt a new software platform, known as Acela, that will allow inspectors and others in the field to have access to critical information previously only available in hard copy in MCPWO files in the office. As the Acela program rolls forward, thousands of maps, drawings, drain board proceedings and related documents will be available to the public through the online system.
  • Rapid response to pollution concerns. MCPWO works with local fire departments, state agencies and others to respond quickly to any reports of pollution entering county drains. MCPWO maintains a 24-hour hotline for pollution or other concerns at (877) 679-4337. In 2019, MCPWO responded to industrial spills and small residential incidents. MCPWO also continued its ongoing public education campaign to encourage best practices to prevent spills and to educate the public about how to report them, via the hotline number, or, in a life-threatening emergency, by calling 9-1-1. MCPWO also meets regularly with the county’s emergency management team to review policies and ensure open lines of communications.
  • MCPWO continues to work with local municipalities with its 50/50 Drain Match program. Using funds allocated by the Macomb County Board of Commissioners, MCPWO works with the county’s cities, villages and townships to identify and prioritize needed drain maintenance work. MCPWO and the municipality evenly split the cost. In 2019, more than 50 drain maintenance projects were completed.

“There’s been a sea change these past three years in the way MCPWO conducts its business. It has been a transformational change in our approach, putting the public good at the forefront of our operations,” Miller said.


21777 Dunham Road, Clinton Township, MI, 48036