By Patrick Colbeck
Bond. Municipal Bond.
If you are like me, it never would have occurred to you that one of the most powerful tools at the disposal of citizens eager to hold elected officials accountable for malfeasance would be related to a bond…but it is.
“Municipal bonds (or “munis” for short) are debt securities issued by states, cities, counties and other governmental entities to fund day-to-day obligations and to finance capital projects such as building schools, highways or sewer systems. “https://www.investor.gov/introduction-investing/investing-basics/investment-products/bonds-or-fixed-income-products-0
General obligation bonds are typically issued to assist with cash flow for government entities otherwise subject to timing or volatility issues regarding tax or fee revenue. Bonds are issued by a bonding company only if they find the bonded organization to be “trustworthy” or “good” enough to insure.
The letter filed with the Antrim County Commissioners by Randy Bishop, a resident of Antrim County, is enclosed below.
You can view the bond in question below.
In essence, the above claim asserts that the Antrim County Clerk and the Antrim County Prosecutor have breached the public trust and thereby violated the terms of the county performance bond. These violations put the county at significant financial risk ($1 million per count) and justify their removal from office. In order to effectively make such claims, the basis for the claims must be substantive. In Antrim County, Michigan, these claims are indeed substantive and include video evidence and sworn legal filings.
The operative language for removal of an official is located on page 2, Section 4, paragraph 3 a:
“This provision shall be deemed to be canceled as to any employee:
(a) Immediately upon discovery by the member of any act on the part of such employee which would constitute a liability under this provision covering such employee;
Why does an attack on the bond affect the removal of an official?
Act 116 of 1954 – Michigan Election Law
168.204 County officers; oath of office, bond, deposit.
Every person elected to an office named in section 200 of this act, before entering upon the duties of his office, shall take and subscribe to the oath as provided in section 1 of article 11 of the state constitution and, with the exception of the prosecuting attorney, shall give bond in the amount and manner prescribed by law and shall deposit said oath with the county clerk and said bond with the county treasurer. The county treasurer shall file his bond with the county clerk.
168.206 County offices; vacancy, creation.
The office of county clerk, county treasurer, register of deeds, prosecuting attorney, sheriff, drain commissioner, surveyor or coroner in any county in this state shall become vacant upon the happening of any of the following events: Death of the incumbent; his resignation; his removal from office for cause; his ceasing to be a resident of the county in which his office is located; his conviction of an infamous crime or an offense involving the violation of his oath of office; the decision of a competent tribunal declaring his election or appointment void; his refusal or neglect to take and subscribe to the constitutional oath of office and deposit the same in the manner and within the time prescribed by law; or his refusal or neglect to give bond in the amount and manner and within the time prescribed by law.
Per the bond coverage conditions, once a claim is made against the official and the municipality is given notice, the bond coverage for that official is terminated.
Per Act 116 of 1954, Section 168.204, posting bond is a requisite condition to perform official duties of office.
Per Act 116 of 1954, Section 168.206, failure or neglect to give bond renders the office VACANT.
These bonds are classified as “Surety Bonds”, which are third-party agreements to ENsure certain performances. Bailbonds are also third-party agreements to ENsure certain performances. What happens when a bonded party who does not meet the conditions of a bailbond? The bond is revoked and an arrest warrant is issued to produce the party.
P.S. This approach applies to any government body that leverages bonds in support of their operations…including state government.