State reps. ask Snyder to remove Bucci from office

By: Joshua Gordon | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published May 2, 2018



MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Two state representatives from Macomb County have asked Gov. Rick Snyder to remove Macomb Township Trustee Dino Bucci from office.

The letters sent from Republican State reps. Steve Marino and Jeff Yaroch to Snyder echo a letter sent from the Macomb Township Board of Trustees following an 18-count federal indictment against Bucci last November.

Macomb Township Attorney Thomas Esordi said following the indictment that Michigan Election Law dictates that only the governor can remove an elected township officer when they are satisfied with evidence submitted that the officer is guilty of official misconduct, among other reasons.

The 18 criminal charges Bucci was indicted on allegedly took place over a nine-year period and included kickbacks, embezzlement and bribery in both his position as a trustee and with the Macomb County Department of Public Works.

Marino represents the 24th district, which includes Harrison Township and portions of Macomb Township and Clinton Township. In his letter to Snyder, which was sent in mid-April, Marino said Bucci has “exhibited corrupt conduct in office and gross neglect of duty,” both of which Marino states are grounds for removal.

“Dino Bucci’s actions while serving as both a township trustee and public servant in the Macomb County Department of Public Works are disgraceful and unacceptable,” Marino said. “Even more shameful is the fact that he continues to receive health benefits, collect a salary and hold his title while skipping meetings and avoiding all other official responsibilities.”

Bucci has not attended a Board of Trustees meeting or Zoning Board of Appeals meeting since his indictment. Along with the letter to Snyder, Macomb Township Supervisor Janet Dunn has also sent a letter to Bucci asking him to resign from the ZBA.

While Dunn has confirmed Bucci is still receiving his monthly salary without attending a meeting, the board did vote to eliminate the “Cadillac” health care benefits for part-time trustees at Bucci’s last meeting in the fall.

In the township, several of Bucci’s charges are tied to embezzling and conspiring to embezzle nearly $100,000 from Macomb Township in connection with contractor Christopher Sorrentino, who accepted a plea deal last October in admitting to paying around $96,000 in kickbacks to Bucci.

According to court documents, in 2014, Sorrentino’s business was paid for work repaving the parking lots of the Macomb Township Hall and Macomb Township Fire Department, work that was completed by another company. Bucci allegedly directed Sorrentino to pay the company that did the work for a lower bid and pay him the kickbacks in exchange for more work with the township.

In his position with the county’s public works department, the indictment alleges between 2013 and 2016 that Bucci embezzled money from the department by having county-paid officials plow his, his relatives’ and his friends’ driveways before county-owned property.

Bucci also allegedly had the same employees perform routine maintenance around his home, including yard work, drive his child to school, place campaign signs for Bucci and help move an associate’s girlfriend to Ohio.

Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller wrote a letter to Bucci in February 2017 that outlines his alleged wrongdoings in the department. Bucci retired from his position with the county less than a week after the letter was written to him.

Yaroch represents District 33, which includes a majority of Macomb Township and several communities north of Macomb Township. In his letter, Yaroch said Miller helping get Bucci out of his county position was the right move and should be followed by Snyder regarding Bucci’s township position.

“(That move) is rebuilding the trust of Macomb County in that department,” Yaroch said. “It is time for Gov. Snyder to do the same to rebuild the trust of our citizens in their government.”

Both Marino and Yaroch also sent letters to the Michigan Attorney General’s Office requesting a formal opinion clarifying Snyder’s authority to remove Bucci from office.

Macomb Township resident Tom Sokol took the first steps on April 9 of establishing a recall vote of Bucci by filing paperwork with Macomb County to circulate a recall petition. If the petition is approved, Sokol would need to get just under 7,000 verified signatures to get a recall vote on the November ballot.

Marino said if Bucci won’t resign, Snyder removing him from office is necessary for the community to heal.

“Trustee Bucci has clearly lost the trust and confidence of both his colleagues and the public,” Marino said.