Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson today announced he has stage-4 pancreatic cancer but will remain active in his position while undergoing treatment from the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit. He does not plan to seek an eighth term in office next year.
“Alex Trebek has nothing on me,” says Patterson, who received the diagnosis on March 15. “I’m fighting this cancer to be among the 10 percent who survive it. I will continue to do my job as Oakland County executive alongside the members of my administration who comprise the best team anywhere in government.”
Patterson, who is 80, is more than halfway through a seventh term as county executive. He took office Jan. 1, 1993. In addition, he served as Oakland County prosecutor from 1973-1988.
Oakland County reached full employment under Patterson’s job growth and retention strategies, and his Emerging Sectors, Medical Main Street, and Tech 248 initiatives have attracted more than $5.2 billion in private investment, creating or retaining more than 90,000 jobs.
The county also is the first in the nation to have adopted a balanced three-year, rolling, line-item budget with a five-year outlook. The county budget is currently balanced through 2024. Its long-term budgeting practices has earned the county a AAA bond rating since 1998.
Patterson launched Automation Alley in 1997, a consortium of high-tech companies, government entities, and educational institutions to compete with tech regions across the U.S. The organization now has more than 1,000 members spanning eight counties.
If a vacancy were to occur in the county executive position, Gerald D. Poisson, chief deputy county executive, would serve until the Oakland County Board of Commissioners appoints a successor or until a special election is held.
If the board were to decide to appoint a successor, the appointment must be made no later than 30 days from the date of the vacancy. The appointed county executive would serve until the next general election. If the board were not to make an appointment within 30 days, a special election would take place at the earliest possible date allowed by the law.