By Chad Selweski

For Deadline Detroit

 

After her first 100 days, Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller has nearly wiped clean all evidence of the 24-year reign of her infamous predecessor she defeated in the November election.

Miller has taken a number of actions that eliminate Tony Marrocco’s ways of doing business, which earned him the moniker “the Godfather of Macomb County politics.” The godfather is gone but his name will long share a place on the list of shameful politicians who have emerged over the past few decades in Macomb County.

Most recently, Miller announced removal of about 100 signs naming the past public works boss from drains, retention ponds and pumphouses across the county. Marrocco had insisted his name be plastered across the landscape, and he had some of those signs replaced in 2016 with county-funded billboards that suspiciously resembled Marrocco campaign signs.

Miller’s staff estimated the signs cost up to $100,000, diverting funds from public works duties. “We are in the drain business,” said Miller, who took office on Jan. 1.

On her first day at work, the former Republican congresswoman hauled away the enormous conference table in the commissioner’s office, which symbolized Marrocco’s pay-to-play approach.

“I wish I had a dollar for every contractor that said every time they walked into this room, their permits were on one end of the conference table and the (Marrocco campaign) fundraising tickets were on the other,” Miller told Crain’s Detroit Business.

In her first week in office, Miller announced that Marrocco’s county vehicle, a rather expensive sedan, was put up for sale.

A customized Marrocco manhole cover in the lobby of the public works building was put out of sight, covered with a throw rug.

She quickly fired two of her predecessor’s political appointees, including former Warren Mayor Mark Steenbergh, and placed operations manager Dino Bucci on administrative leave until he quietly agreed to an early retirement in February. Bucci, Marrocco’s right-hand man, still faces allegations of extortion in civil court.

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Some local anti-tax activists took things into their own hands during the heat of the campaign in October 2016. Stickers were placed over Marrocco’s name on the signs that adorned each drain and pond that is overseen by the public works office. The stickers offered this message: