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Deputies called in as Macomb clerk disrupts move

The Detroit News

Macomb County Sheriff's deputies were called to the Macomb County Circuit Court building Saturday after the clerk was disrupting a planned move of her office, according to an assistant county executive. 

Mark Deldin said Clerk Karen Spranger and her deputy Jackie Ryan were attempting to "disrupt the work station plan" during the planned move.

According to Deldin, Spranger was sending movers to the wrong stations and not following the plan for the office layout.

"Everyone was assigned to a particular station based on how the floor is working," said Deldin. "We have to open on Monday morning and be prepared to serve customers."

Ryan said that is precisely what she and Spranger were trying to do at the office Saturday morning when they arrived amid the move. 

"Basically they are doing her wrong. She should be totally in charge of this move," said Ryan. "She should have been given the ability to run her office properly."

Ryan says Spranger has been denied keys to get into her office.

Spranger did not respond to a request for comment Saturday.

Renee Yax, a spokeswoman for the sheriff's office, confirmed deputies were sent in during the move, but she said it was "for documentation purposes only." No arrests had been made.

The clerk's office is being moved down to the first floor of the court house because remodeling of the building is complete, said Deldin. Spranger had previously protested the move to the third floor of the building. 

Ryan said the office they were put into was too cramped and could not contain all of the files they needed to access. 

In December, the circuit court issued an injunction against Spranger, who has been in several contentious battles with the county since she was elected in 2016, saying she must not interfere with union employees.

Macomb County I.T. Department employees and sub-contractors hook up computers as county lead security officer Nick Parent, center, makes sure there are no disruptions.

Deldin said the county's legal team is already preparing a consent order against her because "she has repeatedly gone against the injunction."

Ryan argued that the injunction has been levied unfairly and expanded beyond what was originally intended. 

"A lot of wrong has been said about her," said Ryan. "She’s trying her best to do things right."

Deldin said Saturday that Spranger no longer has "authority over her department," but that isn't stopping her from trying to interfere. 

"Our biggest fear is she is going to attempt to stay here over the weekend," he said. "We're already anticipating that things will be disrupted come Monday morning."

Ryan says she and the clerk plan to remain in the building as long as necessary to get it prepared for opening up on Monday. 

"She has to secure her files... as long as it takes her to get situated," said Ryan.

Spranger has repeatedly said she has faced "big time resistance" from other county officials in trying to do her job. She filed a lawsuit against the Macomb County’s chief judge, other county officials, a union president and news reporters.

Spranger represented herself during a February hearing to dismiss that lawsuit, where she sought $100,000 in damages.