Michigan Chamber's chairman, treasurer leave in redistricting fallout
Correction: July ads criticizing former Michigan Chamber of Commerce Chairman Mark Davidoff were incorrectly described in an earlier version of this article.
At least two high ranking members of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce's Board of Directors are out following the group’s effort to stop a ballot proposal aiming to combat gerrymandering.
Mark Davidoff’s tenure as chairman of the board ended when his company Deloitte left the chamber in October, according to Deloitte. A Deloitte spokeswoman did not say the reason for the company’s departure from the chamber, but referred additional questions from The News to the chamber’s “incoming chair” Arny Rodriguez, president and CEO of Technical Professional Services, Inc. in Wayland.
John Lindow, the chamber’s board treasurer, resigned in September “in order to fully focus on increasing work responsibilities,” according to his employer, MASCO.
Davidoff, managing partner for Deloitte LLP in Detroit, has been chairman since January. John Lindow is the vice president, controller and chief account officer for MASCO and took over as treasurer in January.
Their departures came a couple months prior to the chamber’s annual announcement of new leadership and several months prior to the scheduled completion of their terms Dec. 31.
Davidoff was one of the main targets of critical ads run in July in The Detroit News and Free Press that showed Davidoff’s photo, named his place of work and said he was part of a “dark money group.”
The Michigan Chamber of Commerce, whose legal counsel Robert LaBrant played an active role in Republican redistricting efforts in 2001 and 2011, bankrolled an unsuccessful effort this summer to keep the proposal off the November ballot. The Voters Not Politicians ballot measure, Proposal 2, passed Tuesday with 61 percent of the vote.
Following a presentation on the Voters Not Politicians proposal by former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bob Young Jr. in January, the board adopted a policy opposing the proposal, according to a copy of the board's January meeting minutes. Young was appointed general counsel for Michigan State University in May.
At the January meeting, the chamber also voted to "defer action in 2018 on initiating a Constitutional Amendment ballot proposal to revise (legislative) term limits," "maintain a rule of law majority on the Michigan Supreme Court" and oppose "ballot proposals that threaten or would damage our economic competitiveness."
Chamber CEO Richard Studley declined to confirm or comment on the departures “to protect the right to privacy and the right of association.” More than 80 business and community leaders serve on the board of directors, he said.
“With a large and active Board of Directors, it is normal to have some turnover every year,” Studley said in a statement. “It is not uncommon for volunteers to join or leave the board for a variety of reasons including promotions, transfers, retirements, unforeseen personal circumstances or business demands.”