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County clerk defends keeping accused election supervisor

By Anna Muckenfuss

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    FLINT, Michigan (WNEM) — The Genesee County Clerk is defending his decision to not fire the county’s election supervisor after her arraignment on charges of election law violations.

John Gleason said Kathy Funk, who is accused of ballot tampering and misconduct while she was the Flint Township Clerk during the August 2020 primary. Funk was running for re-election at the time.

“A lot of people, some commissioners in particular. The chairman told me yesterday morning to just get rid of her, but I have some serious legal obligations within a couple of weeks from now she’s going to have a show cause hearing and there’s always the potential of it being thrown out,” Gleason said.

The state Attorney General’s office believes Funk broke a seal on a ballot container, spoiling any votes for an anticipated recount.

Gleason tells TV5 he put Funk on unpaid administrative leave March 11, but is still facing opposition from the county board of commissioners.

“They passed a resolution Wednesday giving me directions and I just said I’m not doing it. It doesn’t cost any money to keep her in limbo. She has not been convicted. People are trying to punish her for something she has not been convicted of,” Gleason said.

Funk’s case is the focus of a probable cause conference next Thursday.

Joshua Freeman, the county board’s director of administration released this statement Friday night:

“Any reasonable person would expect that an employee that is facing felony charges related to election fraud should not be in charge of election matters. Our residents have a basic expectation that their vote is protected and secure. That is exactly why the Board of Commissioners passed a resolution demanding that Clerk Gleason immediately suspend his elections supervisor until this matter is resolved.”

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