Skip to main content
Email Subscription

To sign up for email updates from Macomb County or to access your subscriber preferences, please enter your email address. If you would like to subscribe for text alerts please select Text Updates in the drop-down menu.

Office of County Executive
Mark A. Hackel

Macomb Matters MaY 2019 Issue 64

Click for a pdf of Macomb Matters



Message from Mark


Welcome to the start of the summer season! As always, there is plenty to do to enjoy warmer temperatures and longer days. For instance:

  • The annual Sprint and Splash is slated for Saturday, June 15 at Lake St. Clair Metropark. Participants can walk, run, kayak or standup paddleboard and proceeds benefit the Huron Clinton Metroparks.
  • Clinton Township-based C.J. Barrymore’s recently opened several exciting outdoor attractions – including a 120-foot-tall Drop Tower, the Saddle Sling, a 110-foot-tall Ferris wheel and the Spinning Coaster. I tried out some of these rides myself and can report that it’s all great fun for the family! To learn more, click here.
  • The Mount Clemens Farmers Market is celebrating 40 years of providing the public with farm fresh and locally grown produce. Check out its weekend markets every Friday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and be sure to visit its website to view the upcoming schedule of events.
  • Our county’s beautiful parks and outdoor spaces offer both individuals and families a place to enjoy nature and get active. For instance, the Macomb Orchard Trail has incredible biking, hiking and walking paths.
  • The Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill has an exciting concert schedule this summer. Check out the upcoming performances here.
  • And finally, Macomb County’s annual Employee Appreciation Night will take place on Thursday, June 20 at Jimmy John’s Field! More information on this fun evening out will be shared by HRLR soon.

Outside of these points, and as always, if you are looking for something to do, be sure to check the MMYH Calendar and browse the larger website. There’s so much happening here in Macomb County – I hope you can explore and enjoy it all!

Do you have comments or suggestions for Macomb Matters? Please send them to



Employee Focus

Karlyn Semlow, a service director in Human Resources and Labor Relations (HRLR)


Meet Karlyn Semlow, a service director in Human Resources and Labor Relations (HRLR) who has been with the county for 19 years this May.

Karlyn was not always a service director. She began her career overseeing hiring and on-boarding functions. In 2011, HRLR went through a restructuring, which significantly changed the way the department was organized. With that re-organization, Karlyn was promoted to service director. As a service director, Karlyn is heavily involved in employee and labor relations. She also oversees the training programs and learning management system, and is responsible for leading a team that works closely to service county departments and their employees with their day-to-day needs.


When asked what she finds most rewarding about her career, Karlyn responded: “Investing in my community. The county has so many incredible programs that help and protect people. To be able to support our departments and provide those services means so much to me.”

Of course, like all positions, there are challenges.  Karlyn mentioned that the economic crash of 2008 was especially difficult - as the downturn forced unwanted concessions and wide-spread layoffs in 2009.  “Those layoff discussions were some of the most difficult conversations I have ever had with employees,” she said.

Karlyn subscribes to the idea that it is better to give than to receive. She encourages others to discover what they are passionate about and to get involved, stating: “There is plenty of work to be done.” Karlyn uses the knowledge she has gained through her experience with the county to serve people in need. She is active in various roles at her church and is passionate about investing in the lives of disadvantaged children.  For the past 10 years, she has volunteered with Champions for Life Kids Camp, a program set up to serve children in foster care, ages 7-11, from the Macomb County and St. Clair County area. Karlyn spends her time at Kids Camp “loving on abused, abandoned and neglected children.” Karlyn has been on many mission trips and has served people in need in Haiti, Romania and South Africa, “sharing messages of love, hope and purpose.”

Andrew McKinnon, director of Human Resources and Labor Relations, noted the relationship between Karlyn’s professional life and her charitable activities. “Karlyn’s humanity shines through in her work with the county and her work with charities. Whether it be helping an employee, working with foster kids at summer camp or traveling to South Africa to help children in need, she pours all of herself into it. Everyone she touches is better for having had the chance to cross paths with her. The county is a richer place because she is a part of its fabric.”

When it comes to family, Karlyn is equally committed. She describes herself as a “hard-core soccer mom.” She and Phil, her husband of 20 years, have two daughters, Keegan and Emma. “We are a busy family, but most nights, we make it a priority to have dinner together and connect. I do not take this for granted.”

Karlyn has a bachelor’s degree in human resources and, while working for the county, earned a master’s degree in public administration, both from Oakland University.



Employee Accolades

Tammy Brennan


Tammy Brennan, who was recently promoted to supervisor of records in the Office of Vital Records, has seen many changes over the years as an employee of the County Clerk/Register of Deeds.

"I've watched the Clerk's Office change over the years," she said. "I've seen technology grow by leaps and bounds. But the one constant is always service. It's such a great feeling to help Macomb County residents fill out their marriage application or get a copy of their child's birth record or help them fill out the paperwork to start a business."

Tammy first joined the Clerk's Office in December 2000 and worked in the Court Section's File Room. She then joined the Vital Records Department, waiting on thousands of customers over the years and rising to the position of cashier II before her latest promotion.

“County Clerk Fred Miller has given me an opportunity to be a big part of all the new and exciting changes that are coming soon,” she said. ”We have an outstanding staff, and they are so much fun to work with. They make me look good!"

Tammy is perhaps best known for her interactions with Clerk's Office visitors.

"Many of our customers come in confused or overwhelmed," she said. "Almost always, patience and a smile is all they need to turn it around. It's an honor to represent the County and help people. We take great pride in that."

Tammy’s hobbies include bowling, playing cards, biking and walking her dog "Sparty." She is also an avid sports fan, especially for the Tigers and Michigan State football and basketball. She shares a love of the Spartans and the Pittsburgh Steelers with her husband John Brennan, who serves as the probate court administrator for the county.

"My girls -- Brittany and Blair -- are a big part of my life," she said. "I started as a single mom when I joined the county, and they were a big reason I applied. Both girls have succeeded as young adults, and hopefully I've been able to pass on all the things that I've learned by being a county employee."



New Hires/Retirees

Pam Lavers retires from deputy county executive role


The Macomb Matters team is pleased to recognize Pam Lavers on her retirement from Macomb County! Pam was hired in January 2011 and served as both deputy county executive and co-chair of OneMacomb. She recently reflected on her service for this newsletter:

What will you miss most about working for Macomb County?

After 23 years of public sector work, and my last eight with the Executive Office, I will definitely miss being a public servant. Additionally, I very much cherish the relationships I formed with fellow colleagues throughout the years, so that is also something I’ll miss.

What are you most proud of in your career with Macomb County?

Being a part of history in building the new form of government and working for the Executive Office. Elevating arts and cultural affairs through the work of OneMacomb has also been fulfilling and having the OneMacomb initiative be recognized at the White House was a great honor. I am also proud of the opportunity I had to deliver the commencement speech at Lake Shore High School, where I graduated from in 1979. These have all been high points of my career.

What are your post-retirement plans?

I plan to focus on my passions -- family, nature, arts and cultural affairs.

On behalf of the Macomb Matters team, congratulations on your well-deserved retirement Pam!

Click here for a list of New Hires/Retirees



A Q/A with David Pankotai and Vicky Rad, two of Macomb County’s newest leaders


In December 2018, David Pankotai was named the new CEO of Macomb County Community Mental Health. Several months later, in April 2019, Vicky Rad was appointed director of Macomb County Planning and Economic Development. This issue of Macomb Matters features a special Q/A with both leaders. Keep reading to learn more about their new positions and their overall goals.

David Pankotai Q/A

Q: Tell me about your new role as CEO of MCCMH.

A: When I’m asked how things are going, typically, my response is, “I’m not bored.” Macomb County Community Mental Health provides and oversees many services for adults with a mental illness, children with emotional disturbances, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and people with substance use disorders. I am learning something new every day but, by evaluating the system with an outsider’s perspective, I have things to offer as well. Things do move quickly but, so far, teamwork is allowing us to move forward in our planning process.

The Board of Directors at MCCMH have been very supportive during the transition of leadership. Their knowledge of local and state level activities impacting community mental health—along with their care and commitment to the residents of Macomb County—is impressive. The staff of MCCMH have also been key in the transition. Day in and day out, they are here for the members of our community by providing professional and highly specialized services, regardless of who is in the role of CEO.

Q: What projects will you work on/areas of focus?

A: During the next three months, we will focus on completing more face-to-face crisis screenings for individuals who present a request for psychiatric hospitalization. By completing these screenings in person, we can expect that we will be able to direct people, when appropriate, to community-based alternatives such as Crisis Residential, Assertive Community Treatment (ACT), Partial Hospitals or Home-Based services (for children). We also plan to:

  • Make adjustments to our evaluation and authorization methods for services provided in a licensed, specialized adult foster care home
  • Increase the use of telepsychiatry services
  • Expand our integrated health care projects while increasing our use of health care analytics

What do you hope to accomplish in this new position?

A: Due to significant funding reductions, the staff and the people served by Macomb County Community Mental Health have weathered a lot of drastic changes. I hope to be a stabilizing factor while putting systems in place for planned changes that are clearly communicated to everyone involved. It is important to hear from our community stakeholders, advocates and staff as we move forward.

Vicky Rad Q/A

Q: Tell us a little bit about your work history.

A: I am a believer that you fall into economic development and then you fall in love with it. I started my professional career out of high school as an IT recruiter, which led to my degree in computer information systems. I worked for the auto industry coding assembly line software, which gave me my first view at the world of automation. I made the leap from automotive to defense during the first signs of the recession. It was painful to see our economy and the livelihood of our community reliant on one major industry. This was a turning point for me, and I joined the public sector with a mission to help businesses grow and flourish. I worked at the PTAC for almost four years and then joined the Detroit Regional Chamber under a grant-funded program called Connection Point, now a widely successful program at the state called Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC). In 2013, I accepted a role in business attraction working for Macomb County and have been able to expand into leadership responsibilities as the deputy director and now the director.

Q: Tell us about your biggest accomplishments in the field.

A: Every day we are moving the needle. Our most recent accomplishment was a job fair we hosted in partnership with the Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works. In 2018, a major automotive employer rolled out a “right-sizing” strategy and laid off many individuals in the professional service sector. We heard the call from other employers in our county that wanted access to the engineers, designers and IT professionals. We had over 30 employers and 270 job seekers at the event. Our businesses are different today than 10 years ago. With our help, they have diversified their industry portfolios in automotive, defense, aerospace and advanced manufacturing sectors.

Q: Give us a snapshot of your workweek.

A: I call it spinning plates. There is no typical week, which is why I love what I do. It is being highly adaptable. A typical week includes meeting with partners, forging relationships with businesses, talking with developers and land owners, many conversations with the state and supporting our 27 local municipalities and communities. I am fortunate to have a team of 25 experienced professionals who are breaking the mold in what is traditional planning and economic development and making a difference in who Macomb County is for those who live, work and play here.



Recap: Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day and Stop the Bleed Training


On Thursday, April 25, more than 80 children joined HRLR as they hosted the annual Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. Attendees got to experience a variety of Macomb County departments, including Planning and Economic Development, Animal Control, COMTEC and the Courts. The day concluded with a final event at Freedom Hill with a Sheriff’s Office presentation and the chance to meet the United Shore Baseball League Mascot. Thank you to HRLR and all the departments that hosted presentations. Your efforts made the 2019 Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day both fun and educational.

Macomb County Emergency Management and Communications recently hosted several training sessions around Stop the Bleed, a nationally recognized program designed to turn bystanders into immediate responders at the scene of a wounding. More than 300 county employees took part in the nine different training sessions, which taught bleeding control practices, wound packing and use of a tourniquet. They also covered how to apply these concepts both when proper medical supplies are available as well as with materials found at hand. Thank you to Emergency Management for hosting this important opportunity.



OneMacomb unveils top three images from the As Seen in Macomb photo contest


OneMacomb leaders were recently joined by Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel and James O. Sawyer IV, president of Macomb Community College, to announce the winners of the As Seen in Macomb scholarship photo contest. The initiative, which was open to current Macomb Community College students or those in 12th grade who plan to attend the college, sought entries that capture the beauty of Macomb through photos of the county’s art, architecture, nature, places or people.

“The response to the first-ever As Seen in Macomb contest was incredible,” said Rhonda Powell, chair of OneMacomb and director of Macomb County Health and Community Services. “Talented photographers submitted images from across Macomb County that showcased our parks, neighborhoods and other community assets. We are thrilled with the results and excited to celebrate their artistic expression.”

A panel with representatives from the Anton Art Center, First State Bank, Macomb Community College, OneMacomb and TheMitt.TV judged the entries and determined the top three images. Winners were announced at an event at Macomb Community College. They include:

  • First place: Brittney Reno of Macomb. Photo taken at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library
  • Second place: Zac Wireman of New Baltimore. Photo taken in New Baltimore at Walter & Mary Burke Park
  • Third place: Anne Bussell. Photo taken at the Macomb Community College South Campus

Each winner was awarded a scholarship that can be applied to tuition and other educational expenses at Macomb Community College. The first-place scholarship was $1,500 and funded by First State Bank. Second place was $1,000, sponsored by TheMitt.TV, and third place was $500, provided by OneMacomb.

Brittney Reno, the first place winner, shared the following about her photo: “I decided to do a photo that showed both imagination and learning. When reading a fictional, non-fictional, or a textbook, you can learn an endless amount of material. In this photo it shows that with a little imagination, unexpected things can happen. Your mind is taken into a world filled with wonders that are sometimes not humanly possible…aka floating books. Don't underestimate the power of reading and learning.”

The three winning images, as well as the additional top-rated 10 entries, will be featured in a First State Bank calendar. Top images can be seen here.





Walk Around the Block


To celebrate National Employee Health and Fitness Day, Macomb County employees took to the streets at their work location to participate in a “Walk Around the Block” on Wednesday, May 15. Hosted by Healthstyles, this annual event promotes the benefits of physical activity and is an opportunity for employees to enjoy a scenic walk with co-workers.

Healthstyles of Macomb County is the worksite wellness program for county employees. For more information or to get involved, email



For Your Benefit

A message from Andrew McKinnon


Macomb County is always looking for opportunities to improve our offerings to employees. Which is why this year, during our voluntary benefits open enrollment period in June, we will introduce two new products. The first is back by popular demand – our long-term care offering from LifeSecure. The second is a new option – a hospital indemnity offering through Aflac.

We will continue to offer the following: short-term disability and critical care plans through Aflac, universal life (Trustmark), supplemental term life (The Standard), legal and ID shield (Legal Shield) and pet insurance through Nationwide.

In the coming days, please check your email for the voluntary benefits open enrollment fair schedule, as it will be sent out and posted to the website.

We appreciate all you do and will continue to seek offerings that are desirable to county employees. Thank you.



Perks at Work


The school year is almost over, which means parents are looking for fun and exciting activities that can keep their children occupied during the summer months.

In this Perks at Work article, we highlight a great option for families - YMCA Summer Camp!* Currently, employees of Macomb County are eligible to receive 20 percent off memberships and no sign-up fees through the Perks at Work program. For more information on camp offerings, visit:

Not a Perks at Work member yet? Go to to register and have full access to all available discounts. If you have any questions regarding this offer or the Perks at Work program, please email Robyn DiCristofaro at or Cindy Genord at

*Please note that the discount offer is valid for the Mount Clemens location at 10 North River Road only.



Providing support by keeping it casual

Your donations through the Board of Commissioners Casual Day program continue to support worthy causes throughout the county and the region. For the months of June and July, Casual Day will benefit the National Kidney Foundation and the Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan.

National Kidney Foundation - Casual Days: June 7, 14, 21, 28

The National Kidney Foundation offers programs and services that support people with kidney disease, along with their families and caregivers. The donations collected from Causal Day will specifically support Patient Services, which provides a variety of programs and direct services that aim to educate, empower and support people with kidney disease, as well as their caregivers. These resources are available to anyone in Macomb County and include a Kids Camp from July 21-27 at Camp Copneconic and the awarding of college scholarships to students on dialysis and those who have received a kidney transplant.

The support this foundation offers also includes access to a free kidney health check. This program, known as KEEP Healthy, includes a risk survey, height and weight measurements, a blood pressure check and an opportunity to speak to a health care professional. The foundation also offers peer support, information on nutrition and dialysis and family resources. For more information visit

Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan - Casual Days: July 5, 12, 19, 26

For the month of July the donations received through the Casual Day program will support the Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan. This foundation works to close the gap between what can be done for people with epilepsy and what is being done for them. Not only does the Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan lead the fight to stop seizures, it also provides various resources on community education related to seizures, epilepsy management and social opportunities. To learn more about the resources this organization offers visit



MMYH Ambassadors

 Serving the community is our career


Macomb County offers its residents many services – initiatives that can benefit our family, friends and neighbors. As a county employee, you can help guide these individuals to the right program that fits their needs. So in this section of Macomb Matters, we highlight different departments and their offerings to help you become an ambassador for the community. Here’s how it works:

  1. We’ll share an article detailing a county service within this newsletter.
  2. At the end of the article, you’ll find a link to a three question quiz on that service.
  3. Five individuals that take the quiz will be randomly selected to receive Make Macomb Your Home swag!

In the last issue of Macomb Matters, we covered the Macomb County Housing Rehabilitation Program, a resource offered by Macomb Community Action. Several employees that took our quiz were selected at random and received Make Macomb Your Home swag. They include Jodie Sarsfield, Susan Craik, Jonathan Jovanovic and Audrey Brown.

You too can win MMYH swag! Just read up on our next MMYH Ambassadors topic and take our quick quiz. Today’s topic is the MSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program. This 14-week training provides in-depth education in many aspects of horticulture, including trees and shrubs, flowers, fruits, vegetables, soil, water, pests, indoor plants, lawns and more. After completing 40 hours of volunteer community service, participants earn their Extension Master Gardener certification, a widely recognized designation. Volunteers are committed to improving the quality of life in Michigan through horticulture-based volunteerism and beautifying communities throughout the state.

Master Gardener classes will begin on Monday, August 19 and run through December 9. Registration for the training is now open and its cost is $325, which includes the 1000 page training manual. Anyone interested in participating in this program, or seeking more information about the Master Gardener Program, should log on to:, or contact the Macomb MSU Extension office at 586-469-6440.

For more information on this and other MSUE programs, please visit the MSUE website.

Now - think you’re ready to complete the ambassador quiz? Click here

to get started and stay tuned for the next issue, where we’ll cover a new topic.



Paw Print

Greetings from Chief Randazzo!


It has been a soggy spring for sure. Need a mood booster? Looking for something bright on a gloomy, rainy day? We’ve got just what you’re looking for! Take a peek at our Kitty Cam! Our Kitty Cam is the first in the state of Michigan to offer the world a view into the daily life of a shelter cat. The camera is strategically placed to give viewers the opportunity to enjoy the fun antics of our feline friends. It’s live, so sometimes the Kitties of Macomb will be in full swing – climbing, chasing and jumping. At other times, they may be playing hide and seek, with more hiding than seeking. If you don’t see the fun on your first look, be sure to come back later when they’ve finished their naps. In addition to spreading cheer, we hope this camera will encourage interested individuals to visit our facilities and take home a furry friend (or a non-furry one, adopter’s choice!).

On a related note, May 4, as in, “May the 4th be with you,” was “The Shelter Barks Back!” day. The event was open to all, not just Star Wars fans. These events are part of our efforts to Empty The Shelters. With the help of the BISSEL Pet Foundation, staff and volunteers, 15 animals were adopted from our shelter that day. You can visit our Facebook page to see some great photos of the event and of the happy families who opened their hearts and homes.

If you enjoy our Kitty Cam and are interested in seeing the other animals we have available for adoption, you can visit our website, Macomb County Animal Control, or you can view our animals on Petfinder. If you’d like to visit us in person, we are located at 21417 Dunham Road in Clinton Township. Our regular business hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you’d like to keep in touch, please subscribe to our newsletter, “The Scoop,” by calling us at 586.469.5115.

Happy Tails!



Recipe Corner - Greek Pasta with Tomatoes, Spinach, Feta Cheese and Beans


  • 8 ounces whole grain penne pasta ( 2 2/3 cup)
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans of Italian-style diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 10 ounces baby spinach
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese


  1. Cook pasta according to directions on package.
  2. In a nonstick skillet, combine tomatoes and cannellini beans, simmer for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add spinach and cook until wilted.
  4. Stir in pasta and sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese.
  5. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts: A two cup serving of this recipe contains 328 Calories, 3g fat and 16g protein



*MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer, committed to achieving excellence through a diverse workforce and inclusive culture that encourages all people to reach their full potential. Michigan State University Extension programs and materials are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or veteran status. This information is for educational purposes only.



Event Calendar

New! Be sure to check out the new calendar feature on InsideMacomb, our intranet homepage.

Make Macomb Your Home also maintains a comprehensive calendar of community events. Be sure to check it when you are looking for ways to enjoy Macomb with friends and family:


Sprint and Splash Festival of Races

*Registration still open Saturday, June 15; Races start at 9 a.m.
Lake St. Clair Metropark
Click here for more information.



30th annual Senior Fun Festival

Wednesday, June 26; 9 a.m. – Noon
Lorenzo Cultural Center at Macomb Community College
Click here for more information.



Macomb County Employee Health Fair

Wednesday, August 7; 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Macomb County Fire and Police Training Center
Click here for more information.




Blog Log

Celebrate Michigan Wine Month at the FIRST vineyard in southeast Michigan

Peregrine falcons: Not your average office neighbor

Startup business resource: Free workshop to explore Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem

Macomb County native returns to roots, commits to Mount Clemens’ comeback

April is National Volunteer Month. Here’s how you can give back in Macomb County.



News Nook

Macomb County seeking centenarians to honor as part of Health and Community Services Initiative

Macomb County receives five Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties

New 24/7 camera allows pet lovers to meet adoptable felines online

Macomb County Health Department launches behavioral health resource map during Mental Health Awareness Month



Do you have comments or suggestions for Macomb Matters? Please send them to