I don’t even know what to say to this story that I came across on Twitter. It’s screen grabs from the Leelanau Enterprise article in which Leelanau County Road Commissioner, Tom Eckerle, used a very racist term when asked why he wasn’t wearing a mask for the meeting.

According to the Leelanau Enterprise article, another commissioner asked Eckerle why he wasn’t following COVID-19 protocol and wearing a mask while inside for the meeting of the Road Commission. That’s when he responded in a very 1950’s way, “Well this whole thing is because of them (N-word) down in Detroit.” Seriously in 2020, he said this.

The Enterprise reports that Bob Joyce, the Road commission Chairman responded, “you can’t say that!”

That’s when Eckerle went off, even more, saying “Black Lives Matter has everything to do with taking the country away from us.”

Currently, the meetings are not accessible in-person to the public because of the pandemic, but they can listen in by phone, and there were people on the line. The official meeting started soon after the exchange which is when they started recording the meeting. So there’s no physical record of the conversation or racist comments. But the Leelanau Enterprise did ask Chairman Joyce who confirmed that it, in fact, happened.

Here’s the sad part about the situation, Eckerle is actually elected to a six-year term which started in 2018 which means he can’t just be fired for his use of the racist term. It also makes me wonder if people already knew this was part of his character when they elected him and are OK with it, or if this is new information to everyone.

According to the Leelanau Enterprise story, Chairman Joyce told them “there’s just no room for that kind of language here. I won’t tolerate any kind of racism in our meeting room or in our organization. Round here, it’s all about the content of people’s character – not the color of their skin.“

I really hope that statement isn’t ALL that’s going to be said or done with that kind of blatant racism in the Leelanau County Road Commission. I think it’s time to ask for a recall of his position. I wouldn’t feel safe with someone like that in power where I live.

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