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Anti-Poverty Panel Head's Blast Irks Supervisors

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Anti-Poverty Panel Head’s Blast Irks Supervisors

Dr. Albert H. Wheeler will be asked by a special committee of the County Board of Supervisors to explain his accusation that the county board has "harrassed the county anti-poverty committee."

The full statement contained in Wheeler's "NAACP Civil Rights Profile of the Ann Arbor" is that the board has "harassed the county anti-poverty committee" because this committee refuses to prostitute the aims of the Economic Opportunity Act to satisfy the local power structure entities."

Wheeler is chairman of the county Committee on Economic Opportunity (CEO).

The “profile” was sent to the Atomic Energy Commission which is considering a location in Northfield Township for a $375 million atomic particle accelerator.

A copy was sent to Roy Smith, chairman of the county boar who had it duplicated and distributed to all supervisors yesterday’s monthly board meeting.

The section dealing with county government gives two instances in which the CEO and county board have had dealings.

Concerning one instance, Wheeler states, “Several months ago the board was asked for roughly $2,500 to assist in the Medicare Alert Program. They finally allocated $1,200 of which committee used only $300. In the meantime, the (CEO) was subjected to lots of public abuse from the board.”

On the other, he said, “More recently, they refused a request for a $2,400 in-kind contribution on a very technical excuse.”

“We question the attitudes and concerns of a Board of Supervisors which refuses such a small contribution to a committee which has received between $400 and $500,000 for county anti-poverty programs,” Wheeler said.

Supr. Robert Harrison Jr. of Saline, chairman of the supervisors special committee which only recently seemed to patch up relations between the CEO and the supervisors with an agreement providing for regular communications between the two, moved to refer the matter to the committee.

He said the accusation of harrassment “fails to be specific” and that he intends to ask Wheeler for specific examples. 

He also commented that the "technical excuse” used by the board was that “the law of state of Michigan prohibits the grant sought.

The denial of the $2,400 to pay rent for the CEO office space was based on the opinion of the prosecuting attorney that grants of the county funds must be made for specific purposes and the money must remain under the control of the county.

The board decided that rent for a building to house all of the CEO's activities would not be sufficiently specific. The Medicare Alert money was justified because it was limited to one project with publicly outlined aims, the board held.