Political controversy stirs over Perles resignation

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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – After being a part of the MSU community for sixty-five years, George Perles says his time serving on the Board of Trustees is finished.

In Perles’ resignation letter he said he’s stepping down because of personal reasons, citing his battle with Parkinson’s disease and his age being 84-years-old.

But the timing of his resignation has stirred some controversy in the political community.

“I’ve run my term, I’m 84 years old. It’s about time someone else had the pleasure of representing Michigan State,” said Perles.

After a long career at MSU, Democrat George Perles says his time serving on the Board of Trustees has come to an end.

“The timing I think is real good and we’re feeling good, so why not,” said Perles.

But some disagree with Perles and think his timing is wrong.

If Perles had resigned earlier this year, Michigan voters would’ve chosen his successor during the midterm election.

If he waited until the first of January, Democrat Governor-elect Gretchen Whitmer would make the appointment.

But since he’s chosen now to resign it will be up to Republican Governor Rick Snyder to fill the seat.

“I would hope he would give serious consideration to letting Governor-elect Gretchen Whitmer make that appointment,” said MSU Trustee Dianne Byrum.

Byrum, who is a Democrat, says the person who is appointed should be someone who can work alongside Whitmer since she will soon be taking office.

“It is the end of Snyder’s campaign and whoever gets appointed is going to serve for the next four years and so that’s future focusing,” said Byrum.

But State Senator Curtis Hertel, who is also a Democrat, disagrees and thinks Perles should do what’s best for his family.

“When there are health reasons involved, you really can’t think of those things,” said Hertel.

Despite the controversy surrounding Perles’ resignation, he says politics didn’t, and will not, play a role in his decision.

“I didn’t want to influence anybody in any direction. I didn’t consider it because it wasn’t big in my mind,” said Perles.

Regardless of who replaces Perles on the MSU Board of Trustees, Democrats will still gain a majority on the board come January.

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