13th District County Commission
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 The Macomb Daily


By Frank DeFrank -; @fdefrank

Posted: Wednesday, 01/16/13 11:35 am

"The MCC Board of Trustees voted 5-2 Tuesday to create a $5 per-credit-hour “technology and facility fee,” a new source of funds that will finance new technology and infrastructure improvements. The board also approved a $3 per-credit-hour tuition hike. Both increases go into effect in the fall.

Kelly was joined by Trustees Nancy Falcone, Roseanne DiMaria, Connie Bolanowski and Christine Bonkowski in approving the fee and tuition hike. Joseph DeSantis and Frank Cusumano were opposed.

Cusumano, a first-term trustee elected in November, said the timing is not good to raise tuition and fees for students.“Students are already heavily burdened with by tuition costs, fees and the attendant student loan debt,” he said in an email.Cusumano also said he suspects the increases “sets the table” for later pay raises for administrators and faculty.

“It is a foregone conclusion that this is what is coming next,” he said."

Frank Cusumano Sworn In as

Macomb Community College Trustee

Release Date:
November 21, 2012

Frank Cusumano was sworn in as a member of Macomb Community College’s Board of Trustees by Chief Judge David F. Viviano of the 16th Judicial Circuit and Macomb County Probate Courts prior to the board’s meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 20.  Cusumano was elected in the Nov. 6 general election to fill a partial term ending Dec. 2014 that was open due to the resignation of a trustee who relocated for work.

 “I am humbled by election to the office of trustee,” said Cusumano. “Our college always has been a valuable asset to the community. As we move forward into the 21st century, we must make sure it is accessible and affordable for any students using it to climb the ladder of economic mobility through higher learning. I look forward to working with the current board and the administration to not only maintain the college’s level of excellence but to improve its programs, and to make Macomb’s programs, placement rates and other metrics of success the standard by which all other community colleges are measured, not only in Michigan, but across the nation.”

 A licensed attorney in Michigan since 1989, Cusumano is a sole practitioner whose work focuses on everyday people with everyday legal problems.  He earned his law degree from University of Detroit Mercy and holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science and philosophy from the University of Michigan.   A Macomb Township resident, he is married and has five children, two of whom are in Utica Community Schools, one daughter who graduated from James Madison College, Michigan State University with a bachelors degree Comparative Cultures and Politics and a major in Mandarin Chinese, another daughter is attending Michigan State University's Pre-Dental Program, and another daughter majoring in Chemistry at niversity of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. , James Madison College a

The college’s board is composed of seven trustees who are selected through nonpartisan, countywide election and serve six-year terms without compensation.  The board approves budgets, develops policies in accordance with educational needs and serves as a direct link between the college and the community. 




Thank you for your vote of confidence and election to this position. I was sworn in by Chief Judge David Viviano and attended my first meeting as a Trustee. I take the role of Trustee seriously. I believe a Trustee is entrusted with the role as the final gate keeper of the public treasury, and is a "quality assurance inspector" of policies and work product by the administration as to policy and academics. It is not lost on me that "trust" permeates the langauge of the position. Trust is earned everyday, not just on election day.

The image of all public institutions as "honey pots" for insiders and special interests must be reversed. The role of Macomb Community College in the 21st Century, and how it serves this community, is paramount. There are myths being perpetuated which are properly the subject for discussion, debate and basic review. While Trustees, Boards, Council Members and other governing bodies must be held accountable with their oaths of office to "faithfully discharge the duties of the office of ... ," on election day, it is the public which should and must act as the ultimate watchdog with public comments and input. I am accessible to any employee, student, parent or visitor of the College, before Board meetings, after Board Meetings, and by appointment. 

I believe in true conservative principles, not only when they benefit a particular special interest group, and not others. There is great danger in not having any principles, and if you do have them, willfully ignoring them. My conservative principles are not for sale to the highest bidder. My conservative principles sometimes mean I am at odds with so-called traditional power bases, such as banks and insurance companies. I do not check my Christian morality or its imperatives at the door of a campaign fund raiser. "Do Right and Fear Not
" was a sign that Justice Elizabeth Weaver had in her Chambers while on the Michigan Supreme Court. I encourage every citizen of Macomb County to participate in the governance of the College by attending the information sessions and public meetings. 

I am not afraid of different ideas, debate or controversy. I am seeking the truth - a supreme reality - not spin or perspective. This should be simple process, but it is not, especially in a political system where special interests, careerism, and money are more important than integrity, honor and the common good. What's good for the career politician seldom is good for the people. Instead of honest debate and development of consensus for the common good, I have found that there is constant, unrelenting, gaming of the system and it's processes by special interests, to the detriment of the minority. It is wrong whether it is done by the GOP or by the Democrats, and I don't care about what the issue is. If you would not accept it from the other party when you are in the minority, then you should not tolerate it from your own party when you are in the majority.

I was the only GOP Candidate for State Representative in 2010 that talked to the AFSCME workers which have since been privatized in the Utica Community Schools. After that recent vote by the UCS Board, I spoke to them again in the parking lot. What I learned, and continue to learn, amazes me. These workers explained that they had been pressing for less expensive health insurance for years, and those requests were denied. That is just one example. So, influence by large and powerful lobbies is what matters not good governance, and not common sense. The taxpaying John and Mary Does, well they don't figure into the equation at all. I will continue to reach out and seek other opinions, information, and data. That is my job as a citizen.


I live in the real world, and do what I can. My work brings me close to the realities of the economic conditions in Macomb County. My clients are not banks, insurance companies, governmental entities, unions or other special interests. My clients are everyday people - impacted through little or no fault of their own by the collapse of the local economy - trying to survive and provide for their families.

I cut my own grass, change the oil on my cars, and talk to my neighbors everyday to make things better in our schools and community. In fact, I talk to people throughout Macomb County everyday. I maintain the values taught to me by my parents of hard work, integrity, and the value of the truth. I teach my children the same values.

I am a graduate of the University of Michigan Ann Arbor (1985) (AB - Political Science and Phb - Philosophy). My law degree is from the University of Detroit Mercy (1989). I worked all through college and law school.  I am President of my homeowner association, and regularly attend Macomb Township Board of Trustees Meetings and UCS School Board Meetings. I have been a lector at my Church, SS Peter & Paul Jesuit Church, Detroit, for the last 29 years.

I was the President of the Columbus Day Celebration Committee and member of the Italian American Cultural Society. 

My wife, and life partner, Julianne Cusumano, have five children in the public education system. My daughter Roma graduated in 2012 from the Utica Academy of International Studies and graduated from Michigan State's James Madison College this spring (2016). My daughter Francesca attended Eisenhower High School, was Vice-President of the National Honor Society and was elected Senior Class President for the 2014 graduating class. Francesca now attends University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan and is a chemistry major.

I will be updating this website in the near future, as to the serious issues that confront Macomb Community College. It seems odd that, when faced with declining enrollment, the reflexive response is to raise tuition. That does not seem to make too much sense, because more tuition means less enrollment which means, what... higher tuition?

We need to bring common sense and integrity to the process and change that everyone can live with while keeping in mind the goal of Macomb County College is the education of STUDENTS. That means AFFORDABLE tuition for the STUDENTS, THE PARENTS, and the taxpayers.

It is because you are using less and people are moving out of SE Michigan. It is the "Death Spiral" of our community, region and state and Detroit Water and Sewerage and our elected officials are completely out of touch or willfully misrepresenting the facts as they feather their own beds and bloated pensions.

We need to just say "NO." 
See pp. 4-6 below.

A Message from Citizen Cusumano

Thank you for visiting my web site. I graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Campus, with a Bachelors degree (dual majors) in Political Science and Philosophy. My law degree is from the University of Detroit Law School (now UD/Mercy). I have been continually licensed as an attorney in Michigan from 1989 through the present date.

My wife, Julianne Cusumano, and our five children, Roma, Francesca, Giovanna, Giuliana, and Francesco, live in the Altermatt Farms Subdivision in Macomb Township. Our children all attend the Utica Community Schools, and my wife has been involved in several bond issues for the schools.  Like most citizens of Macomb Township, my wife and I get the kids ready for school, get them on the bus, and go to work everyday. I cut my own grass, provide for my family, and always try to teach them to do the right thing by example. I am the President of my subdivision association. A significant part of my law practice is dedicated to pro bono representation of less fortunate fellow citizens of our Great Lakes State. I don't expect kudos for this. In fact, I find it more satisfying than the paid work most of the time.

As with many Americans of European descent, my family immigrated to the Detroit area between 1900 and 1911. My family immigrated from Terrasini, Sicily. My family tree includes fairly common surnames in our region, Cusumano (and all variations spelled slightly differently), Palazzolo, Lumetta, Moceri, and Tocco. My great grandfather, Salvatore Cusumano,  worked as a laborer on the railroads throughout the state, and his wife and children (my grandfather Domineco Cusumano) soon followed. Opportunities were limited to recently arrived citizens, and their literacy skill set made effective communication difficult, and they gravitated into the fresh produce business. My great grandfather's pushcart, built by himself, and used everyday except Sunday to sell fresh produce on the streets of Detroit is at the Detroit Historical Museum. It was recently displayed there. Each successive generation, through public education, assimilated into the Southeastern Michigan community.Their great grandchildren are now doctors, lawyers, teachers, business owners and taxpaying contributors in this community.


Nothing is going to effect you and your family and grandchildren more than the economy, and job loss in this state. As a result, friends, neighbors, relatives and families are leaving our Great State. All problems flow from this undeniable fact: without revenue, a business fails. Without a robust economy, a state government fails its purposes, because it cannot collect enough tax revenues.

As I stated during the campaign, without a vibrant middle class to pay taxes, we will not be able to pay for our schools, roads, water and sewerage, and most government services.

Why does Michigan economy struggle in jobs creation? I have concluded that it is not because we are not a Right to Work State. I base this conclusion on the performance of Indiana and Kentucky. The reality is that our job loss is a function of globalization, and incredibly cheap foreign labor, not being a Right to Work State or not being one.


The reason many companies are locating to southern states is that the cost of living for workers is much less expensive there. Kentucky has among the lowest taxes in the United States. As a result, companies can pay workers less in those states. Ultimately, no US worker, north or south, east or west, can compete with $0.60 per hour Chinese communist labor. If companies do not transfer production overseas, they will be put out of business. Until our national representatives develop a national trade policy on true free trade ("Sane Trade"), in the short term, the overall taxes in a state seems to be the difference hurting Michigan most. Right to Work has nothing to do with our economic situation.

Additionally, the so-called conservatives are more than willing to interfere with lawful contracts between employers, governmental agencies, and unions, yet cringe at government regulation of environment, worker safety and child labor laws. This is not "free market" they argue,  and is over reaching by the Federal Government vis-a-vis the "Commerce Clause."

I am curious – how is it that the Commerce Clause is okay for the Constitutionality of the Taft-Hartley Act (Federal Right to Work Statute) and the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (also “LMRDA” or the “Landrum-Griffin Act”) but not the Democrats' so called social engineering projects such as Obamacare?

For example the LMRDA requires that:

1. Unions had to hold secret elections, reviewable by the Department of Labor.
2. Union members are protected against abuses by a bill of rights that includes guarantees of freedom of speech and periodic secret elections of officers.
3. Bar members of the Communist Party and convicted felons from holding union office. Note: The U.S. Supreme Court, on June 7, 1965, held unconstitutional as a bill of attainder the section 504 provision which imposes criminal sanctions on Communist Party members for holding union office; U.S. v. Brown, 381 U.S. 437. 
4. Require unions to submit annual financial reports to the DOL.

5. Declare that every union officer must act as a fiduciary in handling the assets and conducting the affairs of the union.
6. Limit the power of unions to put subordinate bodies in trusteeship, a temporary suspension of democratic processes within a union.
7. Provide certain minimum standards before a union may expel or take other disciplinary action against a member of the union.

So, the Commerce Clause is only BAD and morally outrageous when the federal statute suits certain special interests and not others. Why not get rid of the pretext altogether. The so-called liberals use the Constitution when it suits them, and so do the so-called conservatives. 
Those same conservatives have not objected to the LMRDA on these same grounds because use of the commerce clause is "good" when it hurts the interests of competing special interests.


A recent study conducted at Michigan State University drives home the point of the impact. Every citizen that leaves Michigan profoundly effects those that remain, since their consumption of goods and services (and payment of taxes) is forever lost. Summary of Study Here Michigan is losing its greatest asset, its people. Our friends, relatives and neighbors are being driven from their home state. The study reminds us of the impact on the so called "new service economy":

"Within the broader area of services, retail and wholesale services generated about $29.1 billion in wages and other income; healthcare-related services generated about $27.5 billion; professional and technical services generated about $27.1 billion; finance and real estate services contributed about $18.9 billion; and information and transportation services generated about $12.5 billion (Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2007). Most of these services are local to the state, and many are locally delivered within a region, county or community. Therefore, a significant proportion of the spending of individuals or households that move out of a region moves out along with them, potentially creating a downward spiral in economic activity."

Recovery will be slow and arduous given the decline and the new paradigm. The map below, drawn from the report summary, is sobering. Note that all other non-Right to Work states have increased in population. How can any incumbent politician ask to be re-elected again after this shameful performance or push a Right to Work statute? They can and do.

"LEAVING TOWN - Michigan is one of only two states to lose population between 2006-2008; Rhode Island is the other. Rhode Island lost 2,000 people, while Michigan lost 80,000 people."

The fall out is financial catastrophe: the collapse of home values and the collapse of the tax base; teachers now must be laid off, schools closed, and basic police and fire services reduced. The Macomb Daily recently quoted the New Baltimore Mayor that, in his opinion, it would not be long until most municipalities in Macomb County "slip into receivership." This is a growing trend in this state. Home values in Macomb County are expected to fall another 30% in the next three years.


On this issue of money paid, we should focus on why the private sector's wages are falling, not to cannibalize the education of our children. Although I am not an expert, I believe I know what the issues are. Unfortunately, it seems, that special interests continue to be well represented, but the state's policies appear to have drifted away from the common citizen's needs. Michigan now ranks 30th per median household income in the nation. Yet we are amongst the highest in spending by lobbyists. I can hardly imagine what is more important to a parent than their child's education. People from everyday walks of life, roofers, firemen, business people, realtors, neighbors and friends are all struggling or failing to keep their children in music, dance, or in athletics. It is rare to talk to a homeowner that is not "upside down" on their home equity.

My son, Francesco is 9 years old and wrestles. At these wrestling tournaments approximately 1000 or more parents and grandparents watch their sons (and daughters) in their matches. Clearly, the government exists for the benefit of those people including the children, and not for the gross enrichment of a few politically connected individuals and corporations. It is up to us, as voters, to make sure that those that we elect are not seduced by special interests.

Again search your Representative, and State Senator and hold them accountable if you believe they have been unduly influenced by PAC money and special interest donations. Search at: Michigan Secretary of State. The Public Education of an entire generation of Michigan children (approximately 1.5 million) and 29,000 in the Utica Community Schools, is not a political football. It is far too important to be treated as a game.

The data shown at right indicates where Michigan ranks in the Union in gross domestic product. The 2008-2009 reporting period was a tremendous and historic decline. In the face of this indisputable data, what if any changes has Lansing (or the private sector) enacted to effectuate real advantage in the playing field? It is no wonder that the incumbents blame each other for this utter failure. When the facts are against you, attack your opponent. What else can they argue?

As indicated on the map below, our Macomb County, and other districts nearby, have lost more population than anywhere else in the nation. Yet, our politicians, from our own districts, ask that they be returned to Lansing to "finish the job."


Michigan is still dependent on transportation exports as it was over a decade ago. Unfortunately, our national trade policy has sold our entire manufacturing base out. If you don't mind getting angry at the spokespersons for Free Trade insulting your intelligence. Click here and scroll down.

Michigan is a manufacturing state, period. We led this nation in manufacturing throughout the industrial revolution, and built rail cars before automobiles. The key to understanding Michigan's economic performance is the manufacturing sector. The pinnacle of manufacturing is automobile production. Southern states, and developing nations, all want to become manufacturing states that manufacture automobiles. These competitors strive to capture this sector and make their economies less diverse and therefore less impoverished. In other words, while we attempt to "diversify" our economy, our competitors seek to specialize and narrow their economies. Since infrastructure, human resources, and all other components exist here, it makes sense to keep these manufacturing concerns here in Michigan. Why can business, labor, and government work in harmony in competitor states in their drive to steal our manufacturing base, but fail to function here in our state to preserve our economy? Again, all public services and the private sector service industry depends on the state's economy, which is rightly dependent manufacturing.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

Margaret Mead, anthropologist



It is my goal for Michigan to have the highest test scores for our graduating High School seniors in the nation; the lowest unemployment in the nation, at ideally 1.0% or less, and  the highest percentage health insurance coverage. I want our per capita income to return to the top ten of the States, where we had been up until the last decade. We must stop job loss and manufacturing transfers to our southern state competitors immediately. NO MORE EXCUSES. Business, labor, and government all have a common interest in this economic "war between the states." Lofty goals? Impossible? Never, never, never, give up.

In the 2003 season, the Michigan Wolverines were down 28-7 to Minnesota Gophers at the Metrodome. In the final quarter, John Navarre went 15-20 passing for 195 yards and 4 touchdowns. Chris Perry ran for two scores and Garrett Rivas kicked the game-winning field goal. The Wolverines scored 31 points in the final quarter to gain a 38-35 win over the Gophers. “It just speaks to the human spirit,” Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said.The comeback set the tone for the rest of the season as the Wolverines rolled to six straight victories, including a decisive 35-21 win over the Buckeyes. Impossible? The Michigan players did not think so, and did not give up. They just got to work.

I ask for you vote in the November 6, 2012 General Election.

Frank Cusumano

"Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people can be engaged in. That every [citizen] may receive at least, a moderate education." 

Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln's first public statement when seeking elected office. March 9, 1832

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. "
"The government is us; we are the government, you and I."

Theodore Roosevelt

On Ronald Reagan's grave in California, President Reagan, had written his own epitaph. I keep this picture and his final words (which I scanned for posting on this web site) on my desk. This was Ronald Wilson Reagan's last earthly message to all of us.

I believe it embodies the spirit of true Republican Party, not that a party controlled by special interests.

"Never underestimate the work ethic, determination and will of the People of Michigan."

Frank Cusumano..

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