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WVPE News

St. Joseph County Commissioner Deb Fleming says she is not retiring, despite letter to county GOP

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St. Joseph County Commissioner Deb Fleming (right) watches Commissioner Andy Kostielney (center) give remarks on redistricting during a November 2021 meeting.

St. Joseph County Commissioner Deb Fleming says she is not retiring, despite earlier reports, but may take a medical leave of absence.

Speculation that Fleming was planning to step down emerged last week when several media outlets obtained copies of a letter, reportedly written and signed by Fleming and addressed to county Republican party chair Zach Potts, which states that she plans to both “retire” and take a medical leave of absence.

But on Tuesday, Fleming told WVPE that she does not plan to step down, calling it a “misunderstanding.”

Instead, Fleming said she might need to have surgery this summer, and she may need to take some medical leave depending on the recovery time.

Fleming said Potts requested she write the letter — and that she did sign it — but it was delivered to the county GOP by someone else.

The county clerk’s office must be notified if a commissioner chooses to step down. Fleming said she was not aware of that, but she plans to contact the clerk regarding a medical leave of absence once the dates of her surgery are confirmed.

If Fleming stepped down, her District 3 seat would be filled until the next election with someone chosen by a caucus of county Republicans.

Commissioner Andy Kostielney’s District 1 seat is the only commissioner seat up for election in 2022. Kostielney announced last fall that he is not seeking re-election.

Contact Jakob at jlazzaro@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @JakobLazzaro.

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