Upon further review Longtime attorney honored for service to county


By Tom Kirvan
Legal News

Unananimity was reached by the Oakland County Board of Commissioners on November 18. That, on a sometimes sharply divided elected board, could be news in itself.

But on that day last month, there was no room for political debate about the merits of a proclamation that was unanimously approved by the County Board chaired by Republican Bill Bullard Jr. It was with one voice that the panel spoke about the “extraordinary voluntary contributions and unparalleled service to Oakland County” by attorney Gordon Snavely, who was saluted during a special presentation in the County Board of Commissioners Auditorium.

A native of Royal Oak, Snavely was honored by the County Board with a proclamation in recognition of his 25 years of volunteer service on the Claims Review Committee, a five-member panel that oversees the process of reviewing legal claims against Oakland County. He currently serves as chair of the committee that includes two members of the County Board of Commissioners. The committee reviews matters where the potential legal exposure to the county exceeds $25,000 in damages, and typically meets on a quarterly basis.

“Gordon has volunteered his time, legal expertise, and political acumen to the committee for 25 years,” Oakland County Corporation Counsel Judy Cunningham said at the ceremony last month, lauding him as a “true renaissance man.”

Her words of praise were echoed by County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, a classmate of Snavely’s at University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. Patterson, along with County Board Chairman Bullard, commended Snavely for his “tireless and dedicated work on behalf of the citizens” of Oakland County.

Snavely, who also earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Detroit, has practiced law since 1968, specializing in real estate law, estate planning, and probate work.

“Our mantra is to use and spend the county’s tax dollars wisely,” Snavely told the Board of Commissioners of his work with the Claims Review Committee. “We strive to be firm but fair, and we try to do the right thing by everyone. Politics is verboten. It is all about the legalistics of the case, nothing more, nothing less.”

In addition to his work with the Claims Review Committee, Snavely has served on Oakland County Zoologicial Authority and the Central Michigan University Development Board, and has taught real estate law at Oakland University. He and his wife, Mary Jo, will celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary later this month.

“I love the county,” Snavely said at the presentation ceremony. “I am president of the Oakland County fan club.”