Lansing — Ingham County Circuit Court’s judges on Wednesday named former Michigan Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer as the county’s new prosecutor following the pending resignation of Stuart Dunnings III.
Dunnings, who faces multiple criminal charges of engaging with prostitutes, placed himself on three months paid medical leave in March and submitted a letter of resignation that is effective July 2.
Whitmer, D-East Lansing, will take over as prosecutor for the remainder of the year.
“The public has high expectations for how this office should be run and I can promise that my own expectations are even higher,” Whitmer said Wednesday in a statement. “There’s a great deal of work ahead to get us to that point, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
For Whitmer, the appointment puts her back in public office after she was term-limited from the Senate at the of 2014 following 14 years in the Legislature. She spent the last four years of her tenure as minority leader.
Whitmer has not ruled out running for governor or attorney general in 2018.
Four Democrats and two Republicans have filed to run for Ingham County prosecutor in the Aug. 2 primary.
Dunnings, 63, has been off the job since he was arrested March 14 and charged with 15 criminal counts for allegedly having sex with hundreds of prostitutes between 2010 and 2015.
The most severe charge Dunnings faces is a felony for pandering for allegedly convincing one woman to become a prostitute. That charge carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
Dunnings, a Democrat, is paid $132,075 annually and will collect more than $33,000 over the three-month medical leave period he intends to take.
Because he is a countywide elected official, Dunnings is free to take as much paid time off as he wants, Ingham County Commission Chairwoman Kara Hope told The Detroit News in March.