Can we trust Supervisor Gonser with more authority?

 The Oakland Township Board meeting scheduled for Wednesday, November 20th has an agenda item where the Board will continue their discussion regarding the responsibilities of the  Supervisor and/or Superintendent/Manager.  This discussion is very important to the Township, since their decision will have a significant impact on how our Township is governed and managed in the future.  The discussion centers around whether Supervisor Gonser should permanently assume more of the responsibilities for managing our Township that he has temporarily assumed since our former Superintendent is no longer employed by Oakland Township.  

The Open Meeting is scheduled to start at 7:30 PM.  Citizen participation may influence the Board’s decision on this critical matter.  Please attend and provide your input if you can.

Here is some background information on this matter:

  • Our Township has been managed for the past 15 years with an elected Supervisor and a hired Superintendent.
  • The day to day management of the Township Office has been performed by the Superintendent.
  • The responsibilities of the Superintendent are defined by Ordinance #97 which was adopted on 2-26-2002.
  • A copy of the Ordinance 97 is shown here:   Ordinance 97
  • Earlier this year, the Board hired a firm to find an individual to replace Jim Creech, who had been the Superintendent for the Township since 1998.
  • In October of this year Jim Creech signed a separation agreement with the Township, and is no longer employed by the Township.
  • The Board has recently suggested that the responsibilities that the Superintendent had (under Ordinance #97) be reviewed to determine if the elected Supervisor should assume more of those responsibilities.
  • If the Supervisor assumes some of those responsibilities, the Superintendent position would be eliminated, and a Manager position would be established to assume the remaining responsibilities.
  • The Township has received resumes from individuals interested in the Superintendent position.
  • The Board will be reviewing the resumes during the 5:00 PM Closed Session Meeting on November 20 (prior to the 7:30  PM Open Session).
  • Since the responsibilities of the position were posted based on Ordinance #97, the applicants may not be interested in the position if the responsibilities are significantly reduced by the Board.

Why is this important to the Citizens of Oakland Township?  Having a full time Superintendent provides stability to the community.  The elected officials can come and go with every election. Having a good long-term Superintendent prevents a disruption of critical services when a Board change occurs.

During Supervisor Gonser’s 12 months in office, he has demonstrated an authoritarian style that one citizen had characterized as “dictatorial”.  Here are several examples of Gonser’s authoritarian or ‘dictatorial”  behavior (with links to previous posts on this website):

–  His definition of transparency ( letter was obtained through FOIA request.)

“While I am for transparency, there are policy decisions and strategies that must not be shared until after they have come to fruition. —-  I think we have to be careful as to what we circulate in emails.  Phone calls may be in order.”  –  Terry Gonser to Treasurer Langlois – April 6, 2013

Supervisor Gonser’s definition of transparency in government

– His decision to vote on an issue for which he personally benefited.

Supervisor Gonser’s conflict of interest vote

– His decision to proceed to obtain an Attorney General Opinion on a matter the Board had previously rescinded.  He made statement that he sent a letter “as an individual”, when he actually sent the letter 8 DAYS LATER – attempting to “cover his tracks”!  

Supervisor Gonser’s request for Attorney General opinion

– His decision to take over the Land Preservation Fund from the Parks Commission without Board approval.

 Gonser takes over Land Preservation fund without Board approval

– His participation in an alleged Open Meetings Act violation regarding the Paint Creek Cider Mill Concessionaire’s agreement that is being investigated by the Oakland County Sheriff’s Dept.

Gonser’s role in open Meetings Act violation?

– His belief in a UN conspiracy theory called “Agenda 21”, and his unwillingness to explain his position on this position in public.

Gonser’s belief in a United Nation’s Conspiracy

– His decision to request, as Township Supervisor, legislative changes in Lansing regarding “Agenda 21” items without support from the Board.

Gonser requests legislative change without Board approval

– His decision to propose a trail near the Paint Creek Cider Mill that had significant grade issues prior to any engineering assessment.

Gonser’s trail commitment to Road Commission without any background study on feasibility or Board approval

– His decision to replace several Board/ Commission members without telling the previous Board/ Commission members their terms were up or asking them if they were interested in reappointment.

Gonser hears from former Zoning Board of appeals members

– His decision to authorize work being done on a Park Parcel without any agreement from the Parks and Recreation Commission.

Gonser’s abuse of power by authorizing work on Parkland without Park and Recreation Commission approval

– His method of attacking Trustee Keyes, who had repeatedly challenged Gonser on several of the issues described above.

Gonser’s attacks Trustee Keyes for doing her job

– His abuse of ‘power’ in how Jim Creech’s employment was terminated.

Gonser makes announcement without Board authorization

These actions demonstrate a leadership style that Oakland Township cannot afford to formalize by giving him more authority.  With more authority, he will be making more decisions “behind the scenes” with little or no citizen or consultant input. Please attend the November 20 meeting to provide your input, as well as any future meeting with this agenda topic.

Richard Michalski

5 thoughts on “Can we trust Supervisor Gonser with more authority?

  1. Pingback: Trustee’s reject Supervisor Gonser’s desire to become a “Strong Supervisor” | Oakland Township Watchers

  2. Pingback: Supervisor Gonser and Trustee Thalmann attempt (once again) to have a “Strong Supervisor” structure in Oakland Township | Oakland Township Watchers

  3. Pingback: Supervisor Gonser thinks Oakland Township’s form of government is “bizarre” and unworkable | Oakland Township Watchers

  4. Pingback: Supervisor Gonser Plots a Vote to Grant Him Strong Supervisor Powers | Oakland Township Watchers

  5. Pingback: Oakland Township loses another Township Manager – What or who is ‘root cause’ for turnover? | Oakland Township Watchers

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