Monthly Archives: December 2013

Meet our new Superintendent – Ann Capela

Meet our new Township Superintendent!

On December 7th there was a special Board of Oakland Township meeting.  The purpose of that meeting was to interview six candidates for the Township Superintendent position.  The total number of individuals that responded to the posted position was over 30.  Based on comments made by the recruiting consultant and Supervisor Gonser, the Board had selected the final 6 candidates in a prior Closed Session meeting.

The interview process lasted all day.  It was a very comprehensive process that the recruiting consultant, Jerry Richards from Voorhees Associates, used with the Board members.  There were a series of 26 questions that the Board asked each of the candidates.  After the interview process, the Board reduced the number of final candidates to two.  After several minutes of discussion by the Board, they voted to extend an offer to Ann K. Capela.

Here is a brief summary of her Professional working experience in reverse chronological order:

July 9, 2012 to current – Wayne State University Office of International Students and Scholars

October 2011 to July 2012 – Vice President for outreach, GovServe LLC

December 2008 to September 2011 – City Manager, City of Inkster, Michigan

September 2007 to September 2008 – Transit and Parking Manager of CIty of Durango, Colorado

March 2004 to June 2007 – Town Manager of Minturn, Colorado

November 2000 to April 2003 – County Executive Officer for Imperial County, California

January 1998 to November 13, 2000 – County Administrative Coordinator for Walworth County, Wisconsin

September 1995 to January 1998 –  County Administrative Coordinator for Livingston County, Illinois

1994 – Wayne County Commissioner Constituency Assistant1993 – Detroit Edison internships in the corporate Governmental Affairs Department

1993 – City of Southfield internship in Human Resources Department

1992 – Wayne State University, assistant to faculty

April 1979-May 1992 – General Motors of Canada Production and Quality Control

Ann has a B.A. degree in Political Science from the University of Windsor, and a M.P. A. (Masters in Public Administration) degree from Wayne State University.

Here is a copy of her complete resume:  Ann Capela resume

The interview process began by giving each candidate an opportunity to tell the Board more about their previous experiences, and why they were interested in the position of Superintendent of Oakland Township.

Here is a video of that portion of the interview. It will give you an opportunity to learn more about her:

If you want to watch the entire interview of Ann, please go to the Township website.  It is located under the Special meeting category.  It is at the beginning of the first video in that category.

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  The Superintendent is the individual that leads and manages the day to day operation of the Township.  She will be the person that most citizens will likely encounter when they come to the Township Office.

I wish Ann and the Township well as she works through the many issues facing our Township.

Richard Michalski

PRC Commissioner Rogers accuses a “cabal” of Open Meeting Act violations

Early in December Parks Commissioner Anne Marie Rogers forced Parks Director Mindy Milos-Dale to allow her to log on to the Director’s computer and read and copy her emails..

At the Dec. 11 2013 Parks and Recreation Commission meeting Commissioner Rogers  accused Commission members Mackley, Peruzzi, Tomboulian and Barkham of being a “cabal of four people who work in secret to develop policies”.    She also claimed that Parks and Recreation Director Mindy Milos-Dale illegally directs this quorum. In her 6 minute presentation (see below) she alleged that the following examples of the Directors  emails indicated Open Meeting Act Violations:

  1. “in one instance Ms. Milos Dale asks the four offending Commissioners which of them will be attending a Planning Commission meeting”
  2. “in another they discuss parks rezoning”
  3. “in another they are prepping for a BOT meeting”
  4. “in another the cider mill vendor is discussed”
  5. “it appears these members script for one another ideas and statements to be made at PRC meetings as well as Board of Trustee meetings and Planning Commission meetings”

Webster’s defines “cabal” as “a small group of secret plotters, as against a government or person in authority.”

The Open Meetings Act requires that:

  1.  All decisions of a public body shall be made at a meeting open to the public.
  2. All deliberations of a public body constituting a quorum of its members shall take place at a meeting open to the public except as provided in this section and sections 7 and 8. (note: Sections 7 & 8 do not apply to the PRC.)
  3. Also, The act defines a decision as a determination, action or disposition… on which a vote by members of a public body is required and by which a public body effectuates or formulates public policy.

Let’s take a layman’s look at each of Rogers’ accusations with the OMA language in mind:

  1. The OMA does not forbid the planning of attendance at meetings.  It is  a good idea for the Director to help the Commissioners avoid having a quorum at a meeting of another body where PRC matters would be discussed.
  2. The PRC had decided that it wanted the 7 park properties rezoned and had applied to the Board of Trustees for a decision.  The PRC was working through the process of obtaining an approval.  There was nothing to deliberate or decide except how to get it done by making appeals and presentations to the Board.  There was no formulation of public policy.
  3. The PRC’s business before the Board of Trustees was about three topics: 1. the rezoning (see above); 2. the site plan for the Orion Rd. Parking Lot; 3. the Supervisor’s spending of Parks funds without authorization.  in each of these The Parks Commission was participating in Board of Trustees deliberations.  They were not deliberating or deciding Parks business.  No vote by the PRC was required for them to discuss these with the Board.
  4. The PRC is a tenant in the Paint Creek Cider Mill building and are subject to the decisions made by their landlord, the Board of Trustees.  The PRC has no authority over any of the other tenants in the building.  Any communication about other tenants could not be deliberations or decisions regarding Parks business.  No vote by the PRC was required.
  5. As discussed above the PRC members’ preparations for presentations and statements at meetings of other public bodies is not deliberation about or decision making of PRC business.

In my layman’s opinion each of these five accusations of Open Meetings Act Violations is false.

If, after a day of searching the Park Director’s emails, this is all she has to offer I think her use of the pejoratives “cabal”, “illegal”, “inappropriately”, “secret”, “unethically”, “devious”, “poisonous”, “unscrupulous” is unwarranted.  It is Commissioner Rogers statements that are inappropriate,  devious, and poisonous.

Jim Foulkrod

A “behind the curtains” view of Oakland Township

A recent recording of a conversation between the Township Clerk and a Trustee gives some insight into how our Township Board continues to operate “behind the curtain” of secrecy.

The Oakland County Sheriff’s Department is investigating whether our Township Board’s recent actions on the Mill Race Project violated the Open Meetings Act.

Details on both of these topics are included in this post.


Prior to the December 10 Oakland Township Board meeting,  a discussion between Clerk Reilly and Trustee McKay was recorded and posted on the Township website. Trustee McKay expresses concern over the lack of content in the Closed Session minutes.  She is familiar with what the previous Board and Township Attorney had approved.  This change in record keeping has been approved by our new Attorney as stated by Clerk Reilly in the video.  Here is the video of that conversation:

This recorded conversation gives some insight into how our new Board operates and gives them the cover of secrecy for behind the scenes decisions.  The following incident supports that statement.  It is currently part of an investigation by the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department into alleged Open Meeting Act violations by our Board.


A recent decision by our Board to move the Engineering work for the Mill Race from Wade Trim to ECT began during discussions that occurred in a September 24th Closed Session. The decision to have Wade Trim share Engineering data and possibly engage ECT on the Mill Race project was not discussed or voted on in public.  The Supervisor gave direction to the Superintendent without official Board approval after the September 24th Closed Session meeting.

The evidence of these assertions occurred at the October 8th Board meeting.  Here is a video of excerpts of the October 8th Board meeting:

In the October 8th meeting:

  • Trustee Keyes points out that she objected to the proceedings that were taking place at the September 24th Closed Session meeting, since they were not what was stated on the posted agenda. September 24, 2013 Special Meeting Notice
  • Trustee Keyes indicates that she refused to sign the minutes of that Special Meeting, because the minutes did not reflect what actually occurred.
  • Trustee Thalmann confirms that a decision had been made to have Wade Trim share data.  She realized later that her statement was a violation of the OMA, and tries to explain how a decision had not been made.

This is yet another example of an Open Meeting Act violation by our Board.  Here are the reasons this action violates the Open Meetings Act:

  • The reasons given for having the meeting on the posted agenda were not the same as the discussion that actually occur in the Closed Sessions. September 24, 2013 Special Meeting Notice
  • There was never a vote in open session to authorize the sharing of the data between Wade Trim and ECT.
  • A decision to have Wade Trim ‘share data” with ECT was not disclosed in the Open Meeting after the Closed Session.

One of the reasons Trustee Keyes resigned a few weeks later was because of the pattern of Board behavior that she saw while “behind the curtain”.

It appears that only through a Court decision that Open Meeting Act violations DID occur will our Board recognize that their behavior is illegal and more than the “baseless” actions as claimed by Trustee Thalmann!

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  The ongoing disregard by the Board to follow the Open Meetings Act requirements places all of us at risk if we are not allowed to participate in the decisions that affect us.  The Open Meeting Act laws were created to protect citizens from unbridled government behavior.

Richard Michalski

Is Oakland Township’s ‘soul’ at risk?

What follows is a letter I have written to the editor of the Oakland Patch.  It is in  response to a number of letters Francis P. Hughes has written and has had published.  I do not know if the editor will publish it, but because of the time sensitivity of an upcoming decision the Township Board must make, I am posting the letter here:

Letter to the Patch Editor,

Hi, my name is Richard Michalski.  I am writing this letter in response to several letters that Francis P. Hughes has written to you calling me (and others) “shills”.  I will refrain from making personal attacks but will ask for greater citizen involvement on a very critical issue facing Oakland Township.

Let me begin by saying that I am a 35 year resident of Oakland Township. I served on the Planning Commission for 26 years until 2008, when at my choosing I retired.  Earlier this year, there was an issue facing the Township that got me ‘re-engaged’ as an ‘active’ citizen.   Over the past several months I have witnessed a number of things that our Supervisor and Board have done that I believe are possibly illegal, but definitely contrary to some of the principles that have guided the Township in the past.

Arguably, the biggest issue facing our Township right now is the upcoming decision by our Board on whether to grant the Blossom Ridge Senior disabled development a “Special Accommodation Use”. The way Oakland Township has handled this development over the past 15 months is currently under review by the HUD and the DOJ for possible housing violations against a protected class of citizens. On December 10 there will be a public hearing on the Special Accommodation Use at the Township hall starting at 7 PM.

A fellow citizen of Oakland Township told me – “The outcome of the Blossom Ridge Special Accommodation Use decision places our Township’s “soul” at risk!”  What the person went on to say is that if Oakland Township does not approve the request, and the DOJ comes in and forces Oakland Township to provide the needed Senior Disabled housing for our residents, Oakland Township will become known as THE exclusionary community in South East Michigan, and possibly all of Michigan.

The developer and the Township have made attempts at a compromise that meets the demands of some of the residents.  On October 8th a revised plan was presented to the Board and the citizens.  The group of citizens present was not satisfied.  Mr. Hughes is part of the group that is opposed to the development.  He is now suggesting that the developer cut the number of units in half again.  He has referred to the development as “a huge Warehouse with cubbyhole sized apartments”. The developer reduced the number of proposed units from 342 to 282, then to 238, and now to 228.  Mr. Hughes suggests the right number is 126. He has no basis for selecting that number.

I would encourage the citizens of Oakland Township to come to the December 10th Board meeting to learn more about the proposed development, the legal implications of the Board’s decision and voice your opinion – one way or the other.  The Township’s “soul” may be at stake!

Richard Michalski

Resident solicits more Citizen involvement in Oakland Township meetings

At the November 20 Board of Oakland Township meeting, Bob Yager, a citizen that has been participating in many of the various Township meetings, made a request for more citizens to become involved in Oakland Township.  Here is a video of his request to the citizens of Oakland Township.

Richard Michalski

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  The greater the participation of citizens in the various Township meetings, the greater the likelihood that that decisions made by the various Boards, Commissions and Committees will reflect the desires of the entire Township.