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

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

  1. disappointedresident

    After this gross display and incredible bad judgement, I doubt she would get the second highest votes any longer. I had such high hopes too. Too bad.

  2. longtimeresident

    Anne Marie’s comments, as well as Beth and John Markel’s, appear to be libellous. The accusations do not sound like they are violations of the Open Meetings Act. What is motivating them to do this? Are they trying to make up issues to take the visibility off the Township Board who clearly appear to have violated our trust? The information posted on this website seem to indicate Anne Marie is working on the “wrong end of the horse”. Our Township Parks are the envy of many communities due to the hard work of Mindy and the previous Commission members. Watching the last Park’s Commission meeting leads me to believe that Anne Marie has no clue on what it takes to get citizen involvement on Parks Projects. Her subcommittee appeared to have ticked off many of the residents.

    1. disappointedresident

      I agree. It is beyond comprehension. This so called “citizens” task force had a key member DEMAND to break ground in the spring for this dog park and later in the meeting, another key member of this “citizens” task force admitted that in fact, NO, citizens surrounding the immediate are of this Twp. owned park property had even been contacted yet to get their input! I suggest that they need to run for office and get the support of the electorate before making such demands on our elected officials. I felt so bad for the farmers too! They too were not even considered and I think this “citizens” task force was surprised that they showed up to defend their livelihood. The farmers made much better points with their straight forward approach than these so called and self proclaimed “citizens experts.” Give me a good ole farmer any day. This is why I and many of us moved out here. Open spaces and agricultural fields. I can walk my dog on one of our many trails. Leave our farmers alone!

  3. Diane Bennett

    Park Commissioners have attended other board meetings for years to observe and comment on events concerning the parks. Long before we had video streaming of township meetings this was pretty standard for commissioners. As elected officials and as residents it was also a good excuse to see and learn about other township business. There was never a “secret agenda” only good citizenship. I know this as I was once a park commissioner.

  4. Pingback: Do Ann Marie Rogers, Roger Schmidt and Beth Markel, and their ‘slate’, deserve your votes for Parks Commissioners? | Oakland Township Watchers

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