At the June 10, 2014 Oakland Township Board meeting, there was a proposal to revise the “Rules of Order” that the Board had recently approved. There were three proposed changes. One of them would have eliminated the opportunity for citizens to speak a second time on ‘subjects not on the agenda’. Trustee Thalmann made the motion to make the change. It was seconded by recently appointed Trustee, John Giannangeli. Treasurer Langlois also indicated that she supported the change. After discussion and input from several citizens, including one who thought this change was aimed at ‘silencing the opposition’, the motion was voted upon. Trustee Thalmann was the only Board member who supported restricting citizen input.
As reported previously on this website, at the May 13, 2014 Board meeting, Supervisor Gonser did not allow former Trustee, Mrs. Judy Keyes, to make a comment during the second ‘citizen comment’ portion of the Board meeting. His action violated the ‘Rules of Order’ that he, and the Board, had agreed upon earlier this year. His reasoning was that other communities do not allow citizens to make comments twice during their Board meetings.
The following video includes portions of the June 10th Board meeting that dealt with this issue. It includes comments from a citizen that has historically been a very strong supporter of Supervisor Gonser and the Board. He very eloquently states the reasons why he does not support the proposed change. His comments clearly had an impact on the Treasurer Langlois, John Giannangeli and Supervisor Gonser. However, Trustee Thalmann still felt it acceptable to minimize the amount of time she was willing to spend on listening to the voice of the people she represents, effectively ‘silencing the voice of the opposition’.
Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township? The citizens of Oakland Township deserve elected officials that are willing to listen to their concerns. Trustee Thalmann, by her vote, clearly is not willing to do so.