Monthly Archives: July 2014

Gonser, moving trees, shows his ability to plan and execute… Deja oops!

On July 9th Gonser agreed in court to remove trees he had planted on his neighbor’s property a number of years ago.  This was part of a settlement agreement when his neighbor requested a Personal Protection Order (PPO) against him. Read that story here. According to the neighbor, Gonser had selected the tree locations and dug the planting holes himself and he was aware that there were underground utilities in the area.

On July 23rd, a crew hired by Gonser moved the trees and a Consumers Power gas line was broken creating an emergency situation and requiring a crew with heavy equipment to come out to repair the line.

Consumers Power Repair crew at Gonsers

We all make mistakes, right?  Who among us has not planted fast growing maple trees on our neighbors’ property on top of a gas line?

This reminds me of his “Good News Trail” plan that I wrote about a year ago.  He unilaterally announced that the township would construct a trail north of Flagstar Bank on township property bordering Flagstar property and the Paint Creek.  A trail on this property was not remotely feasible.  It slopes 45 degrees.  It is in a protected stream bank and would require an impossible DNR approval.   I thought, at the time, that Gonser had only looked at the property on a map and had never visited the site.  Seeing now how he approached his tree planting project, I think maybe he had actually looked at the Flagstar property, saw some flat land where he could build a trail and assumed it was his to do with as he wanted.  Does his imperial mind just work that way?

Jim Foulkrod

Township “administration” authorizes paying for luncheon tickets – against wishes of several Board members

At the July 8th Board meeting, it became known that the Township ‘administration’ made a decision to have the Township purchase 6 tickets to a luncheon that was to honor Supervisor Gonser for completing a program with the Chamber of Commerce.  This decision violated a previous Township practice and “The Principles of Township Governance” that was approved in June of 2013.  The decision was made even after concerns for purchasing these tickets were raised by several Board members. 

At the June 10, 2014 Township Board meeting, Treasurer Langlois requested that a bill not be paid, since she thought it inappropriate for the Township to pay it.  The bill was for $150 to cover 6 people attending a Rochester Chamber of Commerce recognition luncheon for completing some program.  One of the honorees was Supervisor Gonser.

After the June 10th meeting, Treasurer Langlois discovered that the bill had been paid prior to the meeting. This payment not only violated the policy of not paying bills without Board approval (other than those that have defined payment dates such as utility bills), but the Township practice for participants to pay for their own tickets to such events, and the “Principles of Township Governance”.

Treasurer Langlois indicated that when she received an email indicating that tickets would be purchased by the Township, she questioned the appropriateness of doing so.  Trustee Buxar responded in a similar manner.

Treasurer Langlois indicated that “the administration” had approved paying for 6 tickets, even though it had been against previous Township practices.  Several Board members and staff members attended the banquet thinking that they would not have to pay for the tickets.

Incredibly, Clerk Reilly said that when she was initially approached on attending the luncheon, she indicated she would not attend if she had to pay.  When she found out that the Township WOULD PAY for the tickets, she decided to attend.  As the Township Clerk, she also approved the payment of the $150 bill prior to the June 10th Board meeting, violating the approved payment policy.  She indicated that she had not repaid the Township, and did not offer to do so.

Supervisor Gonser indicated that two “attendees” had repaid the Township for the tickets, but did not disclose who attended or paid the Township back.  He indicated that the expense to the Township was only” $100″, and “it was not the end of the world!”.

Gonser went on to say that this incident was due to a “misunderstanding and a lack of a policy”, even though several Board members indicated that this was against the previous practice of the Township.

The Board ultimately approved the payment by a 5 to 2 vote.  Treasurer Langlois and Trustee Buxar were the dissenting votes.

Here are portions of the July 8th Board meeting where this was discussed:

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  This is yet another example of Supervisor Gonser’s leadership style. The ‘administration’ of our Township consists of Supervisor Gonser, Treasurer Langlois, Clerk Reilly and township manager Ann Capela.  The Treasurer indicated that she did not support the decision. The Clerk indicated she did not make the decision. In a phone call with our Township manager, Ann Capela indicated that Gonser had made the request and she approved it since she thought it was appropriate.  Gonser made this request in spite of the feedback given by Treasurer Langlois and the past Township practice.  Gonser did not have the courage to acknowledge his actions in public.  Gonser’s actions, as well as Clerk Reilly’s, violate the “Principles of Township Governance Policy” approved in June of 2013. We now know why, even though they voted to approve the policy in June of 2013, they refused to sign it!

Principles of Township Governance Excellence document

Richard Michalski

Board refuses to sign “Principles of Township Governance Excellence” Pledge

“State of Township” or “Self aggrandizement”?  You decide!

Supervisor Gonser expected Township Board to ‘blindly accept’ his proposed appointment to Planning Commission

Supervisor Gonser has had three months to nominate a person to fill a vacancy on the Planning Commission.  At the July 8th Board meeting, he nominated a person without an application, without a resume or without the nominee being present.  Gonser still wanted the Board to approve his recommendation with only HIS verbal description of the individual’s qualifications.  He then appears to blame the Board for having a vacancy on the Planning Commission for another month. 

Several months ago, John Giannangeli was appointed as a Trustee replacing former Trustee Sharon McKay.  The Township Board then appointed Trustee John Giannangeli to be the Board’s representative on the Planning Commission, replacing Jeanne Langlois.  Since John Giannangeli was already a member of the Planning Commission, this created an open position on the Planning Commission.  The position has been open since May.  Supervisor Gonser has had 3 months to nominate a replacement candidate for the Board to consider.

At the July 8th Board meeting, Supervisor Gonser finally recommended an individual.  However, Gonser indicated that the individual had not provided a resume with his qualifications.  In addition, Gonser indicated that the individual was out of town.  He then proceeded to ask for a motion to approve the individual for the position.

Fortunately, the Board unanimously decided to table the appointment for one month.  Gonser then commented that tabling the appointment would result in another month that the Planning Commission would only have 6 members.  He apparently tried to blame the Board for a delay, even though he had 3 months to suggest an appointment.  He clearly expected the Board to ‘blindly’ accept his recommendation.

Several citizens were outraged by Gonser’s approach to filling this critical position.  One citizen had previously suggested a transparent thoughtful process for filling Planning Commission openings.  His comments were previously reported on this website, and can be viewed by clicking on the link at the end of this post.

This same citizen made the following comments at the July 8th meeting:

“At a prior meeting, I made a number of suggestions about an organized approach to appointing somebody to the Planning Commission because the importance of the job warrants it to the Township.  Instead of that, we get a nomination with no resume, no application, and the Board is expected, or asked to approve it!

We are trying to be thoughtful citizens and recommend good approaches, and yet this kind of thing happens! It’s disappointing!  I am sorry I have to stand here and say that!”

Here is a video of this portion of the July 8th Board meeting:

 

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  This is yet another example of Supervisor Gonser’s definition of the ‘transparency’ he promised the citizens of Oakland Township!  He fully expected the Board to ‘rubber stamp’ his recommendation without ANY information on the individual.  Fortunately, some on the Board may be beginning to realize the arrogance and despotic nature of our Supervisor.  The citizens of Oakland Township need to continue to monitor Supervisor Gonser’s actions, and demand that the other Board members fulfill their responsibilities to ensure Gonser does not exceed his statutory authority.

Will Oakland Township use a transparent Planning Commission selection process?

Richard Michalski

What is Supervisor Gonser afraid of discussing with fellow Board members in closed session?

At the July 8, 2014 Board of Oakland Township meeting, a motion was made by Treasurer Langlois to add a closed session agenda item for the purpose of “reviewing a written legal opinion”.  This motion was supported by Trustee Bailey.  It then went to a vote.  The motion passed 6 to 1.  The only person that did not want to review the legal opinion in closed session was Supervisor Gonser.  We may never know what the topic was, but it clearly contained something that Supervisor did not want to have discussed.

Here is a video of that motion:

 

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  Supervisor Gonser appears to fear having something discussed among the Board members.  His promise of transparency is being violated not only with the citizens of Oakland Township, but with his fellow Board members.

Richard Michalski

 

Unofficial Results of Personal Protection Order hearing against Supervisor Gonser

On July 9, 2014  there was a hearing in Judge Lisa Gorcyca’s Circuit Court to hear arguments that could support a Personal Protection Order (PPO) being filed against Oakland Township Supervisor Gonser.  Here is the unofficial outcome of the hearing:

  • The Personal Protection order was withdrawn by the applicant.
  • An agreement was made between Gonser and the applicant that was mutually satisfactory to both of them.
  • The terms of the agreement include:

– Terry Gonser was to remove the 2 maple trees (that he planted on the applicant’s property), within 3 weeks, at his expense.

– The applicant was to install a split rail fence on the last surveyed property line by Urban Land Consultants at applicant’s expense.

– The parties would agree that the Urban Land Consultants’ survey line is the true property line.

– Gonser agreed to not trespass on the applicant’s property.

Comment made by Judge Gorcyca at the hearing:

“This is primarily a property dispute.”

Comments directed to Terry Gonser:

“Be nice! She wants nothing to do with you.”

The official results of the hearing will be available to the public since the applicant requested that the results be part of the public record.

The above information was documented while attending the hearing.

Richard Michalski and Jim Foulkrod

Citizen requests Circuit Court hearing for Personal Protection Order (PPO) against Supervisor Terry Gonser

Oakland County records reflect there is a hearing scheduled for July 9, 2014 in Oakland County Circuit Court to hear arguments that could support a Personal Protection Order (PPO) being filed against Oakland Township Supervisor Gonser.  The applicant is a neighbor of Supervisor Terry Gonser.  The request was filed on June 25, 2014.  Judge Lisa Gorcyca’s initial decision was to not issue an immediate PPO but informed the neighbor that she could file a request for a formal hearing.  A request was made, and the hearing is on Judge Lisa Gorcyca’s docket for July 9, 2014.

 

Will Oakland Township use a transparent Planning Commission selection process?

Oakland Township’s Planning Commission plays a vital role in defining the future character of our Township.  The commission members are appointed for three year terms by the Board.  The Supervisor has responsibility for nominating the individuals for the commission.  One of our citizens offered some recommendations on how to ensure the nomination process is transparent and in compliance with the criteria for selecting commission members.  Will the Supervisor use any of these recommendations, or will he continue to recommend contributors to his campaign as he has done for his past two appointments?  Will the Board exercise their right to fully ‘vet’ the candidate in public?  Your input to the Township Board may make a difference!  The next Board meeting is July 8th.

Oakland Township’s Planning Commission is a very important appointed group of individuals that define the direction that the Township will take in the future.  One of the key responsibilities of this group is to ensure proposed  developments, that property owners bring forward to the Township, are in compliance with the Township’s Master Plan and Zoning Ordinance.  Another responsibility of the Commission is to review and revise the Township’s Master Plan every few years to ensure that it is consistent with the current thinking of the residents of the Township.

The seven Planning Commission members are appointed by the Township Board at the recommendation of the Township Supervisor.  The Board must approve the individuals that are appointed to the Board.  These appointments are for three years.  The appointments are staggered.  In addition, there may be openings that occur if a commissioner quits.

There has been one opening for several months where the Supervisor has not brought forward a candidate for the Board to consider.  The Board will also have to consider the two appointments that are ‘coming up’ this fall.

One of our residents, who has been involved in Human Resource Management in his career, made several recommendations on how the candidate review process should work.  He stated that there are statutory criteria that the Board is to use when considering candidates for the positions.  These criteria are:

  • The Commission is to be representative of the entire Township’s geography.
  • The Commission is to have diversity that includes various segments and interests in the Township.

His recommendations include:

  1. The current chair of the Planning Commission should develop and present to the Board a brief synopsis of the current membership and how they fit the criteria.
  2. The Board should start the process of soliciting possible candidates as soon as possible to increase the potential candidate pool.
  3. Full consideration should be given to commission members whose term is expiring, if they are interested, to ensure that a high level of experience is retained on the commission.
  4. There should be a full review of the candidates in a public forum where the individuals could be asked questions by the entire Board members.

He stated his recommendations were aimed at:

  • Providing a level of transparency in the selection process.
  • Recognizing the requirements of the ordinance with regard to the appointments.
  • Sustaining a Commission that plays a vital roll in our Township.

Here is video of Reg Brown’s recommendation:

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township? The Planning Commission plays a very important role in defining the future of our Township.  These positions must be filled with people with the diverse perspectives in our Township, and should not be filled with individuals that only satisfy the Supervisor’s views on issues and are his political contributors.  The suggestions provide a framework for the ENTIRE Board to play a vital role in the appointment process in a transparent manner.

Any individuals interested in being considered for the Planning Commission should contact the Township Hall and fill out an application.

Richard Michalski – Former Planning Commission member (and chair) for over 26 years