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!