Daily Archives: September 15, 2014

Trustee Thalmann implies Clerk’s office is ‘politicized’ – her solution WOULD make that true!

The September 9th Oakland Township Board meeting had an agenda item “Oakland Township Staffing Allocation and Organizational Chart”.  The agenda item has been delayed to a future meeting.  Trustee Thalmann gave her reason for delaying the discussion in light of the recent announcement that the Township’s Deputy Clerk was retiring.  Thalmann’s solution would further politicize our Township.

At the September 9th meeting, it was announced that our Deputy Clerk was planning on retiring.  Trustee Thalmann commented that since she was retiring, she thought the agenda item to discuss the Township’s organizational structure should be deferred to a later meeting.  Her stated reason for deferring the discussion was:

“I think the recent notification of the retirement opens us up a bit to looking at the actual deputy position.  Do we need to have that as a full time position it is?  Or can it be, as it is in the statute, someone who is not a full time Township employee, but is a political appointment. And then the person handling, more of the day to day activities of the Township itself is not an employee who could possibly be a victim of political vagaries – that you would have a continuum of someone experienced and professional in that position.”

Note:   Dictionary definition of vagary – ” An erratic, unpredictable or extravagent manifestation, action or notion”

Thalmann’s statement implies the following:

  • Thalmann thinks that the Clerk’s office has been involved in political vagaries or that it is vulnerable to political vagaries.
  • Thalmann thinks that an individual that is a ‘political appointment’ is LESS likely to be influenced by political vagaries.
  • Thalmann thinks that having a part time appointed person will provide a continuum of someone experienced and professional.

Her rationale is totally without merit.

  • There is no evidence that the Clerk’s office has been influenced by politics.  Is it possible that some of the EXPERIENCED staff expressed objections to the direction they were given by the INEXPERIENCED elected officials, and Thalmann and Gonser now want someone on staff that will ‘tow the line’? 
  • A ‘political appointment’ by definition IS a POLITICAL APPOINTMENT
  • A part time appointed person can never provide a continuum of experience, especially since the Clerk’s position can change every 4 years (along with the politically appointed Deputy Clerk) in the election cycle.

As you may recall, Clerk Reilly refused to participate in a State sponsored training session for Township Clerks.  Reilly sent her staff since she did not feel the need to understand the details of running the Clerk’s office.  How would a part time, politically appointed Deputy Clerk provide the ‘continuum of experience’ Thalmann is referencing?  On the contrary, it would ADD an “erratic unpredictable action” (i.e. vagary) into the operation of our Township!

Here is a video of Thalmann’s comments:

Here is video of  Clerk Reilly’s refusal to attend Clerk Training:

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  Oakland Township has been politicized more under the current administration than ever before.  The logic and strategies that Thalmann believe would de-politicize the Township are totally counterintuitive and would make the situation worse.

The Township staff, boards and commission members are being purged, and are being replaced with people that Gonser and the Board see as helping them move the Township in a ‘new direction’.  Are the citizens of Oakland Township ready to embark on a path that has yet to be clarified?

2016 cannot come soon enough for many of us in Oakland Township.

Richard Michalski