On November 11, 2014 the Oakland Press posted an article that reported on the current employment status of Oakland Township’s former manager, Ann Capela. As reported previously, she agreed to terminate her employment as Oakland Township’s manager on September 29, 2014. In the Oakland Press article, Supervisor Gonser indicated that he agreed with the former manager’s assessment that the political structure in Oakland Township is ‘unworkable’. Gonser went on to say that it is a ‘bizarre’ form of government.
At the November 11, 2014 Oakland Township Board meeting, the Board voted to authorize a consulting firm to initiate a Township Manager search to replace Ann Capela. The motion was approved in a 6 to 1 vote. Supervisor Gonser was the sole dissenting vote.
Here are some of the highlights of the Oakland Press article:
- Ann Capela, our former manager, was hired by the city of Bethel, Alaska.
- Regarding her September 29th agreement to terminate her contract as Oakland Township Manager, Capela stated:
“(Oakland Township has) a challenging political structure that soon became unworkable.”
- The article states that Terry Gonser, the current Township Supervisor, agreed with her assessment.
- He went on to say:
“We have a bizarre, unique form of government.”
- Commenting on Ann Capela’s new assignment, he stated:
“She won’t be subjected to so much micromanagement.”
“She won’t be pulled in different directions.”
- Trustee Thalmann, who voted to retain Capela, also supported the Supervisor’s opinion regarding the Township’s form of governance.
Here is a link to the Oakland Press article:
Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township? Oakland Township has had the current structure since the early 1990’s. There were no issues raised under the previous three Supervisors (Buser-Hoffman-Fogler) with the current form of government.
Supervisor Gonser, as well as Trustee Thalmann, continue to want to change the structure to one with a “Strong Supervisor”. There have been several previous articles posted on this website regarding Gonser’s attempt to change the Township structure. Here are those articles:
Gonser and Thalmann have recently been in the ‘minority position’ on a number of Board decisions. This could be a contributing reason for their desire to have Gonser become a ‘Strong Supervisor’. He would then be able to make Township operational decisions without the consent of the entire Board.
The current political structure allows a trained professional Manager or Superintendent to manage the Township with direction from the Board. Having the operational decisions made by an untrained political elected official would not only dilute the authority of the Board, but would result in chaos and confusion in our Township after each Board election. It would highly politicize the day to day operation of our Township.
Supervisor Gonser has indicated that he spends 50 hours per week on Township business. His position is suppose to be a part time position. His presence at the Township Hall most likely caused the micromanagement that Capela complained about. The Treasurer and Clerk probably had to spend additional time at the Township Hall making sure Gonser did not give direction on items impacting their departments – probably contributing to Capela being pulled in different directions.
Fortunately, the current Board has consistently objected to changing the political structure of our Township. I hope that continues! Their decision to approve the search for a replacement for Ann Capela is a good start.