Daily Archives: January 10, 2015

Supervisor Gonser knew about Gas Pipeline proposal but refused to inform the Park Commission

Supervisor Gonser knew about a proposed gas pipeline through Oakand Township more than a month before the Parks and Recreation Commission was informed that the pipeline was proposed to go through one of our Parks.  Gonser chose not to inform the Parks Commission about this project.  He later approved the survey work on the park land even though he knew the Parks Commission had not approved the request.  

As reported previously on this website, Vector Pipeline, a representative of DTE, met with the Oakland Township Parks and Recreation Commission on November 12, 2014 to request approval from the Parks Commission to proceed with a survey through Draper Twin Lakes Park to potentially install a 42 inch diameter gas line.  This proposed path is an optional path Vector Pipeline wanted to consider rather than using an existing right of way adjacent to the Park property.  There was no good reason given for why Vector Pipeline preferred to use the parkland.  This line would traverse our entire Township.  The Parks Commission did not grant approval to proceed with the survey work.  However, a few days after the meeting, a survey company was seen surveying the parkland.  Upon investigation, it was discovered that Supervisor Gonser had given approval to survey the land without the Parks Commission’s knowledge or approval.

Information obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) indicates that Supervisor Gonser met with DTE, knew about the proposal, had a map of the proposed path, and sent a letter to the Board members informing them of project more than a month (October 2 and 3) before the Parks Commission meeting.  Supervisor Gonser apparently did not feel it necessary to inform the Parks Commission since they were not included on his email.

Gonser’s letter also included a draft letter that Vector Pipeline planned to send to all affected landowners prior to doing any surveying.  The Parks Commission never received a copy of the letter.  Gonser must have felt that since he had seen the letter, he felt it acceptable to approve the survey request even though he knew the Parks Commission had not approved it.

A discussion of Gonser’s actions on this issue is on the agenda for the January 13 BOT meeting.  Please come to the meeting or watch the discussion on your computer or TV.

Here are the documents obtained through the FOIA process:

Gonser’s prior knowledge of pipeline project

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  The Township Board, and particularly Supervisor Gonser, has had a number of confrontations with the Parks and Recreation Commission.  Some of these confrontations have escalated to formal legal proceedings.  Gonser’s obvious “in your face” decision to approve the survey work without having shared his prior knowledge of the project is yet another one of his ‘attacks’ on the Parks Commission.  He approved the request without having valid reasons given for why the existing right of ways could not be used.  His underhanded withholding of information from the Parks Commission is yet another example of his leadership style and ethics.

He claims to spend 50 to 60 hours per week on Township work, yet he could not take 30 seconds and include the Parks Commission on distribution on his October 3, 2014 email?

RIchard Michalski

Supervisor Gonser Plots a Vote to Grant Supervisor Strong Supervisor Powers

Supervisor Terry Gonser has put an item on the Jan 13 Board of Trustees meeting agenda that calls for an expensive special election to be held in May 2015 simply to ask voters to grant the elected Supervisor position the powers and duties of a strong supervisor for Oakland Township.  The current Board of Trustees, elected in 2012, who, early on, supported Terry Gonser’s leadership have, more recently, repeatedly rebuffed his attempts to assume the duties now assigned to the Township’s professional full-time manager.  Gonser’s current responsibilities are limited to:

  • chairing the Board of Trustee meetings;
  • signing some documents that legally require the signature of the elected Supervisor
  • some ceremonial roles in community events.

Under our current Township Structure the hired Professional Township Manager (or Superintendent) has full authority to manage the day to day operation of the Township within the guidelines established by the entire Board.

Gonser, despite the legal limitations of his elected position, has professed to spending 50-60 hours/week doing his “job”  at the Township Hall interfering in the business and work of professional staff and management.  Oakland Township, under Gonser has experienced unprecedented turnover of personnel, lawsuits and legal expenses.  His penchant for taking unilateral actions without authorization by the Board has been well documented on this site.  These, among other problems, are why his formerly loyal Board of Trustees have voted against allowing him to take on any additional responsibilities.

Here are some of our previous posts about Gonser’s multiple attempts to officially expand his power:

Supervisor Gonser and Trustee Thalmann attempt (once again) to have a “Strong Supervisor” structure in Oakland Township – October 2014

Trustees reject Supervisor Gonser’s desire to become a “Strong Supervisor” – November 2013

Can we trust Supervisor Gonser with more authority? – November 2013

There are many recent examples of Gonser’s actions that are reasons for the Oakland Township Board not approving Gonser’s request.  Those actions can be read by scrolling through the many previous posts in the “Supervisor Gonser” category on the right side of this web page.

The best reason for not centralizing all that authority in one elected official was summarized by one citizen’s comments:

“There would be great difficulty dismissing a ‘rogue’ supervisor!”

Please come to the January 13th Board of Trustees meeting and voice your opinion about whether Oakland Township should change its governmental structure and stop being managed by a professional full-time Superintendent.

Jim Foulkrod