Were Supervisor Gonser and Trustee Thalmann’s negative votes a violation of their oath of office?

One of the agenda items for the January 13, 2015 Oakland Township Board meeting was a proposal, by Supervisor Gonser, to have Oakland Township go to a ‘Strong Supervisor’ form of government in 2016.  Although he had it on the published agenda, he removed the item at the beginning of the meeting.

During a discussion the Board had regarding Gonser’s unilateral decision to approve the surveying of parkland in Oakland Township for a potential gas main, the ‘Strong Supervisor’ concept came up. The result of those discussions was the ‘one – two’ punch to Gonser previously reported on this website.

Supervisor Gonser and Trustee Thalmann were the only two Board members who voted against reaffirming Ordinance 97, which defines the responsibilities of the Township Manager.  When the Board was sworn into office, they swore to uphold our Ordinances.  

The following video contains excerpts of the discussions that occurred at that meeting. It is about 6 minutes long, but well worth watching if you want to understand the positions of several of our Board members.


Link to January 12, 2015 Oakland Press article

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  Gonser placing the ‘Strong Supervisor’ issue on the agenda, then pulling it off, and his statement in the January 12th Oakland Press article, appear to have been an attempt at sabotaging the Board’s efforts to find a qualified Township Manager.

As you probably know, interviews for our Township manager position occurred on January 24th. Uncertainty regarding the potential longevity of the Township Manager position could reduce the qualified candidate pool.  Fortunately, the Board members, with the exception of Trustee Thalmann, wanted nothing to do with that uncertainty.  Treasurer Langlois, Clerk Reilly, Trustees Buxar and Bailey took very strong positions regarding Gonser’s proposal.  Trustee Giannangeli, who has been a strong supporter of Gonser to this point, made it very clear that he wants Gonser to operate in conformance with Ordinance 97.

Ordinance 97 is the Township Ordinance that defines the responsibilities of our Township Manager.  It is an ordinance that the Board has sworn to uphold.  By their statements, it is clear that the majority of the Board members feel that the Supervisor is not conforming to the Ordinance, hence the resolution to reaffirm the responsibilities of the Manager not the Supervisor.  Gonser and Thalmann voted to not to support the resolution that would reaffirm that Ordinance.

In my mind, Gonser’s many unilateral unauthorized decisions and actions without Board agreement (violating Ordinance 97), and Gonser and Thalmann’s negative vote on that resolution are violations of their oath of office.

If they do not want to conform to, and enforce, the existing Township Ordinances that they have sworn to uphold, they should resign.

Richard Michalski

3 thoughts on “Were Supervisor Gonser and Trustee Thalmann’s negative votes a violation of their oath of office?

  1. disappointedresident

    Well done Mr. Michalski. Both Gonser and Thalmann need to resign. It is CLEAR they have NO regard for the law or what is in the best interests of the residents and our beautiful Township as a whole. It is CLEAR they have their own twisted personal relationship apart from the rest of the board and the VAST majority of the citizens. It is based on deceit, continual lies, fear tactics and an insatiable hunger for supreme and autonomous authority over the day to day operations of the Township to facilitate their own radical ideology that is based in extreme paranoia. It is a devastating detriment to not only the Township as a whole, but to all of the employees and fire fighters as well. THEY MUST RESIGN AS THEY VOTED NOT TO UPHOLD THE LAW!

  2. B. Kiel

    I have a conflicting opinion on this. 1. The current ordinance for a manager of daily operations as clearly set in place some time ago. One would assume if the manager does not do the job well, the board may terminate. The issue is this looks to remove the constituent even further from a voice in the governing of our Township. Since I have no direct knowledge of their decision making process I am limited in my critique of it. I do like that it is a hired position so people with a certain experienced skill set are chosen for operations..certainly better, sadly, then those elected in many instances.2. The push of ‘strong supervisor’ position raises many red flags. First is Why? What is going wrong with the present model? Second, to be honest we have seen all to often those elected are not ‘hired’ for their skill set, but rather the name recognition, how good looking they are, or how well they speak; its like a popularity contest etc. With that in mind, what does the supervisor have in his skill set that exceeds or trumps what the hired manger has? It appears to me to be a power grab, and that alone give me a major concern.That is not what the election was about. In conclusion, our process of hiring via election has been fraught with many ill prepared individuals who now sit in positions of power leaving the electorate to wonder about the decision making process. Sadly Mr. Gonser( who I voted for as he had some good ideas at the time..so I thought) has either deluded the voters, or has succumbed to the power trip elected officials frequently get trapped by. What seems to get lost in this whole debacle is the public MUST still be represented, they must still have a voice, they must be asked and listened too..or all this infighting is all about the board and not whats good for the taxpayers paying them In the end who stand to loose most? The taxpayers. Lets use this pipeline survey as an example. My thoughts is what are they thinking? WHY put it through parkland WE the taxpayers set aside and PAY for. Where is OUR voice in this. Were hearings held, were opinions sought. I am hugely disappointed at several of them, and this will be reflected in my voting in the future.Either the board grows up, gets along and works as a team FOR the township or go home.

  3. Pingback: Supervisor Gonser retracts his slanderous statement against former Township Trustee | Oakland Township Watchers

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