Monthly Archives: February 2015

Unbelievably, Supervisor Gonser refers to the east side of Oakland Township as ‘the ghetto’ – in a public forum!

On February 25, 2015 the 2015 Community Outlook Breakfast and Press Conference took place.  The leaders of Oakland Township, Rochester Hills, Rochester and the Rochester Community School System were given opportunities to respond to questions from the participants.  This is an annual event, and is intended to provide some insight into the current status of each of the communities and the Rochester School system.

During a response to one of the questions, Oakland Township Supervisor Gonser referred to the east side of Oakland Township as “the ghetto side of the Township”, to the shock of the other panelists. Gonser continued by stating that when he moved back into the Township, a realtor told him NOT to move on the east side of Rochester Road and that this area was not desirable.  

He did admit that he does live on the East side of the Township but added:

“but it is a very beautiful area. We’re across from Stony Creek Park.  But I say that (apparently the ghetto comment) in  jest.”

You may recall, as previously reported on this website, Gonser’s reference to people who live in subdivisions as ‘subdivision rats’.  That post can be watched by clicking here.

Gonser’s previous ‘subdivision rat’ comment

I will not attempt to capture all the words Gonser used in his most recent statement.  You must watch the following link to get a complete appreciation of our Supervisor’s opinions.

At the end of the meeting, there were even jokes about having the video team ‘edit out’ Gonser’s “Ghetto” comment.  If you listen carefully at the end, the video editor obviously DID edit something out when Gonser responded by saying:

“That will save my (edited out)”

The moderator responded by saying:

“It should.”

Why is this important to the Citizens of Oakland Township?  I think the answer to that is self evident!  Our Supervisor’s poor attempt at humor, with an apparent self deprecating comment, at the expense of the Township, in a public forum, clearly does not help the image of our Township.

At a minimum, the Supervisor should apologize to the community.

At this point, he can best serve the Township by resigning, saving all of us the embarrassment of his questionable leadership, damaging actions and comments.


2016 cannot come soon enough!!!

A person's actions tell you everthing you need to know

Richard Michalski

Oakland Township hires new Township Manager/Superintendent

At the February 24, 2015 Oakland Township Board meeting, the Board announced, and approved, an employment agreement with Mr. Warren P. Brown as our new Township Manager/Superintendent.  Mr. Brown is currently the County Administrator for Sandusky County in Fremont Ohio.  

This approval came after two sets of interviews and public ‘meet and greet’ sessions.  The second set of interviews was required because several Board members had lingering concerns over how the candidates would have handled the many examples of unauthorized actions by our Supervisor.  The second set of interviews apparently convinced a majority of the Board that Mr. Brown was not only qualified for the position, but would respond to Supervisor Gonser’s unauthorized actions appropriately.

On January 23, 2015, interviews with three potential candidates for the Manager/Superintendent position took place.  Those interviews can be watched by visiting the Township website. A ‘meet and greet’ event took place the following day where the Board members and citizens could meet and interact with all three candidates.

During the initial interview, each applicant was asked if they had any questions or comments after the Board had completed their questions.  Mr. Brown asked the Board:

“I have been abundantly honest with you.  I trust that you will be with me.  You have had two managers in a year.  Can you tell me why?”

When he saw that the Board was struggling providing an answer, he said:

“If I am off base, just tell me right now. . . . .  Maybe that’s a conversation we will share tomorrow (during ‘meet and greet’) if I am invited back.”

Trustee Bailey responded by saying:

“I would personally prefer that approach… You are going to get a lot of different answers!”

During the January 27, 2015 deliberations regarding which candidate to select, several Township Board members were not comfortable that they understood how each of the candidates would respond to Supervisor Gonser’s attempts at assuming more responsibility than what he legally possessed.  This concern drove the need for a second set of interviews, this time with more direct questions.  Each Board member was asked to provide a list of potential questions.  They would be consolidated for use during the second interview.

The first and most direct question asked during the second interview was:

“The majority of the Board has voted to continue with our current form of governance in which the Superintendent/Manager is to fully handle the duties and responsibilities spelled out in Ordinance 97 in accordance with Charter Township Act 359.

However, the Supervisor continues to work full time and involves himself in significant portions of these duties and responsibilities.

Tell us what you would do to handle, or overcome this apparent conflict.  Have you ever encountered a similar situation, and what did you do in that circumstance to deal with that situation?”

Mr. Brown’s response apparently satisfied the Board members.  Here is a video of his response:

The majority of the Board selected Mr. Brown at the January 27th meeting, pending the final employment agreement, in a 5 to 2 vote.  Supervisor Gonser and Trustee Thalmann voted against the selection of Mr. Brown.  They were supportive of hiring the candidate that stated “I do not see a problem” with the Supervisor’s unauthorized actions.

There have been a number of previous post on this website dealing with Supervisor Gonser’s (and Trustee Thalmann’s) repeated attempts at changing the form of governance in Oakland Township.  In those posts, the reasons for having a professional Superintendent/ Manager handle the responsibilities defined in Ordinance 97 have been clearly stated.

The Board deals Gonser a one-two punch

Supervisor Gonser plots a vote to grant Supervisor ‘strong supervisor powers

Supervisor Gonser thinks Oakland Township form of government is ‘bizarre’ and unworkable

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

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

It appears that we now have a qualified, fully empowered, person to fulfill those responsibilities.

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  The Township now has a well qualified, experienced, person that will be managing the Township in conformance with the responsibilities that he has been given.  He now recognizes the challenges that the former two Managers/Superintendents had in dealing with Gonser’s continued efforts to perform in a “Strong Supervisor” form of government, contrary the desires of the community and the Board.  He also recognizes he has the backing of the Board in dealing with any future authority issues with Supervisor Gonser.

Supervisor Gonser has repeatedly corrected citizens when they state that we have a ‘democracy’.   He corrects them by saying our government is a ‘democratic republic’, not a ‘democracy’.  The difference is that in a democratic republic, the citizens make their decisions during the elections, after that, the elected officials are the ones who make the decisions (not the citizens).

It appears that Supervisor Gonser now also understands that the Township elected officials (i.e..other Board members) have the authority to prevent a dictatorial form of government in our community.  .

I complement the Board for taking this long awaited action, and wish Mr. Brown a warm welcome, and a long tenure as our Township’s Manager/ Superintendent.

Richard Michalski

Oakland Township – Now On The National News Stage

Bloomberg News has put the national spotlight on Oakland Township with its Feb 18th Newswire report on Oakland Township’s official response to the lawsuit brought by the Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America (MPVA) alleging discriminatory housing practices under the Federal Fair Housing Law.  The Township’s response to the suit claims that the MPVA has no “standing” to bring such a suit against Oakland Township.  The full content of the report is reproduced below

Jim Foulkrod

“Michigan Veterans Vehemently Respond To Oakland Township’s Stance Against Paralyzed Veterans Housing Project

DETROIT, Feb. 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ —  Michigan veterans issued a vehement and stinging response to Oakland Township’s motion to deny paralyzed veterans fair housing.

“As a Veteran, I find it absolutely outrageous that the Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America have to sue an affluent community like Oakland Township in order to get them to approve a senior housing project which would provide some of the needed housing for the more than 2,000 Service Disabled Veterans in the area,” said Keith King, President, Veterans Support Foundation, United States Armed Forces Association. “As the President of a national foundation that provides funding and care for homeless veterans, and funds other foundations supporting Veteran causes, I see no justification for Oakland Township’s cowardly stance.”

The Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America in December filed a lawsuit against Oakland Township in Federal Court contending the Township had engaged in discriminatory housing practices under the Federal Fair Housing Law, and the Americans with Disabilities Act, by aggressively blocking approval of a housing project that would accommodate paralyzed veterans and the elderly.

In responding to the Federal Court complaint of the Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America (MPVA), the Township doubled down on its lawlessness, claiming the Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of American have no right to protect its members’ rights in court.

“I applaud and fully support the Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America (MPVA) in their Fair Housing lawsuit against Oakland Township,” said decorated disabled veteran Army Ranger Frank Campanaro. Campanaro is also the President and Founder of, a Michigan-based 501(c)3 charity dedicated to helping veterans transition from military service.

“These are our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, who served our country in the military with honor, and who have returned with service related disabilities,” Campanaro said. “There are more than 36,000 service disabled heroes in Southeast Michigan, with more than 7,600 in Oakland County alone.

“Oakland Township’s contempt against the Fair Housing Act is clearly evident when they denounce the freedom of elderly and disabled persons, which includes many MPVA members’, to choose where they want to live.

“It’s despicable that this community would look for ways to stop, rather than help, these valiant men and women who have protected our country. These Veterans have paid the price for our freedom with their blood, flesh and bones.

“The attempt to use a legal technicality to throw out the MPVA from a “standing” issue is demoralizing and the slightest use of any unintended pun is not humorous.

“Oakland Township should help them create more housing solutions that will accommodate their needs, and not be standing in their way,” Campanaro said.

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:

SOURCE Keith King; Frank Campanaro”

Supervisor Gonser’s past unilateral unauthorized decision is causing unnecessary Township expense

One agenda item for the February 10, 2015 Oakland Township Board meeting will be a request to pay an engineering firm $9,675 for a storm water management plan that is legally required from Oakland Township.  The need for this expenditure has its ‘roots’ in an unauthorized unilateral decision that Supervisor Gonser made in May of 2013, when he authorized one of our Township Attorneys, Charlie Dunn, to request a “termination of certificate of coverage for a general storm water management permit”.

This request is currently under litigation between the Township and the governing environmental bodies, and has never been disclosed to the public.  The Township is still required to provide the storm water management plan while the issue is being resolved in the courts, hence the need for the plan.

Former Trustee Keyes pointed out the unauthorized request at the October 22, 2013 meeting when she became aware of it.  None of the other Trustees supported her when she questioned the unauthorized decision by Gonser.

There are many issues associated with this matter:

  • The decision to terminate Oakland Township’s participation in the storm water management program was made without Board approval and outside any public meeting.
  • Supervisor Gonser made efforts to prevent then Trustee Keyes from disclosing the unauthorized decision at the October 22, 2013 Board meeting.
  • The resultant lawsuit, related to our request to not participate in the storm water management plan, has never been disclosed in a public forum.
  • The legal expense for the lawsuit is unnecessary, and is the result of a recommendation from our Township’s legal counsel or our Supervisor.
  • The cost for the storm water plan is almost $8,000 higher than necessary if the Township had maintained their relationship with the Clinton River Water Watershed Council.

Here is a copy of the summary page that is part of the February 10 Board packet: (click on image to enlarge)

Feb 10, 2015 Stormwater permit proposal: contract

Here is a video of the October 22, 2013 Board meeting, at which Trustee Keyes pointed out the unauthorized decision.  It was at this same meeting that she announced her resignation from the Board.

Here is a copy of the May 3, 2013 letter sent by Charles Dunn to the MDEQ without the approval of the Oakland Township Board.

May 3, 2013 Charles Dunn letter

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  Supervisor Gonser’s unilateral unauthorized decision in May of 2013 has resulted in legal issues between Oakland Township and the environmental governing bodies.  The decision by the Board to not participate in the Clinton River Watershed Council has resulted in an additional $8,000 expense that was totally unnecessary.

The bottom line is that our Supervisor and Board have made decisions that are costing the taxpayers money (Engineering and Legal fees) that could be spent on other things needed in our Township.

Oakland Township has historically been on the leading edge of best practices in protecting our beautiful Township.  Other communities looked to us as an example of what to do.  Under our current Board, we are now fighting the DEQ, MDEQ and the Clinton River Watershed Council.

If the decision to terminate our participation in the storm water permit program was made based on a recommendation from our Township Attorney (who would certainly benefit from any future litigation as a result of that action), one must question the appropriateness and ethics of such a self serving recommendation.

On the other hand, if the decision was made by Supervisor Gonser, based on what he wanted to do, without any Board or public input, one must question his motives.  However, his decision should come as no surprise to the residents, given his expressed opinion on environmental issues as previously reported on this website.

Gonser finally expresses his thoughts on UN conspiracy

Richard Michalski