Monthly Archives: May 2015

Township Board selects Frank Ferriolo to replace Trustee Thalmann

At the May 26, 2015 Oakland Township Board meeting, the Board selected a new Trustee to replace Maureen Thalmann who resigned on April 14, 2015.  The new Trustee is Frank Ferriolo.  Frank was selected from a group of seven individuals who submitted their names for consideration for the vacant position.   Due to the short amount of time remaining in the term of office, there will be no vote by the public on Frank’s appointment, unlike the previous two replacement Trustee positions  – Robin Buxar and John Ginangelli.  The vote to approve Frank was 5 to 1. Supervisor Gonser was the sole dissenting vote.

The selection of Frank Ferriolo for the vacant position was met with support from a number of citizens who attended the meeting.  Frank has been a very active member of the community through his involvement in many Township meetings and other volunteer activities.  One citizen, expressed concern over his appointment because he was a good friend of Trustee Robin Buxar.  This individual, as well as Supervisor Gonser, was opposed to Frank’s appointment because Frank was opposed to the Blossom Ridge Senior Development and felt his appointment could negatively influence the Federal Court’s ruling in the lawsuit on that matter.  5 of the 6 Board members made favorable comments about Frank Ferriolo and ultimately voted to have him fill the vacant seat.

The seven individuals who submitted their names for the position include:

  • Dominic Abbate
  • Ronald Baitinger
  • Frank Ferriolo
  • Mark Orstein
  • Kevin Peacock
  • George Platz
  • John Vreed

At the May 12, 2015 Board meeting, six of the seven candidates were given an opportunity to comment on their desire to become a Trustee.  Frank Ferriolo was out of country and submitted a letter explaining his reasons for why he wanted to be considered for the position.  Supervisor Gonser would not allow his entire letter to be read.  Fortunately, a motion was made by Treasurer Langlois requesting that the entire letter be read into the record by Township Manager Warren Brown.  That motion passed 5 to 1 – Gonser being the dissenting vote.  Attached is a copy of Frank’s letter.  In his letter, Ferriolo included critical comments about the Supervisor’s leadership.  It appears Gonser did not want to give the content of that letter visibility.


Here is a video of the May 12 proceedings:


Frank made a short speech after being voted into office, and made a plea to the other candidates and citizens to get involved in the Township governance processes.

At the end of the meeting, Frank Ferriolo approached the Board to shake their hands. The exchange between Gonser and Ferriolo is noteworthy.  Here are the comments made by both individuals:

Ferriolo – “I will support you!”

Gonser – “No you won’t!”

Ferriolo – “Yes I will!”

Gonser – “I know better!”

Here is a video of Ferriolo’s comments and the exchange a the end of the meeting:


Link to Oakland Press article on Mr. Ferriolo’s appointment


Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  The selection of Frank Ferriolo as Trustee demonstrates that the current Board values the contributions he has made through his participation in many meetings and events in our Township.  Frank has commented several times that the political process is like “making sausage” – not pretty, but the results, if based on facts and thoughtful consideration, desirable.  The author of this post does not always agree with Frank, but always felt that his rationale approach contributed to helping the Board, or Commissions, make good decisions.  Frank will be a valuable contribution to the Board.

Gonser’s comments at the end of the meeting also give insight into his definition of “support”.  It appears that you MUST agree with him in order to “support” him.  I believe Ferriolo’s comments were intended to indicate that he will support the Supervisor in providing good governance in our Township. Clearly, Gonser does not see it that way.

The behavior of our Supervisor, in his attempt at preventing Frank’s letter from being read at the May 12th meeting, is yet another example of why Supervisor Gonser must be replaced in 2016.

Richard Michalski


Further insight into the Agenda 21 conspiracy thinking of some of our elected officials

At the May 13, 2015 Oakland Township Parks and Recreation Commission (PRC)  meeting, there was a proposal to have the Oakland Township PRC become part of the Oakland County Trails, Water and Land Alliance.  Parks Commissioner Ann Marie Rogers expressed her concern that this is part of an ‘overreach’ plan by the Environmental Protection Agency.  During public comment a citizen, who is a self proclaimed ‘authority on Agenda 21’, indicated that this was part of the Agenda 21 conspiracy and a communist plan by the Federal Government to take over control of our land.

The citizen’s comments provide some insight into the thinking of those that believe there is a conspiracy based on the international agreement called Agenda 21. As previously reported, based on comments he made at an Oakland Township Republican Precinct delegate meeting on January 20 , 2014, Supervisor Gonser is a believer in this conspiracy.  Here is a link to the posting on his comments:

Supervisor Gonser on Agenda 21

The PRC approved joining the Oakland County Trails, Water and Land alliance in a 5 to 2 vote.  Commissioner Rogers and Schmidt were the dissenting votes.

Here is some additional information on this subject:

    • Oakland County Trails, Water and Land Alliance’s  (TWLA) stated purpose is:
  • To become an informed, coordinated, collaborative body that supports initiatives related to Oakland County’s Green Infrastructure Network.
  • Share information and coordinate efforts at quarterly TWLA meetings
  • Pursue the establishment of partnerships in both the public and private sectors
  • Promote TWLA through the Oak Routes Map, Fall Celebration, Green Infrastructure Vision, and other events and marketing materials
  • Provide support to TWLA partner organizations for grants and other funding opportunities
  • Oakland County’s Green Infrastructure Network is part of an initiative of L. Brooks Patterson, and has for its vision statement:
  • Enhancing recreational opportunities
  • Protecting important natural habitat
  • Increasing access to natural land and water resources
  • Developing parks, trails, and recreational facilities
  • Oakland Township has participated in many events that the Alliance has sponsored through the years.
  • There are almost 40 communities and organizations that are part of this alliance – including Rochester Hills, Addison Township, Springfield Township and many others
  • There are no fees or obligations associated with joining this alliance
  • The alliance has provided support to Oakland Township for grant applications
  • The Township can withdraw from the alliance at any time without any negative consequences
  • The vision of the alliance is consistent with the desires of the Parks and Recreation Commission.

Both Commissioner Ann Marie Rogers and Arlene Allen, the self proclaimed ‘authority on Agenda 21’, feel that this alliance is part of a conspiracy to take away the liberty of our citizens and community. They claim their position is supported by the Republican Party.  Based on previous comments by Supervisor Gonser, he appears to also believe in this conspiracy theory.

Here is a video of the proceedings at the May 13th meeting. This is a ‘must watch’ video to get an understanding of what these conspiracy theorist think.


Here is a link to a Glenn Beck trailer providing insight into what these conspiracy theorist see as our future under Agenda 21.

The conspiracy theorist’s vision of our future

If you want to learn more about Gonser’s position on Agenda 21, please visit the following link and watch the video of the comments from Jim Foulkrod, former Township Trustee, Zoning Board of Appeals member and Planning Commission member:

What does Agenda 21 have to do with Oakland Township?

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  The people that believe there is an Agenda 21 conspiracy are a sub group of the ‘Tea Party’ Republicans. It now appears that Parks Commissioners Ann Marie Rogers and Roger Schmidt, as well as Supervisor Gonser, subscribe to that conspiracy theorist thinking.

The 2012 Republican Platform did take a position in not supporting the 1992 Agenda 21 agreement.  This position was driven by the Tea Party members of the Party.  I do not believe that the majority of Oakland Township citizens subscribe to this fanatical conspiratorial way of thinking, yet some of our elected officials do.  The 2016 elections will give our community an opportunity to elect officials that are not ‘extremist’ or paranoid in their thinking.

Richard Michalski

Parks Commissioners’ lawsuit against fellow Commission members rejected by Judge for second time

On May 14, 2015, Circuit Court Judge Honorable Leo Bowan rejected, for the second time, the lawsuit filed by Oakland Township Parks Commissioners Ann Marie Rogers and Roger Schmidt, as well as resident Beth Markel, claiming that fellow Parks Commission members had violated the Open Meetings Act.  The original lawsuit was filed in February of 2014.  Hopefully this issue is now behind us.

As previously reported on this website, and in the Oakland Press, Ann Marie Rogers shared ‘Privileged and Confidential’ material with co-plaintiff Beth Markel, former Trustee Thalmann and Supervisor Gonser.  These communications occurred during the litigation period. The matter is being further investigated by the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office for possible legal action against Commissioner Rogers and former Trustee Thalmann.

Here is some background on this lawsuit:

  • On February 28, 2014, two Parks and Recreation members, Ann Marie Rogers and Roger Schmidt, along with Beth Markel, the wife of Zoning Board of Appeals member John Markel, (the plaintiffs) filed a lawsuit claiming that PRC members Dave Mackley, Colleen Barkham, Alice Tomboulian and Joseph Peruzzi (the defendants) violated the Open Meeting act through email correspondence.
  • On December 2, 2014, the defendants filed for ‘summary disposition’ of the case.
  • On December 3, 2014, the plaintiffs filed a cross motion for ‘summary disposition’.
  • On February 13, 2015, Circuit Court Judge Honorable Leo Bowan granted the defendants request for summary disposition and dismissed the case. He also dismissed the plaintiff’s request for cross summary disposition as “moot”.

Here is a copy of the February 13, 2015 legal ruling for the lawsuit:


  • On March 4, 2014, the plaintiffs made a motion for reconsideration in the decision.
  • On May 14, 2015, the Judge found:

“This Court finds that plaintiffs’ present motion fails to demonstrate a palpable error by which this Court and the parties have been misled.”

The Judge goes on to say:

“This Court finds that the defendants’ reasoning and arguments in their response to the motion for reconsideration accurately states why this Court granted their  – not plaintiffs –  summary disposition.”

Here is a copy of the May 14, 2015 legal ruling for the lawsuit:

20150514 50_Opinion and Order re Motion for Reconsideration

During this time period, Ann Marie Rogers shared a number of ‘Privileged and Confidential’ documents with Beth Markel, Maureen Thalmann, and Supervisor Gonser.  Some of this information pertained to ‘Closed Session’ legal matters.  Here are copies of the Township Attorneys’ discoveries regarding inappropriate sharing of “Privileged and Confidential” material.

Investigation results from PRC attorney

Investigation results from Township Board’s attorney

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township? The Judge’s decision to dismiss the lawsuit raised by Commissioners Ann Marie Rogers, Roger Schmidt and private citizen Beth Markel, vindicate the other Parks Commission members.  This lawsuit has cost the Township in the form of legal fees and reputation.

Ann Marie Rogers disclosure of ‘Privileged and Confidential’ material with a fellow plaintiff and others is under review by the Oakland County Sheriff Office.  This matter appears to be much more serious than the alleged open meeting act violations that she claimed occurred.  The Judge made his decision on the open meeting matter.  It is now up to the Sheriff’s Office to determine if there is sufficient evidence to warrant prosecutorial action.

Hopefully our citizens will consider the actions of our current Township officials when we vote in 2016.  Oakland Township deserves better!

Richard Michalski


Reason for Parks Commissioner Rogers removal from personnel committee now apparent – so why did Schmidt and Rogers storm out of meeting in protest?

The recent findings from the Oakland Township Attorneys’ investigation into the forwarding of Privileged and Confidential material by Parks Commissioner Rogers and former trustee Thalmann shed light on some of the proceedings at the January 14, 2015 Parks and Recreation Commission meeting.  Commissioners Rogers and Schmidt stormed out of that Commission meeting in protest to Ann Marie being removed from Personnel Committee.

At the January 14th meeting, one of the agenda items was the approval of the Chairman Zale’s recommended committee members.  He has the authority to make recommendations, but they must be approved by a majority vote of the Commission.

Chairman Zale recommended that Commissioner Rogers be replaced by Commissioner Perruzi on the Personnel Committee.  Former (in office at that time) Trustee Thalmann attempted to influence Mr. Zale.  However, Mr. Zale indicated he wanted Mr. Perruzi to be on that committee.  Commissioner Rogers objected to the change, and the change was approved in a 5 to 2 vote. Commissioners Rogers and Schmidt were in the minority.

Commissioner Schmidt indicated he did not agree with how the proceedings went, and suggested he would disclose some information that would make visible to the citizens of Oakland Township the reasons for Mr. Zale’s recommendation.

In protest, Commissioners Rogers and Schmidt walked out of the meeting. As they were walking out Mr. Schmidt stated:

“You people are the worst bunch of conniving people that I have ever met in my entire life! “

Earlier he said he wanted to make sure the Commission would be

“accountable for what you have done!”

Here is a video of meeting proceedings as described above:


Mr. Schmidt never did present the material that he alluded to in his comment, but the results of the Township Attorneys’ investigation, specifically Ms. Rogers sharing the November 13, 2015 ‘attorney client’ protected documents, gives a very clear indication of the reasons for Mr. Zale’s recommendation.

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  Chairman Zale had the authority to make subcommittee appointments.  Mr. Zale clearly had reasons for making his recommendations.

Walking out of a meeting in the manner that both Mr. Schmidt and Ms. Rogers did is not only unprofessional, but may have violated their oath of office.

Commissioner Schmidt has aligned himself with Ms. Rogers on many issues.  I trust he feels that same way about ‘accountability’ now that Commissioner Rogers’ actions are being investigated by the Oakland County Sheriff’s office.

Oakland Township would be well served if Commissioner Rogers steps down.

Richard Michalski

Related article:

Former Trustee Thalmann and Current Park’s Commissioner Rogers DID forward “Privileged and Confidential” material!

Parks Commissioner Ann Marie Rogers attempts to defend her behaviour

In the May 7, 2015 Oakland Press website posting titled,

Report: Oakland Township Parks Commissioner shared confidential emails’,

Parks and Recreation Commissioner Ann Marie Rogers attempted to defend her forwarding of ‘privileged and confidential’ material to others by saying she never signed anything preventing her from doing that.  Here is a portion of that article:

Rogers noted she was never asked to sign an agreement stating she not share attorney-client communications following her 2012 election to the board.

The wording in the ‘Privileged and Confidential’ statements attached to legal documents always makes it clear what is not to be done with those documents. It appears Commissioner Rogers did not believe it applied to her.

Comments made by others involved in this recent Oakland Township issue appear to shed some light on their value systems.


Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  Our elected and appointed official’s actions should be based on a generally accepted value system and must be held accountable for their actions.

It is surprising that Parks Commissioner Rogers, after serving on the Parks Commission for over two years, states she was never asked to sign an agreement stating she not share attorney-client communications.  She apparently does not feel anything wrong was done, and has not read the ‘privileged and confidential’ statements on the documents she received.

In an earlier Oakland Press article, former Trustee Thalmann stated she thought she was ‘collateral damage’ and the issue would all ‘go away’ if she resigned. She too apparently does not feel anything wrong was done, and had not read the ‘privileged and confidential’ statements on the documents she received and forwarded.

Here is that Oakland Press article:

Oakland Township board to send email confidentiality breach findings to sheriff’s office

Finally, the husband of the third party involved in receiving some of the ‘privileged and confidential’ material (including ‘closed session’ material) has attempted to justify at various Township meetings, his wife’s receipt of the material, by claiming since they were emails, they were “on a server”, and therefore not secure. He apparently does not feel anything wrong was done.  He has asked that in the future all ‘privileged and confidential’ material be hand delivered in paper form, no emails.  This individual is also a member of the Oakland Township Zoning Board of Appeals, who occasionally receives legal ‘privileged and confidential’ material. Hopefully he has read and understands the wording in the ‘privileged and confidential’ statements.

It is amazing the logic individuals use when they try to justify their unjustifiable behavior.

Oakland Township deserves the best elected and appointed officials.  We hope Commissioner Rogers steps down and a new Commissioner is selected.  We also hope the Oakland Township Board makes a good selection for the vacant seat on the Board in the upcoming meetings.

Richard Michalski


Did Supervisor Gonser commit an act of ‘omission’ regarding the sharing of Privileged and Confidential material?

In the recent documents that the two Oakland Township attorneys disclosed as a result of their investigation into the sharing of ‘privileged and confidential’ material by two of our elected officials, the data confirms that Supervisor Gonser was on distribution for some of those documents as early as April 9, 2014.  Unfortunately, documents continued to be shared as late as November 13, 2014.  

One of our citizens has commented at Board meetings, that this situation may have involved acts of ‘commission’ by some and acts of ‘omission’ by others.  The Sheriff’s investigation will determine if illegal acts were committed by former Trustee Thalmann and current Parks Commissioner Ann Marie Rogers.  

The Sheriff’s Department probably will not find any illegal behavior by  Supervisor Gonser for his lack of taking action after receiving the documents identified in the attorneys’ findings. However, Gonser should have known that the sending of the documents was inappropriate, as well as his reading them, and should have informed the senders that they should not be sharing that information.  It appears that communication did not occur.  

So it is left to the citizens to determine if Supervisor Gonser’s lack of responding to the inappropriate emails were acts of ‘omission’ as described by one of our citizens.  We are also left trying to understand why he did not take action. 

Here are the two attorney’s findings:

Investigation results from Township Board’s attorney

Investigation results from PRC attorney

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  Supervisor Gonser’s apparent lack of responding to the inappropriate emails leads the author of this post to the conclusion that he either was:

  • interested in receiving the information,
  • ignorant of the fact that these communications were potentially illegal, or
  • felt no responsibility for stopping the potentially illegal actions.

It is hard to believe the second conclusion, since the communications on October 15, 2015 from PRC Commissioner Ann Marie Rogers dealt with Parks and Recreation “CLOSED SESSION” legal opinions.  Gonser knows that disclosing “Closed Session” material is illegal.

If Gonser did not feel he had any responsibility, as Township Supervisor, to stop the sending of the emails, one might question his understanding of his oath of office. Don’t we all have the responsibility to call out improper and potentially illegal behavior, especially by an elected official?

As previously reported, Gonser was the only Board member to vote against having the joint meeting with the Parks and Recreation Commission to disclose the findings of the investigation.

Trustee Thalmann’s resignation and legal investigation

The citizens of Oakland Township must draw their own conclusions on whether Gonser committed an act of ‘omission’, and his motivation for not having put a stop to the sending of ‘privileged and confidential’ communications.

Richard Michalski