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.