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.