Monthly Archives: August 2015

URGENT REQUEST: Please attend special Board meeting on Monday, August 31, 2015


Some of you are probably aware that two Planning Commission member’s appointments end in September.  They have not requested to be considered for reappointment.  On August 28th Supervisor Gonser asked for a special Board meeting on August 31, 2015 to vote on his nominees for those two positions.  He is nominating:

  • Barbara Schmidt (wife of Park’s Commisioner Roger Schmidt)
  • Jeaneane Landers

The applications they submitted on August 27th and 28th are shown here:

Applications from Schmidt and Landers

Others that had submitted their applications earlier, but apparently were rejected by Supervisor Gonser, include:

  • Dominic Abbate (former Oakland Township Trustee and Planning Commission member)
  • Craig Blust (member of Trails and Pathway subcommittee)
  • Salavatore D’Anna
  • George Platz (former Chairman of Zoning Board of Appeals)
  • Mark Plaza

Two of these candidates (Abbate and Platz) submitted their names for consideration for the open Trustee Position created when Maureen Thalmann resigned earlier this year.  Since they were not selected for the open Trustee position, the Board asked them to consider applying for other positions as they became available.  They clearly followed the Board’s request.  Their applications for the Trustee position, with experience noted, is shown here:

Abbate and Platz applications

Efforts will be made to get copies of the other’s applications and post them on this website so the citizens can review their credentials and experience as well.





A copy of the meeting notice is shown here:

August 31, 2015 Special Board meeting

Supervisor Gonser is the one who nominates the individuals that are to be considered by the Board for the open positions.  A number of people have applied for the positions.  Some of these candidates have Township experience regarding Zoning, Planning, and other subcommittees in the Township, others do not.

It should be noted that, per state law governing Township Planning Commission appointments, if the Board does not approve Gonser’s Planning Commission nominees, the currently seated Planning Commission members may continue to serve on the Commission if they agree to do so.

Over the past two years, Gonser and the Board have replaced 5 of the previous Planning Commission members with new people.  The Commission consists of 7 people.  With the loss of the two that are scheduled to leave in September (Chair Jim Carter, and Secretary Janine Saputo), the most experienced Planning Commission member will only have two years of experience.

In addition to the loss of the experience on the Planning Commission, our Township Planning consultant for many years, Larry Nix, has decided to discontinue his support of Oakland Township.  He will continue to support other communities in Michigan.

One final critical skill loss is that Elaine Leven, who has been our Township Planning Coordinator, has accepted a position as Marine City Manager.

So, all of our experienced Planning people are no longer involved in Township Planning.  This while our Township Planning Commission is responsible for updating our very important Township Master Plan.

When the Board took office in 2012, there was close to (and possibly more than)  100 years of collective Oakland Township Planning experience between the Planning Commission members, the Planning Consultant, and the Township Planning Coordinator. If the Supervisor’s recommendations get approved, and when the Planning Consultant and Planning Coordinator leave. We will have less than 10 years of collective experience working on our Master Plan.

As I stated earlier, there are several candidates that have Planning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, Township Subcommittee experience or even Township Board experience that would serve the Township well by being appointed to the Planning Commission.

Your participation in the August 31 meeting is critical in making sure that the Supervisor chooses wisely in his nomination, and that the Board only approves individuals that have demonstrated their knowledge and willingness to add much needed experience to the relatively inexperience Planning Commission as we work on our Township Master Plan.

Here is a link to an Oakland Press article on Monday’s meeting:

Oakland Press article on Planning Commission appointments

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  Simply put, the future character of our Township is at stake.  Is Oakland Township such a terrible place that Gonser feels it necessary to use the Planning Commission to redefine ‘what we are’ just to satisfy his ego.

Richard Michalski – Former member of Planning Commission for 26 years

EDITORIAL: Has Gonser Willfully Violated the Law? We Need to Know.

In January this year the Board passed a resolution re-affirming the long-time Township ordinance that places responsibility for managing the township squarely in the office of the professional full-time manager hired by the Board of Trustees. It sent a clear message to Supervisor Gonser that he should act in accordance with the law. The Township Manager was directed to inform the Board of any deviance from that ordinance by the elected Supervisor. There has been no public follow up to this resolution. There have been no facts made public that would indicate that the resolved will of the Board of Trustees has or has not been followed.

What there has been is a constant drumbeat of statements, events and indications that Gonser is not following the law. It is Gonser’s sworn duty uphold the law and to perform the duties of his office to the best of his abilities.  If he is not then the facts must come out and appropriate action must be taken.

I call on the Board of Trustees to launch an official investigation to ascertain with documented facts whether Supervisor Gonser has exceeded the authority of his office. They should call for a thorough search of emails, calendars, phone logs, official documents and correspondence to see whether Gonser has exercised illegal authority or claimed improper responsibility for any facet of any of the enumerated duties of the Township Manager.

I hope they will call on me to testify that I  know that he has intentionally violated the ordinance because I had a conversation with Supervisor Gonser earlier this year in which he told me that he was not abiding by the law.  I had gone to his office hours to ask if he had Board authorization to meet with the Road Commission of Oakland County (RCOC) to discuss his proposal to surface some gravel roads with a “chip-seal” material to improve their durability.  Gonser had spoken at a community meeting about this proposal and his intent to work with the RCOC on this project.  This type of township business is clearly  the authority of the full-time Township Manager under our Ordinance 97.  When I asked him if the Board gave him authority in this matter he said no, but it doesn’t matter because the people who voted for him expected him to be the “leader of the Township” and they would not have voted for him if they knew that all he could do was “chair the meetings”.  He said he was doing the will of the voters.

I hope that they will ask Trustee Ferriolo to detail the facts behind his email to the Rochester Post that reportedly said “Our township operates on a similar system of government as Rochester, and Mr. Gonser refuses to accept his limited role under it.”

I hope that Treasurer Langlois and Trustee Buxar will go public with the facts that they described that led them to propose  the above mentioned Resolution that demanded that Gonser act according to the law.

I hope that the Trustees who devised the interview questions that were asked of all the candidates who were interviewed for the Township Manager’s position about how they would handle this disagreement about legal authority in the Township will speak in detail about what they know that made it important to ask those questions.

I hope that outgoing Township Manager Warren Brown will be asked to detail, on the record, any violations of Ordinance 97 that he has knowledge of.  He was informed of the problem during his interview process and he responded clearly about how he would handle the problem.

This is public business and the Board of Trustees must stop relying on toothless Resolutions.  What is going on is not a secret but the hard actionable facts are being withheld from the public, This is not an academic argument.  Gonser has harmed the Township with this behavior and it is truly in the best interests of Oakland Township to put and end to it.   Effective action is required.

Jim Foulkrod


Oakland Township Manager Warren Brown comments on his resignation – suggests Supervisor Gonser follow his example and also resign

At the August 11, 2015 Oakland Township Board meeting, Warren Brown, the current Township Manager, commented on his recent decision to resign.  He did not go into specifics, but indicated it was a personal decision.  He made many positive comments about Oakland Township.  He then made several comments about Supervisor Gonser. 

He commented on the statements Supervisor Gonser’s made in the Oakland Press announcement regarding his resignation.  He saw the Supervisor’s comments as an attempt to take advantage of his (Brown’s) personal decision to leave as a method to advance the Supervisor’s “position”.   Mr. Brown commented on how the Board has been fractured, and how he thought the Supervisor should be trying to bring the Township together, not further fractionalizing the community and the Board by his comments in the press.  He ended by suggesting that the Supervisor should do the Township a “service” and follow his example and resign from office.

Supervisor Gonser was ‘speechless’.

Here are excerpts of  Warren Brown’s statement:

“It is unfortunate that such a negative light (Gonser’s comment in the Oakland Press) has been cast upon the Board of Trustees as a whole, and by way of association, the Township also as a whole.

Board members will always disagree on issues, but out of respect for the process, no individual member should separate oneself from the Board as a whole.

The Supervisor’s comment . . .   was clearly made to personally attack the Board and embarrass the Board as a whole.  He has used my very personal decision to advance his own position, which I consider a personal affront, and to which I take great offense.

This Township has more advantages than most local governmental agencies in this State.  You are financially sound, you have an educated base, you are well situated for someone to offer his or her services in a leadership role.  However, this will not occur as long as the ‘voice of one’ outshouts the ‘voice of the many’.

The comment made (in the Oakland Press) did nothing to bring this Board together. . . . There has been an obvious schism among the Board for a very long time.”

Mr. Warren summarized comments made by car dealer he had spoken to while at home for the weekend. The car dealer said:

“It is obvious that the Supervisor, who should be the catalyst for Board regeneration, has by his comment and actions, succeeded in creating a larger chasm among the Board than what previously existed.”

Mr. Brown concluded by saying:

“If the Supervisor cannot admit the error of his ways, fill the chasm, and become more malleable in his approach to his position, he should follow my lead. . . .   To offer his resignation would be an act of service for the greater good!”

Here is a video of Warren Brown’s comments:


Here is an article published on 8/12/15 n the Rochester Post regarding Mr. Brown’s resignation.

Rochester Post article

Here is an article published on 8/14/15 in the Oakland Press regarding Mr. Brown’s resignation and suggestion for Gonser to resign.

Oakland Press article – Brown resignation and suggestion for Gonser to follow suit

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  Supervisor Gonser has repeatedly attempted to change the governance in Oakland Township to one where he would be a “Strong Supervisor” in our Township.  The Board has repeatedly rejected his attempts.  Warren Brown made his decision to leave for personal reasons.  Warren Brown’s assessment of Gonser’s comments in the Oakland Press is very telling.  Gonser was attempting to destroy the Board, and push forward his agenda to become the full time (and paid) leader of our Township.

All of the Board members indicated their disappointment with Warren Brown’s decision.  Gonser simply thanked Warren for coming to our Township.

Our previous ‘short term’ manager, Ann Capela, supported Gonser’s philosophy and stated Oakland Township’s form of governance’ is “bizarre” and “unworkable”.  Warren Brown’s statement makes it clear that the form of governance is not the issue, Supervisor Gonser is the issue.

Hopefully, our Township Board takes the time to fill the Township Manager position.  Former Trustee Marc Edwards suggested having the Township contact the Michigan Townships Association, and find a temporary manager to fill the position until a new Board is elected in November of 2016.

Hopefully Gonser will be gone by then by following Mr. Brown’s suggestion, and does us all a ‘service’ by leaving now.

Richard Michalski


Oakland Township loses another Township Manager – What or who is ‘root cause’ for turnover?

It was reported in the August 5, 2015 Oakland Press that Warren Brown, the recently hired Oakland Township manager has resigned after 6 months, creating the third vacancy at the position in less than two years.  Here is the Oakland Press article:

Oakland Township manager Warren Brown resigns

In the article, Supervisor Gonser states that “(Brown’s resignation) makes the township look terrible and highlights the fact the board of trustees is incapable of making a good hire,” Gonser said. “I seriously doubt any quality candidate would apply for this vacancy.”

Oakland Township is yet again faced with trying to find a good candidate to fill the Township manager position.

Supervisor Gonser has repeatedly tried to change the stucture of Oakland Township to one where he would be the “Strong Supervisor” rather than the one we have had for years with a “Strong Manager”.  That form had served our Township well for many years prior to Supervisor Gonser’s election.

When problems come up, it is best to think about what has changed that could have caused the problems. Since Gonser and the Board took office in 2012, the following problems  have occurred in Oakland Township:

  • In two and one half years, we have gone through three Township managers.  Jim Creech, Ann Capela and Warren Brown.  Jim Creech served our Township well for 15 years.
  • Three Township Trustees have resigned.
  • Our Fire Chief for many years resigned.
  • Unions have been created in our firefighters and Parks and Recreation staff.
  • Our knowledgeable and experienced Planning Commission members have been, or are all being, replaced.
  • Most of our knowledgeable and experienced Zoning Board of Appeals members have been replaced.
  • Our Planning Consultant has decided to retire from serving Oakland Township, but not other communities.
  • The Township changed legal firms representing our Township.
  • Our legal expense has almost doubled since the new Board took office.
  • Our Planning Administrator is planning on leaving to become the City Manager for Marine City.
  • Our original Township Board recording secretary quit, but continues to support the Parks and Recreation Commission.
  • The Township Supervisor attempted to take over responsibility the Parks and Recreation Commission had successfully managed for years.
  • The Parks and Recreation Commission retained their original legal firm.
  • Two Parks and Recreation Commission members filed a lawsuit against several other Parks and Recreation Commission members.
  • The Township Board legally challenged the formation of the Parks and Recreation union.
  • A Trustee and a Parks and Recreation Commission member shared ‘Privileged and Confidential’ material with others.
  • The Supervisor did not find anything wrong with having received the inappropriate “Privileged and Confidential” material, or that the information had been sent, by a Trustee, to others.
  • The Board repudiated the behavior of the Trustee and called the Supervisor’s inaction ‘improper’ regarding the sharing of Privileged and Confidential material.
  • After investigating several alleged Open Meeting Act violations, the Prosecutors office determined that “two of the matters may have been violations” and proceeded to make recommendations to the Board on how they should have handled it.
  • The Supervisor publicly apologized for making slanderous comments about a former Trustee.
  • The Supervisor accused other Board members of Open Meeting Act violation.
  • The Board approved covering the legal expense for a legal request that the Supervisor made ‘as an individual’.
  • The Supervisor did not recuse himself in the vote to have the Township pay the legal expense for the legal request he made ‘as an individual’.
  • There are multiple lawsuits involving Oakland Township at the County and Federal levels regarding the Blossom Ridge Senior development.
  • The Township has taken legal action against the non-profit Clinton River Watershed Council over the Millrace issue.

All of these items have occurred since our new Board was elected.

The things that have gone on in our Township over the past two and one half years indicate that we certainly are not the Township we were prior to Supervisor Gonser and the Board taking office.  The citizens need to determine if they think we are better off now, then what we were before they took office.

Over the past two and one half years,  the Board has repeatedly indicated that they want a ‘Strong Manager’ form of governance in Oakland Township.  They passed a resolution restating ordinance 97 to reaffirm their desire to have that form of governance.  Supervisor Gonser continues to want to act as a “Strong Supervisor”.  This may have been a contributing factor in Warren Brown’s decision to resign.  The rationale for having a “Strong Manager” form of government has been reported on this website many times (see below).

To be fair, over the past 12 months, some of the Board members have seen the “the errors of their previous ways”, and have taken steps to change the direction that Supervisor Gonser was leading them. With the resignation of Maureen Thalmann, the Board appears to be moving in a positive direction.  All of them ultimately will be held accountable for their actions.

Supervisor Gonser Plots a Vote to Grant Supervisor Strong Supervisor Powers

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

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


Supervisor Gonser thinks Oakland Township’s form of government is “bizarre” and unworkable

Can we trust Supervisor Gonser with more authority?

So where do we go from here?  It will be interesting to see what the Board decides to do at the next Board meeting on August 11, 2015.  Stay tuned.  This may be as interesting as watching the Republican debates on August 6th.

Supervisor Gonser appears to place blame on the Board for the turnover in the manager’s position.  Did his repeated attempts at trying to change the structure of Oakland Township and his interaction with Mr. Brown play a role in Mr. Brown’s decision to leave?

Several months ago, I posted a facetious post asking:

Is Oakland Township the “Animal Farm”?

Every day, I think the answer is becoming more and more clear.

We have a little more than one year of ‘damage control’ before our next election.  Hopefully we will ‘choose wisely’ next time.

Richard Michalski



Board Resolution – Acts By Rogers, Thalmann “Repudiated” as a “Breach of Trust” . Gonser’s inactions termed “improper”

The Oakland Township Board of Trustees, at their July 28th meeting, voted 6-0 (Gonser absent) to approve a resolution stating “There has been an inappropriate release of privileged and confidential and/or Attorney/Client protected communications which constitutes a Breach of Trust and is hereby repudiated.” and  further “It is improper to fail to disclose any unauthorized receipt of privileged communications prior to entering deliberations pertaining to matters discussed in the communications.”.


The reasons for the resolution are  the April 28th 2015  findings of an investigation,  authorized by the Board of Trustees on March 24th 2015, conducted by Township Staff and the Attorneys for the Township and the Parks Commission that found:

  • Supervisor Gonser improperly received three emails pertaining to Parks Commission Closed Sessions or containing Parks Commission Attorney/Client privileged communications;
  • Trustee Thalmann had  sent three emails pertaining to Parks Commission or Board of Trustee Closed Sessions or containing  Attorney/Client privileged communications to (variously) Commissioner Rogers, Supervisor  Gonser  and/or unauthorized private citizens.
  • Thalmann had received two emails from Commissioner Rogers pertaining to Parks Commission Closed Sessions or containing  Attorney/Client privileged communications.
  • Commissioner Rogers sent six emails pertaining to Parks Commission Closed Sessions or containing  Attorney/Client privileged communications to (variously) Trustee Thalmann, Supervisor Gonser and/or unauthorized private citizens.

The Parks Commission and the Board of Trustees reviewed these findings at a April 28th 2015 joint meeting and forwarded them to the Oakland County Prosecutor. The Prosecutor’s office reported back on July 15th 2015 that “no basis exists for criminal prosecution and…no laws have been violated.”.

Commissioner Rogers and former Trustee Thalmann, who had resigned during this time period, each stated in various public meetings that they had done nothing wrong, were totally exonerated and were owed apologies.  They did not dispute the findings of the investigation that they had violated  Attorney/Client Confidentiality and Privilege.  They dismissed that as unimportant.

The Board of Trustees felt that, criminal or not, the behavior was improper and important and called for Board action which was taken with the 7/28/15 Resolution.

What are we to think about this? 

We all know about Attorney/Client Confidentiality.  Is it really, as Rogers and Thalmann seem to think,  a matter unworthy of their concern when they are doing the citizen’s business?  We must think not. It is not immaterial.  It is not just a detail.  We would not be alone in being concerned with their attitude.  In an Article “What Attorney-Client Privilege Really Means” by the global law firm Smith, Gambrell & Russell LLP I found this:

The attorney-client privilege is the oldest privilege recognized by Anglo-American jurisprudence. In fact, the principles of the testimonial privilege may be traced all the way back to the Roman Republic, and its use was firmly established in English law as early as the reign of Elizabeth I in the 16th century. Grounded in the concept of honor, the privilege worked to bar any testimony by the attorney against the client.

A legal concept grounded in honor that has been fundamental to jurisprudence in Western Civilization for over five hundred years deserves our respect. Public Officials, elected by the people, cannot act as though it does not apply to them.

Perhaps these breaches of trust had their origin in the leadership,  People who lead an organization have the responsibility to set an example for the practice of strong ethics. Gonser did not inform the Board that he had improperly received protected communications about matters which were immediately important to him.  Also, Supervisor Gonser had, until recently, refused to abide by the Township’s Ordinance 97 which limits the elected Supervisor’s authority with regard to conducting Township business.  He made many decisions and did many things for which he had no authority.  In conversation with me last Spring he explained himself saying that he was elected by people who don’t know that the Supervisor’s power is limited and that they expect him to “be the leader of the Township” and that they didn’t elect him “just to chair meetings and ride in parades”.  Rogers and Thalmann may have just been following a bad example.

Taking another step up the chain of responsibility, lets look at ourselves, the voters.  We elected Rogers, Thalmann and Gonser either by voting in the 2012 August Primary or by not showing up.  At that time the Township had over 12 thousand registered voters.  How many votes did it take for these people to get elected?

  • Gonser  – 1784 votes – 14% of the electorate;
  • Thalmann – 1534 votes -12%  of the electorate;
  • Rogers – 1315 votes -11%  of the electorate.

What Can We Do?

The August 2016 Primary Election is 12 months away.  It is an important election because, in Oakland Township, for whatever reason, our local elections seldom attract Democrat candidates, so the November Elections for Local Offices are not competitive contests. Our Local elections are decided in August.

Let’s learn from these events.  Get active, Get informed, Get on the Ballot, Get to know the Candidates and Get Out The Vote in August.

Jim Foulkrod

Supervisor Gonser opposes Township establishing ordinance to minimize impact of oil and gas drilling in Oakland Township

As previously reported, the Township Board requested the Planning Commission review and develop potential zoning ordinance changes for the Board to consider regarding the control of gas and oil drilling sites in Oakland Township. The Board also put in place a six month moratorium on new oil and gas drilling sites while the Planning Commission and Board potentially take action.  The Planning Commission will begin their efforts on this request at the August 5, 2015 Planning Commission meeting.

The Oakland Press published an article on this matter on August 4, 2015.  In that article, Supervisor Gonser’s opinion on this issue was stated.  Here is what the Oakland Press wrote:

Township Supervisor Terry Gonser, who, along with trustee John Giannangeli, was absent from the (July 14th) meeting and did not cast a vote in the matter, said he is not in favor of addressing oil and gas exploration at the township level because of state laws regulating the act.

Here is the link to the Oakland Press article:

Oakland Township officials to discuss oil and gas drilling regulations

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  Concerned citizens should try to attend the August 5, 2015 Planning Commission meeting and voice their support for having the Township take advantage of neighboring communities learnings regarding oil and gas drilling sites.  The Planning Commission meeting starts at 7 PM, and is held at the Oakland Township Hall on Collins Road.

It is disappointing that Supervisor Gonser is satisfied relying on the State to ‘regulate’ oil and gas drilling in Oakland Township when several of our neighboring communities have put in place a limited level of local protection for their communities. Why would one of our elected officials not try to similarly protect us? I guess the Supervisor’s conservative values concerning individual property rights, big government intervention and regulations also applies to local government regulations, even if those local regulations would protect our residents.  The ‘balanced’ approach that Trustee Ferriolo describes in the Oakland Press article is the more appropriate approach to protecting everyone’s individual property rights.

Here are several previously reported articles on this subject:

Oakland Township Board implements 6 month moratorium on new oil or gas drilling in Oakland Township

UPDATE: Oil and Gas well sites in Oakland Township and Surrounding Communities

Results of June 23, 2015 BOT discussion on Oil and Gas drilling in Oakland Township

JUNE 17th UPDATE: Is Drilling for Oil and Gas coming to Oakland Township?

Is Drilling for Oil and Gas coming to Oakland Township?

Richard Michalski

Township subsidizing developers? Board identifies accounting error – reduces retainer fees for legal services in Oakland Township – still many unanswered questions

At the July 28, 2015 Oakland Township Board meeting, the Board revised the contract with the Township’s legal firm, Giarmarco, Mullins and Horton P. C.  The monthly retainer fee was reduced by $750.  Treasurer Langlois stated the reduction was done for a ‘more proper’ allocation of expenses regarding legal services.  Trustee Bailey indicated that there were some legal service fees that were put ‘erroneously’ into the General fund that should have been billed to ‘other people’. 

The change to the contract is welcomed. As previously reported on this website, the legal service fees for our Township have almost doubled since the new Board was elected in 2012.  This recently discovered error explains a portion of the reason for the higher expenditure, but does raise several questions regarding whether the Township has been subsidizing developers, and whether we can retroactively recover those costs.

The Board also missed an opportunity to clarify an issue that had been repeated raised by former Trustee Thalmann regarding ‘double coverage’ for legal services for the Parks and Recreation Commission.

Treasurer Langlois proposed the change in the contract to:

“facilitate a more proper allocation of the expenses regarding the legal services to the accounts and funds that make use of those.”

Trustee Bailey stated:

“One of the advantages of what you are proposing is that we’ll be billing appropriately the people that should be billed for these legal services. Whereas before, they were kind of all,  much of them, or some of them at least were put into the General Fund erroneously or not correctly, and were funded by our General Fund.”

The author of this post raised several questions at the meeting.  They are restated here:

  • Have all the charges that should have been charged to the developer’s escrow funds been identified?
  • If they have been identified, have they been correctly charged to those accounts?
  • If they have not been identified, will they be identified?
  • If not, have the Township citizens essentially been subsidizing the developers?
  • Are there other consultant fees, beyond the legal fees, that have improperly been charged to the Township?

The Board did not respond to any of the questions raised.

The author also pointed out a missed opportunity to clarify an issue regarding the legal fees for the Parks and Recreation Commission.

Former Trustee Thalmann repeatedly complained that the legal retainer fee includes legal support for the Park’s Commission, but that the Parks Commission continues to use Joppich’s firm resulting in double payment for services.  The Board members never corrected her repeated claims. As a result, the citizens were left to believe that the monthly retainer fee WAS intended to cover the Parks Commission.

Based on that assumption, an analysis was undertaken to look at the historical expense for legal fees for the Parks and Recreation Commission prior to the Board changing law firms.

The six year average for Parks and Recreation legal services, prior to this Board taking office, was approximately $5,000 per year. As a result, the monthly retainer fee with Giarmarco, Mullens & Horton, P.C. should be further reduced by $416 per month, or $5,000 for the year, to reflect that they are not providing Park’s Commission legal support.

Once again, the Board refused to respond to the question and suggestion.

Here is a video of Treasurer Langlois and Trustee Bailey’s comments at the meeting.


Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  As previously reported, the legal expense for our Township has almost doubled since the current Board took office.  The following graph shows this historical and projected trend.

Oakland Township Legal expense

(click on graph to enlarge)

The recent discovery, that we have not been charging developer’s escrow funds for legal services, is a direct result of the inquiries raised on this website.  The Board needs to address the questions raised in THIS posting, so the citizens understand how much we may have subsidized developers and if the fees can retroactively be recovered. They also need to clarify whether the retainer fee is intended to cover Parks and Recreation legal support, as had previously been claimed by former Trustee Thalmann, and not challenged by the Board.

There are a number of other financial ‘transparency’ issues that will be brought up in later posts.  The Board still needs to make a case for why legal service fees have almost doubled during their tenure.

Here are some previous posts on this subject:

Attorney bills out of control in Oakland Township?

July 14th UPDATE: Attorney bills out of control in Oakland Township? Accounting error found!


Richard Michalski