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


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

  1. OT Resident

    I guarantee that neither the Rochester Post nor the Oakland Press will cover this one. Thank you for bringing this to my/our attention.

  2. Paul

    I guarantee no one in his/her right mind would apply for the Manager’s position if Mr. Gonser remains in office. Unfortunately that could make him a quasi “Strong Supervisor” for the rest of his term. Action needs to be taken by the board to “clip Mr Gonser’s wings”.

  3. Old Car Man

    The former regime supporters seem to have nothing better in life to do than harass & whine with innuendos and contextual remarks disparaging certain official & it is tiresome & annoying at best. If they are so smart & correct, they should put their mouth where their money is & run or recall, then shut up!

    1. richardjmichalski Post author

      Old Car Man (John S.),
      Thanks for your interest in following the activities in Oakland Township by visiting, and commenting on this website. I am sorry that you feel the information is “harassment, whining, disparaging, and annoying”. If that is the way you feel, you can easily solve that by not visiting the website. Supervisor Gonser has made similar accusations in multiple Board meetings. My response to both him and you is the same:

      “This website contains factual information. It also contains opinions at the end of each post. Just because you do not like the opinions does not make the facts false.”

      Many citizens have indicated their appreciation for the information shared on this website. They (and you) can form their own opinions on what to make of the facts included. Not making the information available to the citizens would not serve the community well. Obviously you are not a believer in the ‘transparency’ that Gonser ran on.

      Regarding the need for a recall, the current actions of the Board have essentially placed Gonser in a position of “doing no harm”, since he now is getting very little support from other Board members. We will weather the storm until next fall, when Gonser is replaced. Hopefully he will take the advice he received from Warren Brown, and resign sooner.

      1. OldCarMan


        Reporting is one thing, opinions & belly buttons are another- everyone has one. Journalism isn’t being a pundit, despite John Stewart. If it wasn’t presented as ultimate truth explaining to the masses what this means, I would find it less cloying. I sure haven’t seen many “citizens” stepping up to say how much help this is either. At least with this crew in charge, we are finally seeing the actual mechanics of the township government. I was appalled at the antics of the previous administration, which overrode overwhelming protests by large numbers of residents over several issues.

        If you believe Gonser can do “no harm” then maybe you should quit whining about him & look at other actual issues like the problems Parks has had, developers, or any other issues in the township. Otherwise it looks like you have an agenda & an ax to grind, for whatever reason. I do wonder where you were on all of the previous regime problems, though.

        It does seem odd though that Warren never moved here & would commute from Ohio. Did he just get an offer from somewhere closer to home, then uses Gonser as an excuse? Personalities can & do intrude in working together. He seemed very competent, but I never viewed him as a long term kind of guy. I’ve never seen out of state commuter jobs work long term. What about the other 2 candidates as 2nd choice for the job? Why spend even more money on searches that have worked so well? Hiring Ann C. seemed odd, since she seemed to jump jobs a lot, & maybe no one spoke to her previous co-workers or assignments. HR is tough. Politics always has the rock throwers instead of offering alternative ideas. Look at the state & Congress.

        I would really like to just see more positivity in the commentary and less whining!

      2. richardjmichalski Post author

        John (OldCarMan),

        Thanks for your thoughts!

        I agree that Terry Gonser and this Board have made immense improvements in making visible the workings of our Township. However, Terry Gonser’s comments on transparency in 2013 was an indication of his character, and that Oakland Township was going to be in trouble.

        Here is what he said in an email to Treasurer Langlois on April 6, 2013:

        “While I am for transparency, there are policy decisions and strategies that must not be shared until after they have come to fruition. —- I think we have to be careful as to what we circulate in emails. Phone calls may be in order.”

        It is those type of statements, and his many actions that have caused the “Oakland Township Watchers” to keep a vigilant eye on what is occurring in our Township, much of which has been troubling. We will continue to monitor and report on what we see.

        In case you have not been following, this website has been partially responsible for the Board taking preliminary action on oil and gas drilling in Oakland Township, as well as having our attorney bills being reduced by $750 per month, or $9,000 per year. We will continue to press for the recovery of the funds that should have been charged to developer’s escrow accounts, rather than it being covered by the Township’s General Fund. Mr. Brown commented briefly on that topic during his August 11, 2015 manager’s report.

        The Board has changed dramatically in the last 2 1/2 years. I believe they have come to realize the type of leader Terry Gonser is, and do not like it. This website may have played a role in that transition. He has repeatedly abused his authority, initially with the Board’s concurrence. They helped create the situation, and must now deal with it. I may support many of them in the next election if they keep up their vigilance and start to move the Township forward.

        Your neighbor,

        Richard Michalski

  4. Barbara Kiel

    Mr. Brown’s strong statement ,was made by one who was close to the action. It bears an equally hard second look at what is developing in the Supervisor’s office. I understand Mr. Gonser’s desire to be in charge, but feel it serves our community MUCH better to hire experienced people, rather than trust it to someone unskilled in running a local government. If the Twp. taxpayers have no problem with the current set up., why does he? It smacks of a power grab. He came to the position knowing the current set up, so it seems disingenuous to demand it change.
    I wanted a more transparent, responsive government..something he promised., but he has far from delivered on that promise. I do not want a government fraught with internal issues, that a clearly inexperienced a leader, is unable to handle.
    Have things improved? Yes..as much as they have disintegrated. I will be very hard pressed to vote for Mr. Gonser in the future.

    Note; A page like this does not exist just to sugar coat things. I appreciate the light this page has shown on the issues. Issues we taxpayers would have not had the ability to see otherwise.

    We, as the paying electorate of this community, need to look at all aspects as responsible citizens. To do otherwise, is to tacitly approve of the problems this floundering board is failing to handle. Lessons need to be learned. It is not about political party affiliation, it is what level of expertise and ability we want in our leaders. Mr. Gonser has his chance. For me, he did not rise to the occasion.

    1. foulkrj

      Thanks for your astute comments. I am pretty sure that when Gonser was running for office and making a lot of promises he had no idea that the duties of the Township’s hired Manager are defined in our ordinances. I talked to him before he had been in office one month and it was clear to me that he thought he could do whatever he wanted. When I talked to him about one month ago he still justified ignoring the law by saying that the people who voted for him expected him to be “the leader”.
      Jim Foulkrod


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