Monthly Archives: March 2016

Editorial Comment: Candidates for Oakland Township Supervisor

As many of you know, this website has two editors, Jim Foulkrod and myself (Richard Michalski). Generally we agree on most topics. One clear example of this, shared with many in our Township, is that our current Supervisor, Terry Gonser, cannot be re-elected as Supervisor due to the many inappropriate things he has done while Supervisor. A long documented list of these actions can be reviewed in the following post:

Post summarizing the many examples of Terry Gonser’s ‘ethics’ while in office.

However, Jim and I disagree on who is most qualified to be our next Supervisor. I would like to share with you my reasons why I think Mike Bailey is the most qualified candidate. I will also make a suggestion that may help achieve our mutual goal of ensuring Terry Gonser does not get re-elected in a three person race.

In one of my previous posts, I listed qualities I felt were important in our next Supervisor. Here they are again:

  • Township experience, especially in Township planning
  • Knowledge of how our Township works,
  • An understanding of the issues we are facing,
  • Personal involvement in resolving the many issues,
  • No desire to change our form of governance
  • No desire to use the Supervisor position as a jumping point for higher political positions

I will comment on each of these as they relate to Terry Gonser, Andy Zale and Mike Bailey.

Township experience

Terry Gonser got elected with no Township governance experience. He won the support of many because he was an outspoken advocate on several volatile issues our Township faced in 2012. Many former supporters now admit that they had not properly vetted Terry. His lack of Township governance experience contributed to the massive dysfunction in our Township over the past term.

Andy Zale was elected in 2012 as a Parks & Recreation Commissioner. He was selected as the Commission’s chairperson. He has done a marvelous job chairing the often-contentious meetings. However, Andy has not participated, or made his opinions known on the many issues our Township has faced over the past 4 years. He has only participated in Township Board meetings when there were Parks issues that needed to be addressed.

Mike Bailey has been personally involved in our Township for 28 years. He and I shared many of them on the Planning Commission. Much of what we see and love in our Township is due to the great planning that has occurred. Mike has been an integral part of that. More recently, he has been on the Township Board, and has continued to serve our community in a positive manner.

 Knowledge of how our Township works

Supervisor Gonser came into office with no knowledge of how our Township works. Two groups of employees in our Township joined unions during his tenure, the Firefighters and the Parks and Recreation employees. Their decision was the direct result of the actions of Terry Gonser and others on the Board. Many talented staff members, who helped create our great Township, left their positions during his term in office and now serve other communities.

Andy Zale is gaining an understanding of how our Township works; however, his Parks experience is only one small piece of our Township. More experience will help him.

Mike on the other hand has worked with all the departments involved in our Township as a Planning Commissioner and Trustee. He knows why our Township has benefitted from having a professional Township Manager over the years (more on this issue later).

Understanding of the issues we are facing

Terry Gonser certainly has a good understanding of the issues facing our Township. He has contributed in creating many of them. We have not been able to solve many longstanding issues because valuable time has been lost searching for a Township manager that could work with, and around, Terry’s authoritarian, omnipotent and omniscient behavior.

As stated earlier, Andy is on a learning curve. In discussions with others who have been talking with Andy, he is attempting to get an understanding of the issues, and he needs to be complemented for his efforts.

On the other hand, Mike needs no ‘ramping up’. As an existing Board member, he is ‘in the know’ on all of the major issues facing our Township.

Personal involvement in resolving current issues

Certainly, as the Township Supervisor, Gonser should be involved in resolving our issues. However, his solutions and positions on issues are often the ‘minority position’ on the Board. Differences of opinion are good, however, voters should review Terry’s position on many of the votes that have taken place.  Our other elected representative officials often do not agree with his positions, or where he would take us.

Andy has done a great job in resolving issues on the Parks and Recreation Commission. He has not gotten involved in many other issues in our Township.

Mike has, and is, actively participated in many of the subcommittees that the Board has established to deal with issues facing our Township. He has also participated in many volunteer efforts representing out Township such as ‘clean scene’.

No desire to change our Township’s form of governance

Terry Gonser, and former Trustee Maureen Thalmann, wasted many hours at Township Board meetings trying to convince the Board that we should have a ‘Stong Supervisor’ form of governance in our Township. This would eliminate the full time professional Township administrator, and have the Supervisor be the full time person who would make the day-to-day administrative decisions in our Township. Terry never disclosed his desire to change our Township’s form of governance prior to being elected.

In my initial conversation with Andy Zale, before he announced his candidacy for Supervisor, I asked him his position on having a ‘Strong Supervisor’ or a ‘Manager’ form of government in Oakland Township. His response was “I can see the benefits of both.”   He would not take a position on this matter at that time. More recently, when asked the question again, he indicated that he supported the ‘Manager’ form of governance, but added, “I have spoken with Orion Township Supervisor Barnett, and see the benefits of that form of governance.” Andy added that he had a full time job, and would not be able to be a full time Supervisor. From my standpoint, this is almost a disqualifying position on the matter. Having personally listened to the many arguments on both sides of this issue in Township Board meeting, Andy’s ambiguity on this issue indicated that he did not yet understand Oakland Township’s governance needs. Fortunately, he has now taken the position that he does not support the ‘Strong Supervisor’ form of governance. More exposure to how our Township works will hopefully solidify his position on this matter.

Mike not only understands the benefits of having a profession Township manager, but has strongly stated he is opposed to the ‘Strong Supervisor’ form of governance.

No desire to use the Supervisor position as a political jumping off point

Others have told me that Terry Gonser had, and may still have, ambitions for running for higher public offices. I cannot confirm this, but I have heard it from a number of individuals. My opinion is that our elected officials need to focus on the job they were elected to fill. All energy should be spent on serving the will of their electorate; not taking actions that would be self-serving for future political desires.

In a recent conversation I had with Andy, he indicated that his first choice was to run for State Representative. Others told him that he did not have the experience, and needed more time in an elected position at the local level. That is why he chose to run for Township Supervisor.

In a recent conversation I had with Mike, he confirmed that he had no aspirations to higher elected office. He wanted to spend time helping Oakland Township move forward in a manner that maintains the beauty and character that has made it the place we all love to live.




Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township, and what can you do about it? Our Township cannot afford to have another four year of Terry Gonser as our Supervisor. We currently have two additional candidates, Andy Zale and Mike Bailey. Either would be a significant improvement over Terry Gonser.

With three candidates in the running, the potential for Gonser to win increases. Several citizens have commented that if Terry wins, we would lose the valued services of both Andy and Mike.

I have expressed my opinion as to whom I prefer for Supervisor. You may or may not agree, but if you agree that either would be better for our Township than Terry Gonser, and you would like to see both Andy and Mike continue to serve our Township, I suggest you visit the following websites, and email your preferred candidate letting him know of your support AND also email the other candidate, encouraging him to run for Trustee. We do need both of these valued individuals serving our Township.  Please send your emails soon, so Andy or Mike can revise their decision regarding which office to run for prior to the filing deadline of April 19th.

We cannot afford to loose the service of both.

Here are their websites:

Andy Zale         

Mike Bailey      

Thank You!

Richard Michalski






A Conversation with Andy Zale – Candidate for Oakland Township Supervisor

** EDITORIAL Comment **

Jim Foulkrod

Andy Zale, currently the Chairman of the Oakland Township Parks and Recreation Commission, recently announced his candidacy for the office of Oakland Township Supervisor. Andy and I  recently had a wide ranging conversation about his reasons for running and the goals he wants to pursue if he is elected to the Office.

Our Supervisor must work better with the township staff and the Board of Trustees

Among the first things Andy told me was that he wants to Improve the relationship between the Township Supervisor and the Township staff and employees.  There has been too much turnover among the people who serve the township.  To some degree this loss of experienced talent has been caused by their interactions with the Township Supervisor.  Andy’s goal is to establish a standard of cordiality and mutual respect in working with the staff and consultants.

He would also work to Improve the tone and tenor of the Supervisor’s leadership of Board of Trustee Meetings.  Over the several years Supervisor Gonser’s leadership style has tended towards one of divisiveness, conflict, disrespect and petulance. In one case his remarks were so slanderous that it was necessary for him to publicly apologize at a subsequent meeting.  Andy’s tenure as Chairman of the Parks commission has been a demonstration of professionalism and leadership.

Planning and Zoning is important to our township

Andy said he is concerned that the Township’s current zoning ordinance is out of step with our Master Plan.  Early in 2010 the Planning Commission completed work on a new Zoning Ordinance that was intended to support the 2005 Master Plan.  The Commission forwarded the completed ordinance to the Board of Trustees with a recommendation that the Board vote their approval and put it into effect.  A group of citizens, some of whom were subsequently elected to the Board of Trustees in 2012, were vocal in their opposition to the new Zoning Ordinance and caused the Board of Trustees to delay its enactment. It is still waiting to be approved.  Andy will make it a high priority to get this cornerstone of our ordinances into effect.

Our Parks and Trails need to be supported

Supervisor Gonser, supported by Trustee Bailey who is currently also running for Supervisor, led an attack on our parks and the Parks Commission.  Gonser has opposed the trails plan from the beginning and  Trustee Mike Bailey was very outspoken in encouraging the Board to reject  the $1.7 million of grant money that would have built the Adams Road trail.  As a result of their actions  the nearly three million dollars of our tax money that we have already been assessed since we approved the millage in 2006 has, so far, yielded only 330 feet of completed Safety Path.

To Andy this is an unacceptable failure to respect the voters will as represented by both their approval of the millage and their responses to Township voter surveys .  Andy, an outdoors enthusiast,  has demonstrated his support for our parks and trails.  As Supervisor Andy  will work to see that our trails millage is used in the way that the millage proposal mandates  – “for the construction and maintenance of a network of safety paths, trails and boardwalks to provide healthy recreational opportunities and safe routes to schools, parks and neighborhoods in the Township”.  

Terry Gonser needs to be defeated

This publication has not been shy about saying that Gonser has not served this township well and that he should not be our Township Supervisor.  Voters have an opportunity to make a much needed change.

We are facing a three candidate race for Township Supervisor. Andy Zale has what it will take to win.  He understands that Terry Gonser will again run an aggressive campaign leveling untrue charges against himself and Mike Bailey .  Gonser will  again make vacant promises to special interests.  Andy has the courage, energy, dedication and stamina to take the high road in this campaign and emerge as the winner.

I urge everyone to vote in the August 2 2016 primary election and to vote for Andy Zale for Oakland Township Supervisor.

Jim Foulkrod



REMINDER: Meet Mike Bailey – Candidate for Supervisor – this Sunday Afternoon!

As previously reported, current Oakland Township Board Trustee, Mike Bailey, has announced his candidacy for Township Supervisor. His campaign kick-off – “Meet the Candidate Open House” –  is scheduled for Sunday March 13, 2016 at the Cranberry Lake Farm. Light refreshments will be provided.

The informal get together will be between 2 and 5 PM. Please drop in to meet Mike and discuss any concerns you may have about our Township.

The specifics on the event are::

SUNDAY March 13th between 2:00 TO 5:00 PM

384 West Predmore Road

Oakland Township, MI 48363

If you have not had the opportunity to visit the Cranberry Lake Farm facilities, it would be a great opportunity to do so and meet Mike.

Here is the brochure on the event (click on brochure to enlarge):

Mike Bailey pictureMike Bailey flier 1

EDITORIAL COMMENT by Richard Michalski

Mike has decided to put his many years of experience (gained while serving our community for 28 years on various Township Commissions and Boards) to greater use by running for Township Supervisor.  

As you may know, the Township has been plagued by many issues since current Supervisor Terry Gonser was elected in 2012.  Many were a result of his own actions.  Many people who supported him in 2012 now acknowledge that he was not properly ‘vetted’, and they no longer support him. 

Supervisor Gonser’s repeated attempts to change the structure of our Township’s governance, by making himself a ‘Strong Supervisor’, was a major reason for the trauma our Township has suffered. He had no experience in our Township’s governance or understanding of its structure, yet he wanted to make himself the main decision maker on all matters that affect the Township. The other Board members finally recognized this, and have recently ‘pulled in the reigns’.  Since he is running for office again, Gonser will likely continue to attempt to change our Township’s structure, resulting in ongoing conflict at the Board level, and a lack of progress on Township issues.

The citizens of Oakland Township can avoid this by electing Mike Bailey as our Supervisor.  Mike brings with him:

  • many years of Township experience, especially in Township planning
  • the knowledge of how our Township works,
  • an understanding of the issues we are facing,
  • personal involvement in resolving many of them,
  • no desire to change our form of governance and
  • no desire to use the Supervisor position as a jumping point for higher political positions.  

Neither of the other two announced candidates for Supervisor possess this collection of attributes. So please come and meet Mike on Sunday, and consider supporting him for the August election.



He is an honorable person who will focus on serving the community – not looking for something that is ‘in it for himself’.

One only need visit the following recent post to understand why Mike Bailey must replace Terry Gonser:

Post summarizing the many examples of Terry Gonser’s ‘ethics’ while in office.

If you are appalled by this behavior, and want to see a change for the good, please come out and meet Mike on Sunday, and consider giving him your support for August.

Richard Michalski


Supporters for Supervisor candidates hand out campaign literature at voting sites

I hope everyone voted yesterday. This is one of those years when we will have several opportunities to exercise our right to vote.  

Yesterday, at many voting locations in out Township, supporters for two of the three announced candidates for Township Supervisor handed out campaign literature for the upcoming Supervisor race.  Supporters for Mike Bailey and Andy Zale handed out this information.  Here are copies of the fliers that were being handed out. 

Mike Bailey’s flier (click on image to enlarge)

Mike Bailey flier

Andy Zale flier (click on image to enlarge)

Andy Zale flier

We will continue to provide upcoming election information as we receive it.

Richard Michalski


Supervisor Gonser announces his plans to run again

Current Supervisor Terry Gonser had a campaign ‘kick-off’ event on March 3, 2016 at the WestWynd Grill for his plans to run for re-election as Supervisor.  He is the third candidate who has announced for that position.  The other two announcements are Mike Bailey and Andy Zale.


Richard Michalski


Trustee Mike Bailey’s Campaign Kick-off event scheduled for March 13

Current Oakland Township Board Trustee, Mike Bailey, has announced his candidacy for Township Supervisor.  His campaign kick-off “Meet the Candidate Open House” is scheduled for Sunday March 13, 2016 at the Cranberry Lake Farm.  Mike has decided to try putting his many years of experience on various Township Commissions and Boards to greater use by running for Township Supervisor.

Mike has invited all to attend the event.  The informal get together will be between 2 and 5 PM.  The address is:

384 West Preadmore Road

Oakland Township, MI 48363

Here is a copy of his invitation announcement (click on image to enlarge):

Mike Bailey Campaigne Kick-0ff

Mike Bailey Kick-off Invitation

Richard Michalski