The May 17, 2016 “Meet and Greet’ event that Trustee candidate Lana Mangiapane (and an undefined ‘women’s group’) set up was not the unbiased event that she claimed it to be. Aside from the brief comments from two of the three Supervisor candidates, it became a forum for Lana to present information supporting Supervisor Terry Gonser’s attempt at making his position a full time one in our Township. The event did not present a balanced perspective on this important issue. Lana is a candidate for Township Trustee this year.
On May 17, 2016 there was a “Meet and Greet” event that Trustee candidate Lana Mangiapane set up for Oakland Township citizens to meet this year’s Supervisor candidates for our Township. She claimed it was set up by a woman’s group in the community. The event was advertised in the “Community Lifestyles” newspaper that residents of Rochester, Rochester Hills and Oakland Township receive. Even though she had presented the meeting as an unbiased political meeting, the event ended up being a political campaign event for Terry Gonser. Lana’s presentation was supportive of Terry Gonser’s desire to become a “Strong Supervisor” for Oakland Township. Lana did not provide a counter perspective on the issue that is shared by the two other candidates for Supervisor.
Terry Gonser attended the entire meeting. Andy Zale were able to attend a portion of the meeting. He had another Township meeting he had to attend, so he left shortly after introducing himself and giving a short speech. Mike Bailey had a previous commitment and was unable to attend.
After Andy and Terry made their introductory comments, Andy left. Lana then gave a 10 minute presentation on the history of the Supervisor position in Oakland Township. The presentation focused on the fact that Oakland Township does not have a “Strong Supervisor” form of governance. Supervisor Gonser has spent the last 3 plus years trying to change Oakland Township’s form of governance into one where his position would be a full time position. He would eliminate the professionally trained municipal manager that runs the day to day operations in the Township.
The current Board has repeatedly rejected Gonser’s attempt to change the existing structure of our Township. Lana’s presentation was clearly attempting to influence the public into thinking that what we have is not appropriate for our Township. She did not provide a balance perspective that would have included the reasons the current Board used to justify why our current structure is in the best interest of our Township.
After Lana gave her presentation, I asked her if there would be a venue where the other perspective on the issue could be presented. She responded by saying:
“Today this presentation . . . it was just the information that was printed that we presented.”
She went on to say:
“This may be something that we take up at one of the meetings.”
Prior the ‘Meet and Greet”, there were attempts by others to get clarification of who were members of the the “womens group” that organized the event and when they met. Lana refused to provide any information.
After the formal presentation, I asked Lana who prepared the presentation. She responded by saying:
“It was given to me by someone.”
I then asked her who gave it to her. She refused to give me the name of the person, and then walked away.
On May 18th, one of the attendees posted a comment on this website’s Home Page regarding his attempt at getting a copy of the Lana’s presentation. Here is a copy of his comment. You can also read it under the Home Page comments.
“Yesterday I attended the Meet the Candidates for Township Supervisor. I found the presentation to be very informative and was hoping to have an electronic copy for my notes. I was told that I needed to put ‘Candidate’ next to my name on the signup sheet and I would have a copy emailed to me. When I went to go back to the signup sheet, the sheets were taken up and put somewhere. When I went back to the person who told me to add ‘Candidate’ she said that I was not allowed to have a copy of the presentation. Transparency and Accountability were two key words used and yet these actions do not support either…”
Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township? This summer’s election will have profound effects on Oakland Township’s future. The issue of whether Oakland Township should have a “Strong Supervisor” form of governance has become a central issue in this year’s Supervisor’s race. Supervisor Gonser has been trying to change the structure of Oakland Township for over 3 years. He wants his position to be a full time position, where he would take over all administrative responsibilities in our Township, including managing the many technical municipal management items for which he has no experience. The other two Supervisor candidates do not support that position. They want to keep the current structure, where the Supervisor and the Board rely on a trained professional municipal manager to run the day to day operations of the Township, with direction from the entire Board.
It appears there are a number of Trustee candidates, including Lana Mangiapane, who agree with Terry Gonser’s desire for a ‘Strong Supervisor’. If a majority of these candidates get elected, they will change the structure of our Township.
Lana’s attempts to use the “Meet and Greet” forum as a campaign event for Terry Gonser’s ‘platform plank’, while implying the the meeting as an unbiased political event, convinced me that she is not trustworthy enough to gain my vote. Her refusal to disclose:
- who the ‘women’s group’ are,
- who put the presentation together,
- who gave her the presentation
were further examples of her lack of transparency.
To quote the person who posted a comment on our Home Page,
“Transparency and Accountability were two key words used and yet these actions do not support either…”
Here is a link to a previous post that references the “Strong Supervisor’ discussions that have occurred at past Board meeting.
Since this is an important issue for the citizens of Oakland Township to consider when they vote on August 2nd, the editors of this website will reach out to each of the Trustee candidates to ask them to express their position on this important issue. Hopefully we will get responses from all of them.