Oakland Township Officers’ political ambitions prove to be more important than Oakland Township’s welfare

The Oakland Township Board failed to fill the vacant Township Supervisor position at the December 13th Board meeting. The vacancy was created when Supervisor Dominic Abbate resigned at the end of November.  The Board made five attempts to fill the vacancy.  All five attempts failed because three of the six Board members were interested in the position themselves.  Only one of the three Board members interested in the position himself was willing to vote for another candidate.  The personal ambitions of the other two candidates, along with their alliance with other Board Trustees, prevented ANY candidate from receiving the four votes required to fill the vacancy.  If the Board does not approve a candidate at the January meeting, a costly special election will be needed.

As previously reported on this website, there were five candidates interested in filling the vacant Township Supervisor position.  They were:

  • Treasurer – John Giannangeli
  • Clerk – Robin Buxar
  • Trustee – Andy Zale
  • Former Planning Commission member and ZBA member – James Carter
  • Former ZBA member – John Markel

Here is a summary of the motions and votes made by the Board members:

Treasurer John Giannangeli

  • Trustee Mangiapani nominated Treasurer John Giannangeli for the Supervisor position.
  • John Giannangeli seconded his own nomination.
  • During the discussion of the motion, Trustee Mangiapani asked John how he would follow-up on critical items if he was elected.
  • John refused to answer the question.
  • Trustee Mabry who was acting as Supervisor pro-tem, after getting input from Clerk Buxar, agreed that questions would not be allowed.
  • John then explained why he was qualified for the Supervisor position.
  • Resident input was provided.
  • Trustee Mangiapani, John Giannangeli, and Trustee Zale voted in favor of the motion.
  • Since it took four positive votes to approve the nomination, the vote failed.

Clerk Robin Buxar

  • Trustee Mabry nominated Clerk Robin Buxar for the Supervisory position.
  • Trustee Elder seconded her nomination.
  • Robin then explained why she was qualified for the Supervisor position.
  • Resident input was provided.
  • Trustee Mabry, Robin Buxar, and Trustee Elder voted in favor of the motion.
  • Since it took four positive votes to approve the nomination, the vote failed.

Trustee Zale

  • Trustee Mangiapani nominated Trustee Zale for the Supervisory position.
  • Trustee Zale refused to second his own nomination.
  • There was no other Board member who would second the nomination.
  • Clerk Buxar indicated that the motion failed due to no second.

Resident John Markel

  • Trustee Mangiapani nominated resident John Markel for the Supervisory position.
  • There was no other Board member who would second the nomination.
  • Clerk Buxar indicated that the motion failed due to no second.

Resident James Carter

  • Trustee Mangiapani nominated resident James Carter for the Supervisory position.
  • There was no other Board member who would second the nomination.
  • Clerk Buxar indicated that the motion failed due to no second.

The Board meeting ended without the Supervisor position being filled.  The Board must decide within 45 days of the vacancy being created.  As a result, the Board MUST decide at their first Board meeting in January, or there will be a costly special election to fill the position.  Oakland County would determine who would be on the special election ballot.

You can watch the meeting proceedings by clicking on the following:

Why is this important to the Citizens of Oakland Township?

The person who sits in the Supervisor position is critical to the success of our Township. He/she has the responsibility to lead the Board effectively and efficiently through complex and controversial issues based on the existing laws and ordinances that govern our Charter Township. Issues that come up need to be dealt with in a manner that comprehend the desires of the residents of the Township. 

The Treasurer and Clerk Positions are also critical to our Township. The Oath of Office that our Treasurer and Clerk took when they were sworn in, would best be served if they continued to fulfill their commitment to those positions. If they are interested in the Supervisor position, they can run for that position in 2024.

From the author’s perspective, we have two candidates that are eminently qualified for the Supervisory position. They are Andy Zale & James Carter. Both individuals had demonstrated their ability to lead Township Commissions through complex issues while involving residents in a non-confrontational manner.  In addition, Trustee Zale was the only Board member who was willing to vote for someone other than himself for the Supervisory position.

The political ambitions of our Township’s Treasurer and Clerk, coupled with the strong alliances they each formed with other Township Trustees, resulted in the gridlock visible at this Board meeting. Many of them indicated that any of the three Board members would make a good Supervisor, but they were not willing to switch their votes away from their preferred candidate, even though they had already been defeated.

There may be enough time between now and the 2024 election to find citizens willing to work on behalf of the Township, not their own political ambitions or friendships.

Richard Michalski

3 thoughts on “Oakland Township Officers’ political ambitions prove to be more important than Oakland Township’s welfare

  1. Diana

    I believe although expensive, a special election is the best way to get the Supervisor issue resolved. All those board members have their elected positions- let the voters decide.

    Reply
  2. dianeobennett

    Thanks for writing about this and listing the votes, seconds, etc. Very interesting and I am surprised that Andy Zale wasn’t appointed.

    Reply
  3. richardjmichalski Post author

    A number of the Board members appear to dislike the somewhat autonomous nature of the Parks Commission. The Parks Commission is an independently elected group that has designed, developed, maintained and installed the beautiful park system in our Township. Some of the Board members would like to have the Parks and Recreation Commission report directly to them. Andy’s close affiliation and support for Parks is probably one of the reasons he could not even get a second for his nomination.

    Reply

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