** EDITORIAL Comment **
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.