At the June 14 , 2016 Board meeting, the Township attorney was asked to review the historical documents, and determine if Supervisor Gonser had authority to sign an easement agreement without Board knowledge or approval. At the June 28, 2016 Board meeting, the attorney concluded, even though there were past administrative failures that resulted in the easement not being officially approved and recorded back in 2004, Supervisor Gonser should have brought the issue to the Board prior to him signing it on September 3, 2014. His signature violated the Charter Township Act.
- Supervisor Gonser, attempted to prevent the attorney’s conclusions from being made public.
- Supervisor Gonser tried to blame the attorney by saying there were undocumented conversations on this matter and that he “was not advised not to bring it to the Board”. (There was no evidence that the attorney was ever aware of the issue prior to the June 14, 2016 meeting.)
- Supervisor Gonser indicated there had been considerable discussion prior to signing the agreement, even though he could not recall anything about this issue at the June 14th Board meeting.
- Supervisor Gonser tried to blame the Planning Commission for the administrative issue that resulted in the failure to have the deed recorded back in 2004, even though it was not the Planning Commissions responsibility.
- Supervisor Gonser attempted to defend his failure to bring it to the Board for review and agreement, even though his actions violated the Charter Township Act, by saying:
“What would have been the difference! . . . . .It was a done deal!”
So what happens now? Since there never was an official Board motion (in 2004 or 2014) to approve the easement agreement, and the Board wants to understand the Township’s legal responsibility for this easement, the issue will come back to the Board for final resolution.
Here is a video of the meeting proceedings. It does provide a very clear picture of Supervisor Gonser’s thought process and character.
Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township? Since there were previous commitments made regarding the easement but they had not been officially recorded, the Township administrative procedures need to be reviewed to ensure this type of failure does not occur again.
However, the Supervisor’s:
- lack of understanding that the issue should have been brought to the Board,
- his rationalization for violating the Charter Township Act because “What would have been the difference?”,
- his apparent selective memory on this issue by his conflicting comments made at the June 14th and 28th meetings,
- his lack of understanding of the responsibilities of the Planning Commission,
- his accusing two residents of ‘parsing’ his words,
- and his attempts to place blame on others,
should raise concerns by our citizens. Is this the type of leader we want as Supervisor for the next four years? He has previously indicated he wants to take over all administrative responsibilities for the Township and eliminate our full time professional Township manager position. Do you really think we can trust him?
Personally, I think he would have been better off if he had simply admitted that he “screwed up” and should have brought it to the Board. There is no harm in admitting to a mistake – trying to place blame on others for a personal failure is another matter. ‘Nixonian’ is the best term I can come up with to describe his behavior.