Category Archives: Parks and Recreation Commission

Civility will return to Oakland Township! Our reputation restored!

Congratulations! Our collective efforts have been successful!


Here are the names of the unofficial winners of the Oakland Township Board positions for 2016-2020 – pending the results of the November election:

Supervisor – Mike Bailey

Treasurer – Jeanne Langlois

Clerk – Karen Reilly

Trustee – Robin Buxar

Trustee – Frank Ferriolo

Trustee – John Giannangeli

Trustee – Lana Mangiapane  (only member of Terry Gonser’s ‘ticket’)

Here are the names of the unofficial winners of the Oakland Township Parks and Recreation Commission positions for 2016-2020 – pending the results of the November election:

Emily Barkham

Craig Blust

Dan Bukowski

Colin Choi

Cathy Rooney

Daniel Simon

Hank Van Agen

In addition, both the Parks renewal millage and the OPC transportation millage were approved.

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?

With these public servants:

  • Civil, ethical and professional behavior will be restored at both the Board and Parks Commission level.
  • Turmoil regarding the form of governance in Oakland Township will be eliminated.
  • The certainty of the position of Township Manager will enable us to have the most qualified professional municipal manager run the day to day operations in the Township.
  • Conflicts between the Board and the Parks and Recreation Commission will be eliminated.
  • The great reputation of our Township will be restored.

Will there be difficult and contentious issues our community will have to deal with?  Absolutely!  Will there be differences of opinion on how to resolve the issues?  Absolutely!

However, we have seen how the returning Board members have developed and worked together as a team over the past few years.  Our future looks bright!

Thanks to all the great candidates that chose to run for office!  Thanks to the retiring Parks and Recreation Commission members for ‘vetting’ the new Commission’s candidates, so their legacy will continue!  Thanks to the countless others that helped get the new officials elected! Thanks to all those who have been following this website!  Thanks to all of those who contributed to the ‘Oakland Township Watchers Action Committee’ for helping to make the election results a success!

BUT, most of all, thanks to all those who voted!


Richard Michalski & Jim Foulkrod




Do Ann Marie Rogers, Roger Schmidt and Beth Markel, and their ‘slate’, deserve your votes for Parks Commissioners?

Over the past 3+ years, the actions of Parks and Recreation Commissioners Ann Marie Rogers, Roger Schmidt, and candidate Beth Markel, have raised questions in many citizen’s minds as to whether they are appropriate for any elected or appointed positions in our Township.  Their actions have been considered disruptive and counterproductive. Here is a video discussing their many questionable actions over the years.

Here are previous posts and an Oakland Press article that documents the actions mentioned in the video.  Please consider these when making your decisions on the Parks and Recreation Commission candidates.

Former Trustee Thalmann and Current Park’s Commissioner Rogers DID forward “Privileged and Confidential” material!

Parks Commissioner Ann Marie Rogers attempts to defend her behavior

Oakland Press article on Ann Marie Rogers being censured by Oakland Township Parks Commission

Two Parks Commissioners plus Beth Markel file lawsuit against four other Parks Commissioners – Papers served by Board Trustee Thalmann’s husband

Parks Commissioners’ lawsuit against fellow Commission members rejected by Judge for second time

Ann Marie Rogers called a citizen a “whore” and “a little bit worse” at a Board meeting

PRC Commissioner Rogers accuses a “cabal” of Open Meeting Act violations

Park’s Commission Treasurer Roger Schmidt accuses Commission of using Land Preservation Fund as ‘slush turn’ with no supporting facts

Ann Marie Rogers and Roger Schmidt storm out of meeting after Ann Marie was removed from Personnel committee

Park’s Commissioner Roger Schmidt admits ‘sabotaging’ subcommittee meeting

Parks candidates Ann Marie Rogers, Roger Schmidt, Beth Markel, James Clark, and Brian Cecilio, as well as Supervisor Gonser, Clerk candidate, Judy Workings, and Trustee candidates Lana Mangiapane, Jason Corey and Jeaneane Landers do not support Parks renewal millage.

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township? The actions and behavior of a community’s leaders are a reflection on the residents of the community, since we elect those individuals.  The previous actions of candidates Ann Marie Rogers, Roger Schmidt and Beth Markel should be considered when you vote this summer for Parks and Recreation Commissioners.

At their “Meet and Greet” event held on June 27, the candidates handed out a flier that indicated their entire ‘slate’ of Parks candidates (Rogers, Schmidt, Markel, Clark, and Cecilio) do not support renewing the Parks millage.  The flier also indicated that Supervisor Gonser, Clerk candidate Judy Workings, and the Trustee candidates Mangiapane, Corey, Ricketts and Landers also do not support renewing the millage.  Please consider their position on Parks when you vote on February 2nd.

If you support our Parks, please consider voting for the following seven Park’s Commission candidates that have been endorsed by the long-standing, award winning, retiring Parks Commissioners.

The seven candidates are:

Emily Barkham
Craig Blust
Dan Bukowski
Colin Choi
Cathy Rooney
Daniel Simon
Hank Van Agen


Someone suggested the following acronym:

“CARS plus 3 B’s”


A= van Agen

R= Rooney

S= Simon

B= Barkham

B= Blust

B= Bukowski

It works for me, and hopefully for you.  But remember:

  • the ‘C’ is for Choi, not Clark or Cecilio
  • the ‘R’ is for Rooney, not Ann Marie Rogers and
  • the ‘S’ is for Simon, not Roger Schmidt

Best approach, write the names down before you enter the voting booth, or take a picture of your list on your ‘smart phone’, and review the picture in the voting booth.  Do not leave anything in the booth when you leave.

You can learn much more about each of these candidates by visiting the ‘Park Protectors’ website at:

Richard Michalski


Parks Commission and Board ‘ticket’ candidates are recommending ‘NO’ vote on Parks renewal millage

At the June 27, 2016 “Meet-and-Greet” candidate event that Trustee candidate Lana Mangiapane set up, it was discovered that ALL of the Parks and Recreation Commission and Board candidates that were sponsoring this event are recommending a ‘NO’ vote on the Parks renewal millage.  They are running for office as a ‘ticket’   One of their documents states:

“This action will NOT close the Parks, it would simply turn the funding of the parks to the Trustees.”

The candidates who are running as a ‘ticket’ include:

Parks and Recreation Commission

  • Ann Marie Rogers
  • Beth Markel
  • James Clark
  • Bryan Cecilio

Township Board

  • Terry Gonser – for Supervisor
  • Judy Workings – for Clerk (*)
  • Jayson Corey – for Trustee
  • Lana Mangiapane – for Trustee
  • Jeaneane Landers – for Trustee (*)
  • Bob Ricketts – for Trustee (*)

(*) Were not present at event

One of the documents being handed out by the group is ‘illegal’ since it does not identify who authored the document.  When questioned who was the source of the document, none of the candidates answered.  However, since this document was being handed out at their ‘ticket’ campaign events, they all share in the responsibility for the content and legality of the document.

This illegal document is the same one that was previously reported as being distributed on residents mailboxes along with some candidate campaign literature.  See “Fact sheet on Parks and Recreation Commission and millage renewal”.

A second document they were handing out indicates that they all recommend voting ‘NO’ on the parks renewal millage.

Oakland Township election slate

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  There has never been such a clear distinction between the candidates who are running for the Parks and Recreation Commission. The four Parks candidates named above must think that the money for managing the Parks will ‘magically’ come from the Trustees.  Where is that money coming from?

As I stated, the choice is clear!  If you like the Parks in Oakland Township, please vote ‘yes’ on the millage renewal, and the true ‘Park Protectors‘ shown here:

Emily Barkham
Craig Blust
Dan Bukowski
Colin Choi
Cathy Rooney
Daniel Simon
Hank Van Agen

The choice is also clear regarding the candidates for the Board.  Knowing the millage renewal position of the Board candidates mentioned above is one factor the voters should consider.  It is also interesting that none (Jeaneane Landers being the exception) of the Board candidates running on this ‘ticket’ have provided their position on the form of governance they recommend for Oakland Township.  Jeaneane Landers has stated that she supports changing our structure to what Supervisor Gonser has been trying to do for almost 4 years  – Gonser being a full time Supervisor, and elimination of the the full time professional municipal Manager position.

Absentee Ballots are going out this week.  It will be an interesting summer!

Richard Michalski


Fact sheet on Parks and Recreation Commission and millage renewal

Parks Commission sign

A number of residents have been receiving fliers on their mailboxes recommending voting ‘no’ on the upcoming Parks  millage.  These fliers have no identification on them as to who generated the flier.  However, they have been  included with campaign fliers from several Parks and Recreation candidates.

It is a criminal offense under the Michigan Campaign Finance Act (as quoted below) to distribute election material without identifying who paid for it.

Section 169.247
Act 388 of 1976

Sec. 47.
(1) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection and subject to subsections (3) and (4), a billboard, placard, poster, pamphlet, or other printed matter having reference to an election, a candidate, or a ballot question, shall bear upon it an identification that contains the name and address of the person paying for the matter.

(6) A person who knowingly violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or imprisonment for not more than 93 days, or both.

Several current Parks and Recreation Commissioners felt Township citizens should be provided the facts to offset the false statements claimed on the flier.  Here is their fact sheet:


  • In the 2015 Planning Commission Survey, Parks and Recreation topped the list of positive changes in Oakland Township according to township residents. Oakland Township residents have supported parks millages for over 40 years. Thank you!
  • In a 2009 publication of The Trust for Public Land, studies showed that excellent parks can add 15 percent to the value of a nearby dwelling.
  • Over the years, the Parks and Recreation Commission has purchased the most valuable natural areas for our parks as determined by a professional land survey IN 1974.
  • Wetlands clean our groundwater, provide habitat for fish and wildlife, store floodwater and maintain surface water during dry periods. Wetlands are among the world’s most productive ecosystems, comparable to rainforests or coral reefs. They are neither “unusable” nor just “swamps.”
  • According to the 2016 National Recreation and Parks Association Field Report, Oakland Township Parks and Recreation’s annual operating expenditures, based upon the Township’s population, is 14% lower than a typical park agency.
  • The real cost of salary and benefits for our PRC is actually only 33% of the revenue provided to the Parks and Recreation Commission, less than half of what parks opponents have alleged.
  • Equipment purchased for PRC employees are necessary for parks work. Examples include two-way radios required for the safety of prescribed burn crews and communication at large events, phones for reporting emergencies or using online sources during field work, a golf cart for transporting disabled and elderly residents at events and equipment etc.
  • All park properties are open to the public.  Federal grants don’t restrict residents from using parks. They do restrict such things as water towers and cellphone towers.
  • Of the total 1100 acres of Oakland Township park land, 782 acres could have been otherwise developed as subdivisions. Instead the PRC applied for grants that funded 132 acres, worked with generous land owners who donated 242 acres as well as negotiating purchases of 726 acres.
  • Professionals are hired for park design and master planning because of their knowledge of federal, state and local requirements and their expertise on practical as well as aesthetic design issues.
  • The Parks and Rec Commission demonstrates prudent budgeting by keeping a fund balance to cover future costs – a strategy used by most sensible families. Since the PRC receives its funding once each year, money must be reserved to cover operations, park improvements, programs and matching funds for potential grants until the revenue is received.
  • Legal fees for the 2015/16 PRC fiscal year were 2% of the total budget (Parks and Land Preservation).
  • The PRC creates a new Master Plan for the Oakland Township Parks every five years.  In the 2015 PRC Master Plan survey, residents responded that the most desired park facilities are walking and biking trails, fitness trails, greenspace, natural areas, and off-leash dog park.  The highest interests in recreation included walking, biking, sledding, ice skating, canoeing/kayaking and fishing.  All of these are currently part of the OT Parks and Recreation programming.

Information provided by Current PRC Commissioners

Colleen Barkham

Joe Peruzzi

Alice Tomboulian

Some answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on the millage can be seen by clicking:

FAQ on Parks Millage

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  Having the facts before voting on the millage issue is critical.  The three current Parks and Recreation Commission members who have responded to the false information in the flier, as well as Parks Commissioner David Mackley, are recent State award winning Parks Commissioners for their “ongoing and tireless commitment to Parks and Recreation Programs and Services in their communities.”  They are all retiring after years of service to our community. Their efforts, and your past support for parks millages, have been responsible for the outstanding Parks System Oakland Township possesses.  In order to continue that legacy, they have endorsed the following candidates for the Parks Commission.

Emily Barkham
Craig Blust
Dan Bukowski
Colin Choi
Cathy Rooney
Daniel Simon
Hank Van Agen

If you like the Parks in Oakland Township, please vote ‘yes’ on the millage renewal, and the true ‘Park Protectors shown above.

NOTE: The campaign information for these candidates was not what was included with the flier mentioned in the first paragraph of this post.

Richard Michalski


Your vote for these candidates will help “Preserve our Parks for the Next Generation”

Parks Commission sign

The seven positions for Oakland Township’s Parks and Recreation Commission will be on the August 2nd ballot.  Since none of the longstanding members of the Commission are running for re-election, a group of concerned citizens have come together to build upon what those Commissioners and their predecessors have accomplished.  The seven candidates call their group the “Park Protectors”.  This group is endorsed by the four longest standing current members of the Parks Commission – Colleen Barkham, David Mackley, Alice Tomboulian and Joe Perruzi.

Oakland Township is recognized for the great park system that has been created in our community.  It is the envy of many surrounding communities.  The seven candidates who are part of the “Parks Protectors” are dedicated to ‘Preserving our Parks for the Next Generation’.  As one candidate has stated, he will work to have the Park system “grow and flourish while making the past practice a future reality”.

The seven candidates are:

  • Emily Barkham
  • Craig Blust
  • Dan Bukowski
  • Colin Choi
  • Cathy Rooney
  • Daniel Simon
  • Hank Van Agen

You can learn much more about each of these candidates by visiting the ‘Park Protectors’ website at:

Here is a copy of their campaign literature (click on images to enlarge):

Parks Commission candidates

Flyer front

Flyer back

Remember to vote on August 2nd!

Please share this information with your friends and neighbors!

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  Since 2012, the Parks Commission has been plagued with internal divisiveness. Two current members, who are running for re-election, as well as a third person who is running for the commission, have been the source of this divisiveness.  Many of their actions have been reported on this website.

If you like what you have seen in our park system, on August 2nd please consider voting for the seven candidates who are endorsed by the retiring commissioners you know and trust.

Remember to vote on August 2nd, since the seven positions will be decided at that election since their are no Democratic candidates on the August or November ballots.

Richard Michalski



Park’s Commissioner Roger Schmidt admits ‘sabotaging’ subcommittee meeting

A person's actions tell you everthing you need to know

At the April 13, 2016 Parks and Recreation Commission (PRC) meeting, Parks Commissioner Roger Schmidt admitted that he attended a PRC subcommittee meeting with the intent that the meeting would be terminated.  The official subcommittee members included Alice Tombulian, Ann Marie Rogers and Joe Peruzzi.  

Roger Schmidt disregarded previous input from the Parks and Recreation attorney, who stated subcommittee meetings should not have more than three commissioners attend because it could be considered a violation of the Open Meetings Act, since a quorum of the PRC would be present.  The Township Board’s attorney agreed with the PRC attorney’s assessment.  

Roger Schmidt’s attendance at the subcommittee meeting did result in the meeting being terminated.  As a result, any work the subcommittee was attempting to accomplish on a dog park for our Township had stopped.  Ironically, in the past, Roger Schmidt has supported having a dog park facility in one of our Township Parks.  

Prior to the February 10, 2016 PRC meeting, Chairman Zale asked for volunteers for the dog park subcommittee.  Commissioner Schmidt did not respond.  The other three members did respond, and were appointed to the subcommittee.   Roger Schmidt was upset that he was not selected as a subcommittee member and voted against the subcommittee, as did Commissioner Ann Marie Rogers. 

Oakland Township’s Parks and Recreation Commission has been considering establishing a dog park in one of our Township parks.  Alice Tombulian was an advocate for this prior to Roger Schmidt and Ann Marie Rogers joining the PRC in 2012.  The PRC established the subcommittee mentioned above to recommend in which Township park a dog park would make the most sense.  They were to review background dog park information, including work that had been done by a citizen ‘ad hoc dog park committee’.  That citizen group had previously recommended Bear Creek Nature Park.  Ann Marie Rogers was part of the ‘ad hoc’ group.  The Bear Creek proposal had been rejected by the PRC in a 5 to 2 vote for a number of reasons. Ann Marie Rogers and Roger Schmidt wanted to proceed with the Bear Creek proposal as submitted by the citizen ‘ad hoc’ group.

The first subcommittee meeting was held on March 16th.  The meeting began with Joe Peruzzi, Alice Tombulian and Ann Marie Rogers attending. The meeting was open to the public.   When Roger Schmidt walked in, Chairperson Peruzzi terminated the meeting based on advice from the PRC attorney.  The Township Board’s Attorney agreed with that decision.

At the April 13, 2016 PRC meeting, Joe Peruzzi gave a brief description of the March 16th meeting, and why it was terminated.

Ann Marie Rogers stated:

“Commissioner Schmidt attended this dog park ‘charade’ committee as a private citizen.  This Commission cannot take away his rights as a resident.

The fact that we even had this meeting is the first place, I believe, was a ‘sham and a charade’.  every penny was removed from the Budget.”

To which Parks and Recreation Treasurer Roger Schmidt agreed and said:


Parks and Recreation Manager, Mindy Milos-Dale, corrected Ann Marie and Treasurer Schmidt pointing out that there was $25,000 in the budget for the dog park work.

Commissioner Roger Schmidt stated:

“Another reason I went there (the meeting) was this is a waste of everybody’s time and BY GOING THERE, I KNEW THAT THEY WOULD GO AHEAD AND CLOSE THE MEETING DOWN, because that should have been done.  It (the meeting) shouldn’t have been done in the first place.”

During citizen comments, 2016 Parks and Recreation candidate, Beth Markel, defended the presence of Roger Schmidt at the meeting, even though it violated the recommendation of two Township attorneys.

Here is a video of comments made at the April 13th meeting:


Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  Since the current Parks and Recreation Commission members were elected in 2012, there has been considerable conflict on the Commission.  Ann Marie Rogers, Roger Schmidt and 2016 PRC candidate Beth Markel filed a complaint accusing other Commissioners of violating the Open Meeting’s Act.  The Court dismissed their charges.  They are appealing the Court’s decision.

Roger Schmidt’s admission that he intentionally attended the meeting to cause it to be terminated speaks to the disruptive approach both he and Ann Marie Rogers have taken in dealing with Parks and Recreation issues over the past few years.  Last year the two of them got up and left a meeting in anger before the meeting was over. Roger’s lack of understanding that there is $25,000 in the budget for a dog park indicates that he is not qualified to be the Treasurer for the PRC.

The parks in Oakland Township are the envy of many surrounding communities. These parks are the result of years of cooperative and creative work by Parks and Recreation Commissioners.  We currently have two Commissioners that appear to want to change the historically non-political nature of the Commission using divisive actions.  Oakland Township deserves better than the childish and vindictive behavior (like storming out of the January 14, 2015 PRC meeting , and subverting the efforts of the subcommittee) when things do not go their way.

We will have an opportunity later this year to elect an entirely new Parks and Recreation Commission.  Our votes will determine the future direction of our parks.  We can elect a group of people that will work together respectful of one another, or continue to have the disruptive behavior that has been present for the last 3+ years.  Your votes will have in impact on our Township’s future. Stay tuned for more information on the Parks and Recreation candidates on this website.

Richard Michalski




Parks Commissioner Ann Marie Rogers violates her own criteria for holding public office

Parks and Recreation Commissioner, Ann Marie Rogers, expressed behavior standards for Township officials at the March 22, 2016 Oakland Township Board meeting.  Her own behavior in January 2015 demonstrates she does not meet that standard.

At the March 22, 2016 Oakland Township Board meeting, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Ann Marie Rogers commented that she did not support the potential appointment of fellow Parks and Recreation Commissioner, Joe Peruzzi, to the Zoning Board of Appeals.  She commented that she witnessed many actions by Joe Peruzzi that should disqualify him for any public position. She claimed Joe:

  • “Lacked a thoughtful temperament”
  • “Showed disrespect toward residents”
  • “Possessed an unpredictable and angry nature”

Several Board members took issue with the accuracy of her statements.

Ann Marie’s comments reminded several residents of her behavior that was discussed at the January 14, 2015  Parks and Recreation Commission meeting.  At that meeting, a resident, Joanna VanRaaphorst, described inappropriate and aggressive behavior she witnessed Ann Marie exhibit against a fellow citizen during the previous night’s Board meeting.  Joanna commented that Ann Marie Rogers had turned around and called another citizen “a whore”, and created a hostile environment for citizens attending the meeting.

Ann Marie Rogers defended her actions, and said she even said things “a little bit worse”.  There was no acknowledgment of inappropriate behavior.

Here is a video documenting the proceedings that are described above:

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  With this year being an election year for the Township Board and Parks and Recreation Commissioners, the citizens need to make sure we elect people who meet our standards for acceptable behavior. Ann Marie Rogers expressed a good set of standards in the March 22nd meeting.  Since she is running for office again this year, she should be held accountable to those same standards.  Her behavior at the January 13, 2015 Board meeting and the Parks and Recreation meeting on January 14, 2015 demonstrate that she does not meet them.

Finally, the allegations she made against Joe Peruzzi continue to be unsubstantiated.  The Board approved his nomination for the Zoning Board in a 5 to 1 vote.  Supervisor Gonser, who had made similar accusations, was the sole dissenting vote.

Richard Michalski