Category Archives: Supervisor Gonser

MUST WATCH BEFORE YOU VOTE: Gonser’s supporter’s ‘dirty politics’ caught on surveillance video

On August 1, 2016, a day before the election, a supporter of Terry Gonser was caught on surveillance video removing a flier from an Oakland Township owner’s door (although impossible to tell, it appears to have been an Andy Zale flier that is Red White and Blue) and then peered into the house for an eerily long period of time, scaring the children.  She left a copy of Supervisor Gonser’s campaign flier on the door.  

This is yet another example of the lack of integrity in Supervisor Gonser and his campaign.  Please watch the following video.  It should convince you not to vote for Terry Gonser.  It was enough to convince the owner.

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  

THE VIDEO SPEAKS FOR ITSELF!

CAN ANYONE IDENTIFY THIS WOMAN?

Richard Michalski

 

Your vote on Tuesday is critical to Oakland Township’s future!

VOTE
A resident recently made a comment thanking Jim Foulkrod and me for creating this website.  Given the importance of Tuesday’s election, I thought I would share my response with all of you.  Your votes on Tuesday will have a great impact on the future of our Township.  We really cannot afford another four years of Terry Gonser as our Supervisor, and the unprofessional behavior of several candidates running for the Parks and Recreation Commission.  Here is  my response:

Roland,

Thank you for your kind words. The past 3 years were nothing that Jim Foulkrod and I could have predicted. We never thought we would have seen the need to create this website. Both Jim and I had been involved in the Township for years. Jim as a ZBA member, Planning Commission member, Safety Path and Trails Committee member and Township Board Trustee. My involvement was as a Planning Commissioner for almost 27 years. We saw our Township grow and develop. What we were not prepared for was the Township leadership being taken over by someone who considered himself omnipotent, omniscient and was despotic.  We were also not prepared for the unprofessional and unethical behavior of several on the Parks and Recreation Commission.

When Terry Gonser became our Supervisor, we were all threatened. We had to do something to try to keep the citizens informed. On Tuesday, we will find out if we accomplished that goal. It is hard to believe how any person, who understands the things Gonser has done, would vote for him. Yet, we see many signs in our Township supporting Gonser.

Over the years, we have challenged not only Gonser, but the other Board members. We believe we had an impact on the other Board members who initially agreed with Gonser usurping their authority. We have been very careful to make sure all our articles were factual. Terry has repeatedly stated the site is full of lies and innuendo’s. I responded by telling him that if he would identify any false item, I would retract the statement and apologize. There never has been a response from him!

Thanks again, and hope we can celebrate on Tuesday evening!

Richard Michalski

So, if you care about our Township, please get out and vote on Tuesday!  Our future is at stake.

Richard Michalski

Summary of Supervisor Gonser’s actions while in office

The attached video is a summary of Supervisor Terry Gonser’s many egregious actions since taking office in 2012.  The content shown in the video is being distributed to the residents of Oakland Township on a flier so they can make an informed decision when they vote on August 2nd.  I trust many of you have already seen the flier.  

This video is also being posted on the recently created Oakland Township Watchers Facebook Page.

Thanks to the many Oakland Township citizens that have helped make this distribution possible.

Richard Michalski

Supervisor Gonser violated Charter Township Act in 2014!

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

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.

Richard Michalski

 

Legal review underway to determine if Supervisor Gonser had authority to commit Township to significant financial liability without Board knowledge or approval

At the June 14, 2016 Oakland Township Board meeting, Treasurer Langlois disclosed that on September 3, 2014, Supervisor Gonser signed a safety path easement agreement with a property owner to transfer “all responsibility and liability for the safety path and boardwalk to the Township and its residents”.  This agreement was done without any knowledge, or agreement, from the Township Board.  

The agreement could result in hundreds of thousands of dollars of cost to the Township in repair and/or replacement of that badly deteriorated path.  The property involved is on the Southwest corner of Adams and Silverbell Roads.   The parcel is currently owned by a Moceri entity. It was purchased from the church on that corner approximately 90 days after the easement was signed. The easement document that the Supervisor signed indicates that it was prepared by an employee of a Moceri entity.  (The ownership information was corrected after the initial post.   The change in ownership was incorrectly stated as just the opposite of what is now correctly stated.)

Treasurer Langlois stated there is no evidence of a Board review, or a Legal review of this matter (the Township attorney did not appear to have any knowledge of the agreement).  She also stated:

“I do not believe Supervisor Gonser had, or has, the authority to accept easements on behalf of the Township.  Only the Board of Trustees has that authority. The document appears to show an overreach on the part of the Supervisor, and a complete improper action.”

Supervisor Gonser sat silent for almost 3 minutes while others spoke before he stated:

“Unfortunately I don’t remember why I signed it.  I can only state that it certainly did not come in a vacuum.  Someone had to present it to me and indicated it was appropriate to sign, but I don’t remember the specifics of it.” 

He made no attempt at explaining why he did not bring it to the Board for approval, or even for information.

Trustee Ferriolo stated:

“No matter what was involved in the history and rationale for doing it, it should have been brought to the Board.”

The Township attorney has agreed to perform an investigation on this issue and will report out at the next meeting scheduled for June 28, 2016.

 

Here is a video of the June 14th discussion:

 

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  We certainly must wait for the results of the Legal investigation to be complete before we draw any final conclusions, but Supervisor Gonser’s signature, and lack of willingness to inform the entire Board of his actions, is consistent with previous behavior.

This website has reported that Supervisor Gonser has repeatedly attempted to change the governance structure of Oakland Township to one where he would become a full time “Strong Supervisor”. He has taken several unilateral actions without Board approval.  The Board has repeatedly responded by reaffirming Ordinance 97, which limits the Supervisor’s responsibilities, and maintains a professional Township manager who reports to the entire Board.

Here are some key points:

  • This easement agreement will certainly result in significant added costs to our Township.
  • It appears to have been made unilaterally without Board knowledge or agreement.
  • Under normal conditions, Gonser’s action could have resulted in a recall campaign being held.
  • Gonser is currently a candidate for election on August 2nd.
  • The Absentee ballots are going out on June 29th.
  • It is essential that the Legal review be completed by the June 28th Board meeting,
  • It is absolutely essential that we get adequate press coverage immediately after the June 28th meeting, so people can make an informed decision prior to sending in their absentee ballot.

My recommendation is that the Board be prepared to issue a press release on June 29th to the Oakland Press and the Rochester Post informing them of the outcome of the investigation.  If there are acceptable reasons for Gonser’s signature, there may be no need for the press release.  However, the press release may still be necessary since Gonser should have brought it to the Board for information.

The citizens need to have a clear understanding of this situation before they vote!

Richard Michalski

Kalamazoo Township joins the growing number of townships with our form of governance

In December of 2015, the Charter Township of Kalamazoo approved a motion moving their township from a full time Supervisor form of governance to one with a part time Supervisor and a professional manager.  They concluded their community would be better served by having a form of governance similar to Oakland Township’s.

Our current Supervisor, Terry Gonser, has spent three years trying to change our structure to what Kalamazoo is moving away from.  Supervisor Gonser has called our current form of governance “bizarre” and “unworkable” in an Oakland Press article.  

The Kalamazoo Board now understands the wisdom former Oakland Township Supervisor Joan Buser (and the Board at the time) had when our form of governance was changed to it’s current form in 1998.

 

In a recently published article on this website, Oakland Township Clerk Reilly indicated that other townships in the state of Michigan are moving toward Oakland Township’s current form of governance.  One of our residents, Reg Brown, commented that the Charter Township of Kalamazoo was joining those ranks.  On December 14, 2015, the Charter Township of Kalamazoo voted to hire a professional Township manager and a finance director to take effect in November of 2016.

The discussion that occurred at their Board meeting was similar to the many that have occurred at our Board meetings when Supervisor Gonser repeatedly attempted to change our structure to make his position a full time position.

Here is an excerpt from the approved Kalamazoo Board motion.  It does a very good job of capturing the benefits of our (and soon to be their) form of township governance:

“The positions of the Township manager and Financial director would:

  • provide continuity from election to election assuring a stabilizing effect for the efficient Township administrative operations and procedures,
  • professionally address the complexity and sophistication of urban Township operations including an $8 million general fund budget serving nearly 22,000 residents and
  • would assure the implementation of policies and directives of the Township Board.”

One of their Trustee’s stated:

“This proposal is the best chance for professionally managing Township Operations.”

In 1998 Oakland Township Supervisor Joan Buser (who has a Masters Degree in Public Administration)  worked with the Board to change our governance structure away from the “Strong Supervisor” form of governance to the current form of governance.  She stated in a previous post on this matter:

  • “During my tenure I met with many supervisors in Oakland County. Very few were qualified for their position.
  • The results can be seen most dramatically in the zoning ordinances and ordinance compliance.
  • When you drive through the townships that lacked good supervisors you can see what happened when a supervisor was inexperienced and there was no professional manager to help.
  • Once a development occurs that is not compliant with township ordinances you have that eyesore forever.
  • Before running for office, I had worked thirteen years in various capacities for Oakland Township.
  • Holding a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, I did not need a manager, because I was, effectively, a professional manager and an elected Supervisor.
  • Very few citizens have such qualifications. That is why a qualified manager is needed to make things run properly.
  • The Board sets the goals for the township, and the manager facilitates the implementation of these goals.”

Many of her points are the same as those expressed by the Kalamazoo Board members.  Their current Supervisor, Ronald Reid, was a strong supporter, and champion, for making the change in their community.

I strongly suggest that you watch the following video from Kalamazoo Township’s December meeting.  The proposal passed in a 5 to 2 vote.  Their clerk and one trustee were in the minority.  In the clerk’s comments, he raised a potential concern where he could support the proposal.  It is precisely a reason why we do not want a Strong Supervisor form of governance.

 

Joan Buser has a great mind and was a visionary! 

 

 

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  This year’s township elections have several candidates who appear to support going back to the “Strong  Supervisor” form of governance. If re-elected, current Supervisor Gonser will continue to push for making his position a full time position, despite the fact that he does not have the training to “professionally address the complexity and sophistication of urban Township operations” as stated in Kalamazoo’s proposal.

Trustee candidate Lana Mangiapane gave a presentation at the recent ‘Meet and Greet’ in which she claimed Joan Buser hired a professional manager because:

“With retirement on the horizon and wishing to become part time, Mrs. Buser hired Mr. Jim Creech to be the Township Manager in 1998.”

Lana failed to either understand, or acknowledge, the wisdom and fore-site Joan Buser had for the needs of our rapidly growing Township.

This website has posted the position and rationale of many Board candidates on this issue. One candidate, Jeaneane Landers, is still studying the issue.

The following candidates have declined to provide their position and rationale on this issue:

  • Terry Gonser – Supervisor Candidate
  • Andy Zale – Supervisor Candidate
  • Judy Workings – Clerk Candidate
  • Jayson Corey – Trustee Candidate
  • Lana Mangiapane – Trustee Candidate

The absentee ballots will be going out on June 29, 2016 in the mail.  Please consider the candidates responses (or their lack of response) when you vote.

Richard Michalski

 

 

Trustee candidate Lana Mangiapane misrepresents “Meet and Greet” meeting. Can you trust her as an Oakland Township Trustee?

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.

Oakland Township’s ‘Manager’ or ‘Superintendent’ form of governance is growing in popularity in State

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.

Richard Michalski