Category Archives: Supervisor Gonser

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

As many of you are aware, Supervisor Gonser, and former Trustee Maureen Thalmann, made repeated attempts at changing Oakland Township’s structure from a “Manager” form of governance to a “Strong Supervisor” form of governance.  He and Maureen wanted to change the Supervisor position to a full time position and eliminate the full time professional manager position.  The Supervisor would assume all of the day to day operations in the Township with assistance from a part time support person.

At the April 12, 2016 BOT meeting, Clerk Karen Reilly reported that many Township’s in the state are moving away from the ‘Strong Supervisor” form of governance to what we currently have in Oakland Township.  

Here is a video of Karen Reilly’s comments:

There have been many previous articles posted on this website regarding Supervisor Goner’s attempts at changing the structure of our Township.  Many of them cover the reasons why our current ‘Manager’ structure is preferred, and why Supervisor Gonser’s actions are reasons why a “Strong Supervisor” form of governance is not in Oakland Township’s best interest. Other communities are apparently coming to the same conclusion.

Here are links to previous posts on this topic:

2013

2014

2015

The above articles make it clear why other communities are moving AWAY FROM their “Strong Supervisor” structures TO what Supervisor Gonser considers a “bizarre and unworkable” form of governance.  Maybe the ‘bizarre and unworkable’ adjectives apply to Supervisor Gonser, as former Township manager Warren Brown suggested in his resignation statement noted above.

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  Supervisor Gonser is planning on running for reelection this summer and fall.  Although he did not disclose his desire to change how Oakland Township is structured prior to his election in 2012, his actions over the past few years make it clear what his intentions were and continue to be.

Between now and the primary elections this summer, there will certainly be discussions regarding the advantages and disadvantages of both forms of governance.  I recommend you read some of the previous postings listed above to familiarize yourself with why we have our current ‘Manager’ form of governance.

It is very interesting that other communities are moving away from what Supervisor Gonser is proposing.  Our current structure has helped create our outstanding community.  It appears other communities are beginning to see the wisdom of our ways.

Please consider Terry Gonser’s position on this in the upcoming summer election.

Richard Michalski

Comparison chart of candidates for Oakland Township Supervisor position – One Editor’s Opinion

The cutoff date for submitting petitions by individuals who are interested in running for office is rapidly approaching.  April 19th is the cutoff date.  As of today, I am aware of three candidates who have submitted their signed petitions for Supervisor.  As I stated in a previous post, there are two editors for this website- myself and Jim Foulkrod.  We have differences of opinion regarding who is the best candidate for the Supervisor position.  However, we both agree that current Supervisor Gonser is not the best person for the position based on his actions and performance over the past 3+ years.

I have put together a comparison chart that shows the qualities I would like to see in our next Supervisor.  I included my perspective on each candidate in those areas.  You may have other criteria & perspectives that you feel will influence your voting decision this summer.

Here is the comparison chart (click on image to enlarge):

Candidate comparison chart - RJM

For even LARGER image, click on following link:

Oakland Township Supervisor candidate comparison chart

Please review the chart, and feel free to comment on the various candidates.  Please do not use ‘pseudonyms’ or inappropriate comments

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  As many of you know, we have had a very turbulent 3+ years since Supervisor Gonser came to office.  We need to make sure we select a Supervisor that will prevent our citizens, and surrounding communities, from questioning:

“What in the world is going on in Oakland Township?”

A thoughtful analysis of the candidates and your informed decision, will help make sure that happens.

From my perspective, Mike Bailey is the right choice for that position!

Richard Michalski

A Conversation with Andy Zale – Candidate for Oakland Township Supervisor

** EDITORIAL Comment **

Jim Foulkrod

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.

Jim Foulkrod

 

 

Supervisor Gonser announces his plans to run again

Current Supervisor Terry Gonser had a campaign ‘kick-off’ event on March 3, 2016 at the WestWynd Grill for his plans to run for re-election as Supervisor.  He is the third candidate who has announced for that position.  The other two announcements are Mike Bailey and Andy Zale.

2016 KICKOFF INVITATION PDF

Richard Michalski

 

IMPORTANT: Draft Ordinance controlling Oil and Gas drilling in Oakland Township in jeopardy

The efforts of our Township Board to control the location of oil and gas drilling operations in Oakland Township may be impacted by a memo from the Michigan DEQ.  The DEQ’s position is in response to a request from Supervisor Gonser.   As you may recall, Supervisor Gonser was opposed to moving forward with the Ordinance at the January BOT meeting.  The outcome of Oakland Township’s proposed Ordinance may be in jeopardy.

As previously reported on this website, the Oakland Township Board is considering an Ordinance to control the location of Oil and Gas drilling in Oakland Township.  A second reading of that Ordinance is schedule for the February 9, 2016 Board meeting.  Supervisor Gonser had previously expressed concerns over the Township’s authority to control oil and gas drilling. He voted against moving forward with the draft ordinance.  He contacted the DEQ and asked for their input.  Mr. Harold Fitch, the Assistant Supervisor of wells and Chief office of Oil and Gas & Minerals responded by saying:

“As demonstrated by the definitions (in the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act), the DEQ considers a broad range of operations as subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Supervisor of wells and not subject to regulations by Township’s or Counties.”

He basically is saying we, as a Township, do not have any control over the location or operation of oil and gas drilling in our Township.

Here is a copy of his entire response to Supervisor Gonser’s request:

February 2, 2016 DEQ letter

Other communities have been struggling with this issue.  Townships have less control over oil and gas drilling operations than cities. However, Rochester Hills has been involved in recent disputes over their authority to control drilling in their city.  More recently, Southfield has been dealing with this issue.  Here are two current links to the Southfield issue:

Southfield Public meeting on Oil and Gas Drilling in their community

Rep. Jeremy Moss (Southfield) bill to control Oil and Gas Drilling locations

Here is a copy of our draft ordinance:

Janaury 12, BOT meeting agenda and Oil:Gas draft ordinance

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  Oakland Township may not have much control over oil and gas drilling in our community.  However, we should pursue as much control as possible within the constraints of the law.  At the January BOT meeting, our Township attorney and planning consultants both agreed with what is being proposed in the draft ordinance.  I trust that Supervisor Gonser’s requested input from the DEQ does not change their position on the proposed ordinance.

So what can we do:

  • Attend the February 9, 2016 Board meeting to express your opinion after listening to the discussion by our Township Attorney, Planning Consultant and Board members.
  • If not able to attend the February 9th meeting, watch the proceedings on the Township website, or Comcast cable channel, to learn more about this issue.
  • Contact your State representatives (Michael Webber <michaelwebber@house.mi.gov> or Brad Jacobsen <bradjacobsen@house.mi.gov>) asking them to support Representative Moss’ bill allowing more local control over oil and gas drilling locations.

Richard Michalski

 

UPDATE: Township Board approves first read of Oil and Gas Structure ordinance

At the January 12, 2016 Oakland Township Board meeting, the ‘first read’ of the proposed Oil and Gas Structure Ordinance was approved.  There were several citizens that commented on the draft ordinance.  Supervisor Gonser was the sole dissenting vote.  He wanted to get input from the State and the DNR to get their perspective on how defensible the ordinance would be.

The second read of the Ordinance, and the vote on approval of the Ordinance, is on the agenda for the February 9, 2016 BOT meeting.

Here is a link to the most recent post on this subject:

URGENT REQUEST: Please attend January 12 Board meeting if concerned about Oil and Gas Drilling in Oakland Township

Thanks to all those that attended the meeting!

Richard Michalski

URGENT REQUEST: Please attend January 12 Board meeting if concerned about Oil and Gas Drilling in Oakland Township

Shelby well rig (1)

As previously reported on this website, the Oakland Township Board and Planning Commission agreed to develop an ordinance that would minimize the impact of Oil and Gas drilling in Oakland Township, while protecting individual property rights and still be compliant with Michigan regulations.  The Planning Commission has spent several months working on a draft ordinance.  The draft ordinance was discussed at the December 8, 2015 Township Board meeting.  At that meeting the Board agreed, in a 6 to 1 vote, that the ‘first read’ of the ordinance would take place at the January 12, 2016 Board meeting.  Supervisor Gonser was the single dissenting vote.  He wanted to take more time to study the draft ordinance.  

Public input at Tuesday’s meeting is critical.  It will ensure the Board understands the level of citizen support, and any concerns you may have with the draft ordinance.

PLEASE ATTEND THIS MEETING IF YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE IMPACT OF OIL AND GAS DRILLING IN OUR COMMUNITY! 

                                              DATE:     TUESDAY, JANUARY 12, 2016

                                             TIME:  7 PM      

                                             LOCATION: OAKLAND TOWNSHIP HALL – 4393 COLLINS RD.

HERE IS A COPY OF THE AGENDA & DRAFT ORDINANCE THAT WAS POSTED ON TOWNSHIP WEBSITE ON JANUARY 8:

Janaury 12, BOT meeting agenda and Oil:Gas draft ordinance

A lobbyist for the Petroleum industry was at the December 8, 2015 BOT meeting and attempted to influence the Board members.  His arguments for why Oakland Township should not pass a local ordinance controlling oil and gas drilling were:

  • Just because other communities have an ordinance is not a reason for Oakland Township to have one
  • There are no pending oil or gas drilling permits in Oakland Township
  • State law controlling oil and gas drilling is preferable
  • There will be administrative costs associated with an ordinance
  • Local Auto manufacturers are benefiting from the sale of big profitable SUV’s and trucks due to low oil and gas prices
  • There are many people currently laid off in oil industry due to low oil and gas prices
  • There may be legal challenges (and associated costs) as a result of an ordinance
  • There is no ‘fracking’ in Oakland County
  • Legal challenges could be based on ‘property rights taking’
  • Oil and gas drilling ON STATE PROPERTIES generates revenue for the Michigan Natural Resource Trust Fund (MNRTF)
  • Oakland Township has been recipient of grant funds from the MNRTF

Here are previous articles posted on this website regarding this topic:

Supervisor Gonser opposes Township establishing ordinance to minimize impact of oil and gas drilling in Oakland Township

Oakland Township Board implements 6 month moratorium on new oil or gas drilling in Oakland Township

“Oil and Gas Drilling” is on July 14, 2015 Oakland Township Board meeting agenda

Results of June 23, 2015 BOT discussion on Oil and Gas drilling in Oakland Township

UPDATE: Oil and Gas well sites in Oakland Township and Surrounding Communities

JUNE 21st UPDATE: Is Drilling for Oil and Gas coming to Oakland Township? Please attend June 23 Board meeting!

JUNE 17th UPDATE: Is Drilling for Oil and Gas coming to Oakland Township (Church property)?

Is Drilling for Oil and Gas coming to Oakland Township?

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  Even though the likelihood of new oil and gas drilling is currently low due to the low cost of oil and gas prices, our community needs to take whatever action is within our legal authority to protect our community from future undesirable oil and gas drilling, while protecting individual property rights.

Richard Michalski

January 8, 2016