Tag Archives: Abuse of Power

Oakland Township Manager Warren Brown comments on his resignation – suggests Supervisor Gonser follow his example and also resign

At the August 11, 2015 Oakland Township Board meeting, Warren Brown, the current Township Manager, commented on his recent decision to resign.  He did not go into specifics, but indicated it was a personal decision.  He made many positive comments about Oakland Township.  He then made several comments about Supervisor Gonser. 

He commented on the statements Supervisor Gonser’s made in the Oakland Press announcement regarding his resignation.  He saw the Supervisor’s comments as an attempt to take advantage of his (Brown’s) personal decision to leave as a method to advance the Supervisor’s “position”.   Mr. Brown commented on how the Board has been fractured, and how he thought the Supervisor should be trying to bring the Township together, not further fractionalizing the community and the Board by his comments in the press.  He ended by suggesting that the Supervisor should do the Township a “service” and follow his example and resign from office.

Supervisor Gonser was ‘speechless’.

Here are excerpts of  Warren Brown’s statement:

“It is unfortunate that such a negative light (Gonser’s comment in the Oakland Press) has been cast upon the Board of Trustees as a whole, and by way of association, the Township also as a whole.

Board members will always disagree on issues, but out of respect for the process, no individual member should separate oneself from the Board as a whole.

The Supervisor’s comment . . .   was clearly made to personally attack the Board and embarrass the Board as a whole.  He has used my very personal decision to advance his own position, which I consider a personal affront, and to which I take great offense.

This Township has more advantages than most local governmental agencies in this State.  You are financially sound, you have an educated base, you are well situated for someone to offer his or her services in a leadership role.  However, this will not occur as long as the ‘voice of one’ outshouts the ‘voice of the many’.

The comment made (in the Oakland Press) did nothing to bring this Board together. . . . There has been an obvious schism among the Board for a very long time.”

Mr. Warren summarized comments made by car dealer he had spoken to while at home for the weekend. The car dealer said:

“It is obvious that the Supervisor, who should be the catalyst for Board regeneration, has by his comment and actions, succeeded in creating a larger chasm among the Board than what previously existed.”

Mr. Brown concluded by saying:

“If the Supervisor cannot admit the error of his ways, fill the chasm, and become more malleable in his approach to his position, he should follow my lead. . . .   To offer his resignation would be an act of service for the greater good!”

Here is a video of Warren Brown’s comments:

 

Here is an article published on 8/12/15 n the Rochester Post regarding Mr. Brown’s resignation.

Rochester Post article

Here is an article published on 8/14/15 in the Oakland Press regarding Mr. Brown’s resignation and suggestion for Gonser to resign.

Oakland Press article – Brown resignation and suggestion for Gonser to follow suit

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  Supervisor Gonser has repeatedly attempted to change the governance in Oakland Township to one where he would be a “Strong Supervisor” in our Township.  The Board has repeatedly rejected his attempts.  Warren Brown made his decision to leave for personal reasons.  Warren Brown’s assessment of Gonser’s comments in the Oakland Press is very telling.  Gonser was attempting to destroy the Board, and push forward his agenda to become the full time (and paid) leader of our Township.

All of the Board members indicated their disappointment with Warren Brown’s decision.  Gonser simply thanked Warren for coming to our Township.

Our previous ‘short term’ manager, Ann Capela, supported Gonser’s philosophy and stated Oakland Township’s form of governance’ is “bizarre” and “unworkable”.  Warren Brown’s statement makes it clear that the form of governance is not the issue, Supervisor Gonser is the issue.

Hopefully, our Township Board takes the time to fill the Township Manager position.  Former Trustee Marc Edwards suggested having the Township contact the Michigan Townships Association, and find a temporary manager to fill the position until a new Board is elected in November of 2016.

Hopefully Gonser will be gone by then by following Mr. Brown’s suggestion, and does us all a ‘service’ by leaving now.

Richard Michalski

 

Board Resolution – Acts By Rogers, Thalmann “Repudiated” as a “Breach of Trust” . Gonser’s inactions termed “improper”

The Oakland Township Board of Trustees, at their July 28th meeting, voted 6-0 (Gonser absent) to approve a resolution stating “There has been an inappropriate release of privileged and confidential and/or Attorney/Client protected communications which constitutes a Breach of Trust and is hereby repudiated.” and  further “It is improper to fail to disclose any unauthorized receipt of privileged communications prior to entering deliberations pertaining to matters discussed in the communications.”.

Background

The reasons for the resolution are  the April 28th 2015  findings of an investigation,  authorized by the Board of Trustees on March 24th 2015, conducted by Township Staff and the Attorneys for the Township and the Parks Commission that found:

  • Supervisor Gonser improperly received three emails pertaining to Parks Commission Closed Sessions or containing Parks Commission Attorney/Client privileged communications;
  • Trustee Thalmann had  sent three emails pertaining to Parks Commission or Board of Trustee Closed Sessions or containing  Attorney/Client privileged communications to (variously) Commissioner Rogers, Supervisor  Gonser  and/or unauthorized private citizens.
  • Thalmann had received two emails from Commissioner Rogers pertaining to Parks Commission Closed Sessions or containing  Attorney/Client privileged communications.
  • Commissioner Rogers sent six emails pertaining to Parks Commission Closed Sessions or containing  Attorney/Client privileged communications to (variously) Trustee Thalmann, Supervisor Gonser and/or unauthorized private citizens.

The Parks Commission and the Board of Trustees reviewed these findings at a April 28th 2015 joint meeting and forwarded them to the Oakland County Prosecutor. The Prosecutor’s office reported back on July 15th 2015 that “no basis exists for criminal prosecution and…no laws have been violated.”.

Commissioner Rogers and former Trustee Thalmann, who had resigned during this time period, each stated in various public meetings that they had done nothing wrong, were totally exonerated and were owed apologies.  They did not dispute the findings of the investigation that they had violated  Attorney/Client Confidentiality and Privilege.  They dismissed that as unimportant.

The Board of Trustees felt that, criminal or not, the behavior was improper and important and called for Board action which was taken with the 7/28/15 Resolution.

What are we to think about this? 

We all know about Attorney/Client Confidentiality.  Is it really, as Rogers and Thalmann seem to think,  a matter unworthy of their concern when they are doing the citizen’s business?  We must think not. It is not immaterial.  It is not just a detail.  We would not be alone in being concerned with their attitude.  In an Article “What Attorney-Client Privilege Really Means” by the global law firm Smith, Gambrell & Russell LLP I found this:

The attorney-client privilege is the oldest privilege recognized by Anglo-American jurisprudence. In fact, the principles of the testimonial privilege may be traced all the way back to the Roman Republic, and its use was firmly established in English law as early as the reign of Elizabeth I in the 16th century. Grounded in the concept of honor, the privilege worked to bar any testimony by the attorney against the client.

A legal concept grounded in honor that has been fundamental to jurisprudence in Western Civilization for over five hundred years deserves our respect. Public Officials, elected by the people, cannot act as though it does not apply to them.

Perhaps these breaches of trust had their origin in the leadership,  People who lead an organization have the responsibility to set an example for the practice of strong ethics. Gonser did not inform the Board that he had improperly received protected communications about matters which were immediately important to him.  Also, Supervisor Gonser had, until recently, refused to abide by the Township’s Ordinance 97 which limits the elected Supervisor’s authority with regard to conducting Township business.  He made many decisions and did many things for which he had no authority.  In conversation with me last Spring he explained himself saying that he was elected by people who don’t know that the Supervisor’s power is limited and that they expect him to “be the leader of the Township” and that they didn’t elect him “just to chair meetings and ride in parades”.  Rogers and Thalmann may have just been following a bad example.

Taking another step up the chain of responsibility, lets look at ourselves, the voters.  We elected Rogers, Thalmann and Gonser either by voting in the 2012 August Primary or by not showing up.  At that time the Township had over 12 thousand registered voters.  How many votes did it take for these people to get elected?

  • Gonser  – 1784 votes – 14% of the electorate;
  • Thalmann – 1534 votes -12%  of the electorate;
  • Rogers – 1315 votes -11%  of the electorate.

What Can We Do?

The August 2016 Primary Election is 12 months away.  It is an important election because, in Oakland Township, for whatever reason, our local elections seldom attract Democrat candidates, so the November Elections for Local Offices are not competitive contests. Our Local elections are decided in August.

Let’s learn from these events.  Get active, Get informed, Get on the Ballot, Get to know the Candidates and Get Out The Vote in August.

Jim Foulkrod

Parks Commissioner Ann Marie Rogers attempts to defend her behaviour

In the May 7, 2015 Oakland Press website posting titled,

Report: Oakland Township Parks Commissioner shared confidential emails’,

Parks and Recreation Commissioner Ann Marie Rogers attempted to defend her forwarding of ‘privileged and confidential’ material to others by saying she never signed anything preventing her from doing that.  Here is a portion of that article:

Rogers noted she was never asked to sign an agreement stating she not share attorney-client communications following her 2012 election to the board.

The wording in the ‘Privileged and Confidential’ statements attached to legal documents always makes it clear what is not to be done with those documents. It appears Commissioner Rogers did not believe it applied to her.

Comments made by others involved in this recent Oakland Township issue appear to shed some light on their value systems.

 

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  Our elected and appointed official’s actions should be based on a generally accepted value system and must be held accountable for their actions.

It is surprising that Parks Commissioner Rogers, after serving on the Parks Commission for over two years, states she was never asked to sign an agreement stating she not share attorney-client communications.  She apparently does not feel anything wrong was done, and has not read the ‘privileged and confidential’ statements on the documents she received.

In an earlier Oakland Press article, former Trustee Thalmann stated she thought she was ‘collateral damage’ and the issue would all ‘go away’ if she resigned. She too apparently does not feel anything wrong was done, and had not read the ‘privileged and confidential’ statements on the documents she received and forwarded.

Here is that Oakland Press article:

Oakland Township board to send email confidentiality breach findings to sheriff’s office

Finally, the husband of the third party involved in receiving some of the ‘privileged and confidential’ material (including ‘closed session’ material) has attempted to justify at various Township meetings, his wife’s receipt of the material, by claiming since they were emails, they were “on a server”, and therefore not secure. He apparently does not feel anything wrong was done.  He has asked that in the future all ‘privileged and confidential’ material be hand delivered in paper form, no emails.  This individual is also a member of the Oakland Township Zoning Board of Appeals, who occasionally receives legal ‘privileged and confidential’ material. Hopefully he has read and understands the wording in the ‘privileged and confidential’ statements.

It is amazing the logic individuals use when they try to justify their unjustifiable behavior.

Oakland Township deserves the best elected and appointed officials.  We hope Commissioner Rogers steps down and a new Commissioner is selected.  We also hope the Oakland Township Board makes a good selection for the vacant seat on the Board in the upcoming meetings.

Richard Michalski

 

Trustee Thalmann’s resignation and legal investigation

At the April 14, 2015 Oakland Township Board meeting, Supervisor Gonser announced that Trustee Maureen Thalmann had submitted a letter of resignation.  The Board voted 6 to 0 to accept her resignation.  Supervisor Gonser commented that Thalmann resigned for family reasons and that she is spending time promoting a book that she recently had published.

It should be mentioned that one month ago Maureen Thalmann was named as one of the subjects of an investigation into the sharing of confidential, attorney-client privileged documents with un-authorized persons.  At the April 14th meeting, the attorney’s findings prompted a motion by Treasurer Langlois to schedule a joint meeting between the Township Board and Parks and Recreation Commission (PRC) to review the results of the investigation and determine what action, if any, needed to be taken.  The Board voted, 5 to 1, to schedule a Township Board closed session meeting, followed by a joint meeting with the Parks and Recreation Commission.  Supervisor Gonser was the sole objecting vote.

Here is some additional background on this topic:

    • At the March 10, 2015 Board meeting, Parks Commission member Ann Marie Rogers used ‘personal, private and/or confidential’ phone records when making several accusations against Trustee Buxar.
    • At the March 24th Board meeting, Trustee Buxar presented the results of an investigation into how Parks Commissioner Rogers obtained the phone records.  Here is a summary of her findings:

–  Because Anne Marie Rogers is involved in a lawsuit against the Township, in October of 2014, Ann Marie Rogers was informed that ANY request she made for Township documents MUST be made in writing, so the Township Attorney can review them prior to them being provided to her.

–  Email records confirmed that Commissioner Rogers and Trustee Thalmann were both informed of the requirement for written requests from Ann Marie Rogers for Township documents.

 –  In review of Township records, the only individual that had requested Trustee Buxar’s Township phone records was Trustee Thalmann.  There were no written requests for phone records from Commissioner Rogers, yet Commissioner Rogers used the phone record information in her March 10th accusations against Trustee Buxar.

–  Buxar’s findings also identified a much more serious issue :   Attorney-Client Privileged information had been shared inappropriately between Thalmann, Gonser and Rogers.

  • Treasurer Langlois commented on the severity of this situation:

“The magnitude of this breach simply cannot be overstated. The Board chose Supervisor Gonser and Trustee Thalmann as the two person subcommittee charged with representing the Board in good faith negotiations with the Parks and Recreation Commission. The fact that they shared privileged and confidential information prior to these meetings is extremely troubling and obviously, given the phone records, this isn’t the first time we have seen this.”

  • Treasurer Langlois then made the following motion, that was supported by Trustee Bailey.  The motions was unanimously approved.

“Secure all confidential communications and emails, including all communications and emails pertaining to closed sessions, and all attorney client privileged communications and emails, by and between the Oakland Township Board of Trustees and the Oakland Township Parks Commission for review by the Oakland Township Attorney.  To authorize the Oakland Township Manager to retain IT consultant, I.T. RIGHT, for assistance, if necessary.  To authorize the Oakland Township attorney to work with the Oakland Township Parks and Recreation attorney if necessary.”

  • At the April 14, 2015 Board meeting, the Board was given a memo from the Oakland Township attorney with the findings of his investigation.  The results were not shared with the public.
  • After a brief recess for Board members to review the memo, Treasurer Langlois commented:

“Given that the information contained in our review, and presumable their’s (the Parks and Recreation Commission’s), does affect both Boards, I would like to see this Board agree to the joint meeting (proposed by the PRC).”

  • The Board agreed, in a 5 to 1 vote, to hold a closed session meeting and then an open session joint meeting (at least for now) with the Parks and Recreation Commission, where the results of the investigation and potential actions will be discussed.  Supervisor Gonser was opposed to the meetings.

Here is a video supporting the statements made above:

 

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  The Board and Parks and Recreation Commission members swear to adhere to an oath of office.  Three of our elected officials may have violated their oath, and possibly the law.  There may be efforts made to prevent the facts on these allegations from being made public.  The citizens of Oakland Township deserve to understand what really took place. We do not need to know the content of any “privileged and confidential” letters, but we do need to know “who” sent “what” to “whom” so the citizens can consider the facts when voting in 2016.

Hopefully the joint meeting between the Board and the Parks and Recreation Commission will be an open meeting, and the facts will be made public.  The public deserves to know if our elected officials violated their oath of office.

Richard Michalski

Supervisor Gonser’s past unilateral unauthorized decision is causing unnecessary Township expense

One agenda item for the February 10, 2015 Oakland Township Board meeting will be a request to pay an engineering firm $9,675 for a storm water management plan that is legally required from Oakland Township.  The need for this expenditure has its ‘roots’ in an unauthorized unilateral decision that Supervisor Gonser made in May of 2013, when he authorized one of our Township Attorneys, Charlie Dunn, to request a “termination of certificate of coverage for a general storm water management permit”.

This request is currently under litigation between the Township and the governing environmental bodies, and has never been disclosed to the public.  The Township is still required to provide the storm water management plan while the issue is being resolved in the courts, hence the need for the plan.

Former Trustee Keyes pointed out the unauthorized request at the October 22, 2013 meeting when she became aware of it.  None of the other Trustees supported her when she questioned the unauthorized decision by Gonser.

There are many issues associated with this matter:

  • The decision to terminate Oakland Township’s participation in the storm water management program was made without Board approval and outside any public meeting.
  • Supervisor Gonser made efforts to prevent then Trustee Keyes from disclosing the unauthorized decision at the October 22, 2013 Board meeting.
  • The resultant lawsuit, related to our request to not participate in the storm water management plan, has never been disclosed in a public forum.
  • The legal expense for the lawsuit is unnecessary, and is the result of a recommendation from our Township’s legal counsel or our Supervisor.
  • The cost for the storm water plan is almost $8,000 higher than necessary if the Township had maintained their relationship with the Clinton River Water Watershed Council.

Here is a copy of the summary page that is part of the February 10 Board packet: (click on image to enlarge)

Feb 10, 2015 Stormwater permit proposal: contract

Here is a video of the October 22, 2013 Board meeting, at which Trustee Keyes pointed out the unauthorized decision.  It was at this same meeting that she announced her resignation from the Board.

Here is a copy of the May 3, 2013 letter sent by Charles Dunn to the MDEQ without the approval of the Oakland Township Board.

May 3, 2013 Charles Dunn letter

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  Supervisor Gonser’s unilateral unauthorized decision in May of 2013 has resulted in legal issues between Oakland Township and the environmental governing bodies.  The decision by the Board to not participate in the Clinton River Watershed Council has resulted in an additional $8,000 expense that was totally unnecessary.

The bottom line is that our Supervisor and Board have made decisions that are costing the taxpayers money (Engineering and Legal fees) that could be spent on other things needed in our Township.

Oakland Township has historically been on the leading edge of best practices in protecting our beautiful Township.  Other communities looked to us as an example of what to do.  Under our current Board, we are now fighting the DEQ, MDEQ and the Clinton River Watershed Council.

If the decision to terminate our participation in the storm water permit program was made based on a recommendation from our Township Attorney (who would certainly benefit from any future litigation as a result of that action), one must question the appropriateness and ethics of such a self serving recommendation.

On the other hand, if the decision was made by Supervisor Gonser, based on what he wanted to do, without any Board or public input, one must question his motives.  However, his decision should come as no surprise to the residents, given his expressed opinion on environmental issues as previously reported on this website.

Gonser finally expresses his thoughts on UN conspiracy

Richard Michalski

 

Supervisor Gonser retracts his slanderous statement against former Township Trustee

At the January 27, 2015 Oakland Township Board meeting, Supervisor Gonser retracted the slanderous statement he made at the January 13th Board meeting against a former Oakland Township Trustee, and now private citizen.

His slanderous January 13th comments were made at the same meeting where he:

Gonser’s retraction may prevent further legal action that could be taken against him for his slanderous statement.

Here is a video of Gonser’s retraction statement:

Here is the background information:

At the January 13, 2015 Oakland Township Board meeting, Supervisor Gonser made a slanderous statement toward Judy Keyes. Judy is a former Trustee who resigned in September of 2013 due to concerns she had regarding the ethical behavior of several of the Board members.

Gonser publicly said to Judy:

“You are the most disruptive person I have ever met.  You have lied on this Board, you have cheated on this Board, you have stolen money on this Board.”

At the January 27, 2015 Board meeting, Gonser retracted his January 13th statement with the following statement:

“In the heat of the moment, I lost my composure and I made statements suggesting that Mrs. Keyes lied on this Board, cheated on this Board, and stole money on this Board.

I want to make a full retraction of each of those statements.  To be clear, I have no proof that Mrs. Keyes lied, cheated or stole money on the Board, and my statements to the contrary were made in the heat of the moment and were a mistake.

I apologize to Mrs. Keyes and offer this full retraction in good faith”

He went on to say:

“I apologize to the community for the comments I made.”

Treasurer Langlois stated:

“I would like to add, so that the record shows, that the Board was not silent on this matter.”

She then made a motion, that was unanimously approved, acknowledging the Supervisor’s retraction and apology to Mrs. Keyes.

In June of 2013, the Township Board passed a “Principles of Township Governance Excellence Policy”.  The development of that Policy statement was led by former Trustee Judy Keyes.  As previously reported on this website, the Board approved it.  However, only two members of the Board agreed to sign the document (one of them was Judy Keyes, the other Sharon McKay – neither are currently on the Board).  Trustee Thalmann refused to sign it.  Supervisor Gonser indicated that the Board members did not have to sign it.

Principles of Township Governance Excellence document

What follows is a copy of the “Charter Township of Oakland Conflict of Interest and Code of Ethics Policy”.   

Charter Township of Oakland conflict of interest and code of ethics policy

Ideally, a community should not need these type of documents.  It appears that, even if they do exist, they have no impact on the actions of our Supervisor.

Here is a video of Gonser’s January 13th comments:

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  Slanderous comments are criminal and are never acceptable.  Having them come from  an elected official in Oakland Township not only reflect on Gonser’s character, but the reputation of our Township.  The citizens of Oakland Township, as well as the Board, have the duty to hold him accountable for his actions.

It appears that Gonser’s actions are ‘catching up with him’.  His comments and discussions at the January 13th meeting have apparently put him in an “attack mode”.  The saying “The best defense is a good (??) offense” appears to be his game plan.

Both Gonser and Trustee Thalmann continue to argue for a “Strong Supervisor” type of government in Oakland Township.  Gonser’s actions are a clear example of why we do not want a “Strong Supervisor” system in Oakland Township. This appears to be yet another ‘offensive” move (two interpretations possible and meant).

Another issue that needs to be clarified is whether the Township paid for the legal counsel Gonser received in developing his retraction. The citizens of Oakland Township must not be held accountable for his slanderous accusation.

Gonser’s actions cannot go unchallenged by the citizens of Oakland Township.  We certainly must remember this in the 2016 elections.

  • Can we trust the other Board members to hold Gonser accountable to his sworn oath of office and the “Principles of Township Governance Excellence”?
  • Have the citizens had enough to warrant a recall of Gonser?

Let us know your thoughts!

Richard Michalski

 

Were Supervisor Gonser and Trustee Thalmann’s negative votes a violation of their oath of office?

One of the agenda items for the January 13, 2015 Oakland Township Board meeting was a proposal, by Supervisor Gonser, to have Oakland Township go to a ‘Strong Supervisor’ form of government in 2016.  Although he had it on the published agenda, he removed the item at the beginning of the meeting.

During a discussion the Board had regarding Gonser’s unilateral decision to approve the surveying of parkland in Oakland Township for a potential gas main, the ‘Strong Supervisor’ concept came up. The result of those discussions was the ‘one – two’ punch to Gonser previously reported on this website.

Supervisor Gonser and Trustee Thalmann were the only two Board members who voted against reaffirming Ordinance 97, which defines the responsibilities of the Township Manager.  When the Board was sworn into office, they swore to uphold our Ordinances.  

The following video contains excerpts of the discussions that occurred at that meeting. It is about 6 minutes long, but well worth watching if you want to understand the positions of several of our Board members.

 

Link to January 12, 2015 Oakland Press article

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  Gonser placing the ‘Strong Supervisor’ issue on the agenda, then pulling it off, and his statement in the January 12th Oakland Press article, appear to have been an attempt at sabotaging the Board’s efforts to find a qualified Township Manager.

As you probably know, interviews for our Township manager position occurred on January 24th. Uncertainty regarding the potential longevity of the Township Manager position could reduce the qualified candidate pool.  Fortunately, the Board members, with the exception of Trustee Thalmann, wanted nothing to do with that uncertainty.  Treasurer Langlois, Clerk Reilly, Trustees Buxar and Bailey took very strong positions regarding Gonser’s proposal.  Trustee Giannangeli, who has been a strong supporter of Gonser to this point, made it very clear that he wants Gonser to operate in conformance with Ordinance 97.

Ordinance 97 is the Township Ordinance that defines the responsibilities of our Township Manager.  It is an ordinance that the Board has sworn to uphold.  By their statements, it is clear that the majority of the Board members feel that the Supervisor is not conforming to the Ordinance, hence the resolution to reaffirm the responsibilities of the Manager not the Supervisor.  Gonser and Thalmann voted to not to support the resolution that would reaffirm that Ordinance.

In my mind, Gonser’s many unilateral unauthorized decisions and actions without Board agreement (violating Ordinance 97), and Gonser and Thalmann’s negative vote on that resolution are violations of their oath of office.

If they do not want to conform to, and enforce, the existing Township Ordinances that they have sworn to uphold, they should resign.

Richard Michalski

Gonser accuses other Board members of Open Meeting Act violation

At the January 13, 2014 BOT meeting, Supervisor Gonser made an unsubstantiated accusation that four of the Board members met outside a public meeting discussing a Resolution that was being proposed.  If this occurred, it would have been a violation of the Open Meetings Act.

 Gonser’s accusation was made after a motion to reaffirm Ordinance 97 (which defines the authority of our Township Superintendent/ Manager).  His accusation was part of a very emotional 4 minute statement when he apparently felt he was being accused of inappropriate actions.

Three of the Board members immediately challenged Gonser’s statement, and indicated that they had never met as Gonser had stated.

As previously reported on this website, the Board did take two actions to restrain Gonser’s actions to what he statutorily possesses.  They want to  ensure that the Supervisor does not perform duties outside his authorized responsibilities.  Gonser and Thalmann have made multiple attempts at expanding his authority by having the Township governance changed to a “Strong Supervisor” structure.

Here is a video of Gonser’s statement and the Board member’s response:

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  Gonser’s public unsupported accusation that other Board members have violated the Open Meetings Act is highly inappropriate and significant.  Given that he has made that accusation, our Township Attorney should determine if Gonser’s accusation can be supported.  If not, Gonser may have violated the Township’s ‘Conflict of Interest and Code of Ethics Policy’, as well as the ‘Board approved Principles of Township Governance Excellence’.

As one resident has recently stated, he believes Gonser’s actions have now escalated to the point of ‘malfeasance’.  The Board needs to hold Gonser accountable for his statement by either asking for the supporting data for his accusation, or demand a retraction of his accusation.

Gonser’s lashing out at fellow Board members, former Trustee Judy Keyes, disregarding our township attorney’s assessment, and lashing out at the accuracy of this website appear to be occurring because he is frustrated that he cannot get what he wants.

Mr. Gonser needs to understand that our Township is governed by a Strong Board through majority rule!

Richard Michalski

Supervisor Gonser attempts to defend his lie in Rochester Post article

At the January 13, 2015 Oakland Township Board meeting, one of the agenda items was a discussion about the decision and authority to cancel the televising of the September 29, 2014 Board meeting(s).  It has previously been reported that Supervisor Gonser had cancelled the taping and televising of the meetings.  In those meetings, our former Township Manager, Ann Capela had first been fired, and later allowed to quit.  Many of the Board members did not agree with Gonser’s decision to cancel the taping of the meeting based on the resultant lack of transparency to our citizens.  They also questioned his authority to have made that decision.

When confronted with the facts about the cancellation, Supervisor Gonser acknowledged that he did call CMNtv to cancel the televising of the meetings, but then attempted to justify that decision by saying he was trying to protect Ann Capela reputation.  He made no apology for making the decision nor for lying to the Press.  In the September 29th meeting, both he and Trustee Thalmann were the only two Board members to not support firing Ann Capela.

The author of this post confronted Gonser in the meeting by saying that his rationale for not televising the meeting was NOT justification for lying to the Press when he said:

“It (the special meeting) was posted late on the website Sunday afternoon. There was no time to get the meeting televised.”

Here are the key video portions of this meeting regarding this issue:

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Townhip?  Most of the citizens of Oakland Township do not accept or condone Gonser’s lying in the Press (there was at least one citizen at the January 13 meeting who appeared to accept Gonser’s explanation).

This is not the first time that there has been documentation that our Supervisor has lied to the public.  One previous example was reported on this website where Gonser stated he had sent a letter requesting an opinion from our State Attorney General “as an individual”.  The letter he referred to was written 8 days AFTER he made that public statement.

Gonser’s lack of understanding that his rationale for making the decision is not justification for lying to the Press.  This is proof that his value system is based on “the end justifies the means”.

Gonser appears to subscribe to Machiavellian and Nixonian principles.

This post is one of several that support the actions taken by our Township Board at the January 13th meeting to try to stop Gonser’s many unauthorized decisions.

Richard Michalski

 

The Board Deals Gonser a One-Two Punch

1/14/15

Sending a very powerful message at their Jan 13th meeting, the Board passed two targeted motions.

Punch One…

First, the Board of Trustees passed a resolution re-affirming the lawful duties of the Township Superintendent/Manager position.  The position  is defined in detail by our Ordinance 97 as the chief administrative officer position responsible for a very wide range of township business and activities.  This position description can only be changed or re-defined by an official motion by the Board of Trustees that receives a  majority vote.

Trustee Buxar introduced this resolution by saying that the law lays out:

“everything our Superintendent is supposed do and handle and what is supposed to run through that office”.

She talked about related problems in the Township:

“we have had instances of  confusion among staff members”;

“people are being told they have to run through the Supervisor’s Office”;

“that is not how this Township is setup”.

“the problem we have now is we have a Superintendent and a Supervisor that are crashing with each other”

“the direction is supposed to go to the Superintendent and that is who is supposed to be the lead  in the Township”

Treasurer Langlois added:

” We are looking for a positive, constructive way to move forward”;

“providing clarification and communication to the people and entities who need it”;

” that we do have ordinance 97 that does dictate the chain of command and structure of Oakland Township”.

There was much discussion of this resolution during which Gonser offered no substantive opinion.  He voted “OPPOSED”.  The Resolution was approved 5-2.

Supervisor Gonser opposed, by his vote,  the legal reality that the Township Superintendent is the executive administrator of the township in spite of the fact that he has sworn to uphold the law.  During the discussion it was pretty clear that members of the Board and some citizens felt that Gonser had acted in ways that were contrary to the Township Superintendent Ordinance that he has sworn to uphold.  The audience made comments that such acts amounted to malfeasance in office as defined by State law and that the Board  should censure him.  Gonser offered nothing in his own defense.

Punch Two…

Next, Treasurer Langlois made a second motion that the Clerk should distribute the Resolution just passed with a copy of Ordinance 97 to Township Employees and outside entities with which the Manager deals.  She asked that the cover letter explain that the Resolution and Ordinance specify the will of the Board of Trustees and show how governance works in Oakland Township.  Her motion further directs the Township Superintendent/Manager to make the Board aware of any deviance from the ordinance so the Board can address them. Gonser and Thalmann were alone in opposing the motion. It passed 5-2.

Citizens should celebrate this new political reality and we should show our support of the Board Members who, beginning now,  work to set our Oakland Township government on the straight course to operating according to the law and at the direction of our elected Board of Trustees.  The Board has the tools but will also need the support of the community.

I hope Supervisor Gonser comes to realize that his choices are few. He can:

  1. comply with the law, performing only his rightful duties;
  2. submit his resignation;
  3. endure repeated humiliating censure and, perhaps, his recall by the voters.

Jim Foulkrod