Tag Archives: andy zale

Who are the candidates to fill the vacant Oakland Township Supervisor position?

At the November 15, 2022 Oakland Township Board meeting, Supervisor Dominic Abbate announced that he had submitted his resignation letter with an effective date of November 30th. The Board has 45 days to fill that position after the resignation takes effect. At the November 15th meeting, the Board asked that any current Township Board member, as well as any other Township resident interested in filling that position, should fill out an application and submit it to the Township Clerk’s office by December 1. The list of potential candidates is now known. It is anticipated that the decision will be made at the December 13th Board meeting.

Several existing Board members indicated that they are interested in the position as well as two other Township residents. They include:

  • Treasurer – John Giannangeli
  • Clerk – Robin Buxar
  • Trustee – Andy Zale
  • Former Planning Commission member and ZBA member – James Carter
  • Former ZBA member – John Markel

In order for the position to be filled, at least 4 of the 6 seated Board members will have to approve the candidate. This could prove to be very interesting, since 3 of them are interested in the Supervisor position themselves. In order for one of the existing Board members to be selected, he/she would either have to gain the vote of the OTHER three Board members (David Mabry, Jack Elder and Lana Mangiapani), or one of the candidates interested in the position, would have to drop out and vote for him/her. The potential for ‘grid lock’ exists in selecting one of the three seated Board members. One of the other two candidates could become a ‘dark horse’ candidate for the position.

What follows is the author’s assessment of the situation:

If John Giannangeli was selected, the critical position of Treasurer would have to be backfilled. John has an extensive financial background and is well suited for the Treasurer’s position. That is why the voters selected him for that position in the last election. Having to backfill the Treasurer’s position could negatively impact the Township. Andy Zale could potentially fill the Treasurer’s position, since he is a personal financial consultant. Residents need to form their own opinion on John’s demeanor and ability to lead a team based on his behavior in handling previous controversial issues before the Township Board.

If Robin Buxar was selected, the similarly critical position of Clerk would have to be backfilled. Robin has done a good job in our recent election. There are follow-up items that need to be understood and possibly improved upon based on results of the last election. Prior to the last election, she was unable to fill a critical clerk support position in a timely manner, so she had to personally step in and do some of that work. Her personal compensation over that period of time was significantly increased as a result. She is a strong leader, but there is no clear candidate to backfill a vacant Clerk position. In addition, the 2024 election is very critical, and our Township cannot afford to have any issues in that critical election. Her experience would best serve the Township if she remained our Clerk.

If Andy Zale was selected, there would be no risk to the Financial or Clerical matters in our Township. Andy was a member of the Parks and Recreation Commission. He has demonstrated his skill in leading a team through complicated issues when he was Chairperson of the Parks and Recreation Commission. His ability to efficiently and effectively chair a meeting with controversial topics has been demonstrated. He also has been a member of the Oakland Township Safety Path and Trails Committee, so he is very familiar with the wide ranging features and needs of our Township.

As stated above, in order for any of the above candidates to be selected, he/she would have to gain the support of the other three Board members or one of the three interested candidates would have to drop out. If ‘grid lock’ occurred, the nomination of either James Carter or John Markel could become a reality. Both of these men have exhibited interest in the Township for years. Both have held appointed positions in our Township’s commissions or boards.

James Carter was an Oakland Township Planning Commission member for 18 years (1997-2015). He was the Chairperson of that Commission for a large number of those years. He is very knowledgeable about our Township Ordinances and Planning process since he was also a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals. He has demonstrated his ability to listen to the residents on issues that impact them while leading the Planning Commission through complex and controversial issues. James has been in the information technology field, and has formed and owned businesses in that field.

John Markel has been active in Township matters for at least the last 10 to 15 years. He participates in many Township Board meetings during the discussions on the matters before the Board. His recommendations to the Board frequently deal with well documented and transparent processes for the Township Board’s and staff to follow. He is involved in the Auto Industry and is very familiar with the Quality Standards defined by QS9000 requirements. He has served on the Zoning Board of Appeals for 3 years. He was Chairperson of the ZBA for one year.

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?

The person who sits in the Supervisor position is critical to the success of our Township. He/she has the responsibility to effectively and efficiently lead the Board through complex and controversial issues based on the existing laws and ordinances that govern our Charter Township. Issues that come up need to be dealt with in a manner that comprehend the desires of the residents of the Township.

The Treasurer and Clerk Positions are also critical to our Township. The Oath of Office that our Treasurer and Clerk took when they were sworn in, would best be served if they continued to fulfill their commitment to those positions. If they are interested in the Supervisor position, they can run for that position in 2024.

From the author’s perspective, we have two candidates that are eminently qualified for the Supervisory position. They are Andy Zale & James Carter. Both of these individuals had demonstrated their ability to lead Township Commissions through complex issues while involving residents in a non-confrontational manner.

The process and criteria that Board will use to select the best person for the position is not clear. However, citizen input may have an influence on their thinking. The author has shared with you his thoughts on the matter. If you want to potentially impact the Board’s decision, I suggest you contact the Board, and share your thoughts with all six of them.



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

Editorial Comment: Candidates for Oakland Township Supervisor

As many of you know, this website has two editors, Jim Foulkrod and myself (Richard Michalski). Generally we agree on most topics. One clear example of this, shared with many in our Township, is that our current Supervisor, Terry Gonser, cannot be re-elected as Supervisor due to the many inappropriate things he has done while Supervisor. A long documented list of these actions can be reviewed in the following post:

Post summarizing the many examples of Terry Gonser’s ‘ethics’ while in office.

However, Jim and I disagree on who is most qualified to be our next Supervisor. I would like to share with you my reasons why I think Mike Bailey is the most qualified candidate. I will also make a suggestion that may help achieve our mutual goal of ensuring Terry Gonser does not get re-elected in a three person race.

In one of my previous posts, I listed qualities I felt were important in our next Supervisor. Here they are again:

  • Township experience, especially in Township planning
  • Knowledge of how our Township works,
  • An understanding of the issues we are facing,
  • Personal involvement in resolving the many issues,
  • No desire to change our form of governance
  • No desire to use the Supervisor position as a jumping point for higher political positions

I will comment on each of these as they relate to Terry Gonser, Andy Zale and Mike Bailey.

Township experience

Terry Gonser got elected with no Township governance experience. He won the support of many because he was an outspoken advocate on several volatile issues our Township faced in 2012. Many former supporters now admit that they had not properly vetted Terry. His lack of Township governance experience contributed to the massive dysfunction in our Township over the past term.

Andy Zale was elected in 2012 as a Parks & Recreation Commissioner. He was selected as the Commission’s chairperson. He has done a marvelous job chairing the often-contentious meetings. However, Andy has not participated, or made his opinions known on the many issues our Township has faced over the past 4 years. He has only participated in Township Board meetings when there were Parks issues that needed to be addressed.

Mike Bailey has been personally involved in our Township for 28 years. He and I shared many of them on the Planning Commission. Much of what we see and love in our Township is due to the great planning that has occurred. Mike has been an integral part of that. More recently, he has been on the Township Board, and has continued to serve our community in a positive manner.

 Knowledge of how our Township works

Supervisor Gonser came into office with no knowledge of how our Township works. Two groups of employees in our Township joined unions during his tenure, the Firefighters and the Parks and Recreation employees. Their decision was the direct result of the actions of Terry Gonser and others on the Board. Many talented staff members, who helped create our great Township, left their positions during his term in office and now serve other communities.

Andy Zale is gaining an understanding of how our Township works; however, his Parks experience is only one small piece of our Township. More experience will help him.

Mike on the other hand has worked with all the departments involved in our Township as a Planning Commissioner and Trustee. He knows why our Township has benefitted from having a professional Township Manager over the years (more on this issue later).

Understanding of the issues we are facing

Terry Gonser certainly has a good understanding of the issues facing our Township. He has contributed in creating many of them. We have not been able to solve many longstanding issues because valuable time has been lost searching for a Township manager that could work with, and around, Terry’s authoritarian, omnipotent and omniscient behavior.

As stated earlier, Andy is on a learning curve. In discussions with others who have been talking with Andy, he is attempting to get an understanding of the issues, and he needs to be complemented for his efforts.

On the other hand, Mike needs no ‘ramping up’. As an existing Board member, he is ‘in the know’ on all of the major issues facing our Township.

Personal involvement in resolving current issues

Certainly, as the Township Supervisor, Gonser should be involved in resolving our issues. However, his solutions and positions on issues are often the ‘minority position’ on the Board. Differences of opinion are good, however, voters should review Terry’s position on many of the votes that have taken place.  Our other elected representative officials often do not agree with his positions, or where he would take us.

Andy has done a great job in resolving issues on the Parks and Recreation Commission. He has not gotten involved in many other issues in our Township.

Mike has, and is, actively participated in many of the subcommittees that the Board has established to deal with issues facing our Township. He has also participated in many volunteer efforts representing out Township such as ‘clean scene’.

No desire to change our Township’s form of governance

Terry Gonser, and former Trustee Maureen Thalmann, wasted many hours at Township Board meetings trying to convince the Board that we should have a ‘Stong Supervisor’ form of governance in our Township. This would eliminate the full time professional Township administrator, and have the Supervisor be the full time person who would make the day-to-day administrative decisions in our Township. Terry never disclosed his desire to change our Township’s form of governance prior to being elected.

In my initial conversation with Andy Zale, before he announced his candidacy for Supervisor, I asked him his position on having a ‘Strong Supervisor’ or a ‘Manager’ form of government in Oakland Township. His response was “I can see the benefits of both.”   He would not take a position on this matter at that time. More recently, when asked the question again, he indicated that he supported the ‘Manager’ form of governance, but added, “I have spoken with Orion Township Supervisor Barnett, and see the benefits of that form of governance.” Andy added that he had a full time job, and would not be able to be a full time Supervisor. From my standpoint, this is almost a disqualifying position on the matter. Having personally listened to the many arguments on both sides of this issue in Township Board meeting, Andy’s ambiguity on this issue indicated that he did not yet understand Oakland Township’s governance needs. Fortunately, he has now taken the position that he does not support the ‘Strong Supervisor’ form of governance. More exposure to how our Township works will hopefully solidify his position on this matter.

Mike not only understands the benefits of having a profession Township manager, but has strongly stated he is opposed to the ‘Strong Supervisor’ form of governance.

No desire to use the Supervisor position as a political jumping off point

Others have told me that Terry Gonser had, and may still have, ambitions for running for higher public offices. I cannot confirm this, but I have heard it from a number of individuals. My opinion is that our elected officials need to focus on the job they were elected to fill. All energy should be spent on serving the will of their electorate; not taking actions that would be self-serving for future political desires.

In a recent conversation I had with Andy, he indicated that his first choice was to run for State Representative. Others told him that he did not have the experience, and needed more time in an elected position at the local level. That is why he chose to run for Township Supervisor.

In a recent conversation I had with Mike, he confirmed that he had no aspirations to higher elected office. He wanted to spend time helping Oakland Township move forward in a manner that maintains the beauty and character that has made it the place we all love to live.




Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township, and what can you do about it? Our Township cannot afford to have another four year of Terry Gonser as our Supervisor. We currently have two additional candidates, Andy Zale and Mike Bailey. Either would be a significant improvement over Terry Gonser.

With three candidates in the running, the potential for Gonser to win increases. Several citizens have commented that if Terry wins, we would lose the valued services of both Andy and Mike.

I have expressed my opinion as to whom I prefer for Supervisor. You may or may not agree, but if you agree that either would be better for our Township than Terry Gonser, and you would like to see both Andy and Mike continue to serve our Township, I suggest you visit the following websites, and email your preferred candidate letting him know of your support AND also email the other candidate, encouraging him to run for Trustee. We do need both of these valued individuals serving our Township.  Please send your emails soon, so Andy or Mike can revise their decision regarding which office to run for prior to the filing deadline of April 19th.

We cannot afford to loose the service of both.

Here are their websites:

Andy Zale                   http://www.AndyZale.com

Mike Bailey                http://www.MikeBaileySupervisor.com

Thank You!

Richard Michalski






Supporters for Supervisor candidates hand out campaign literature at voting sites

I hope everyone voted yesterday. This is one of those years when we will have several opportunities to exercise our right to vote.  

Yesterday, at many voting locations in out Township, supporters for two of the three announced candidates for Township Supervisor handed out campaign literature for the upcoming Supervisor race.  Supporters for Mike Bailey and Andy Zale handed out this information.  Here are copies of the fliers that were being handed out. 

Mike Bailey’s flier (click on image to enlarge)

Mike Bailey flier

Andy Zale flier (click on image to enlarge)

Andy Zale flier

We will continue to provide upcoming election information as we receive it.

Richard Michalski


Parks and Recreation Commission Chairman Andy Zale announces his candidacy for Township Supervisor

The editors of this website recently received an announcement from Andy Zale indicating that he is running for Township Supervisor.  Andy is currently the chairperson of the Township’s Parks and Recreation Commission.  His announcement letter is shown here:

Announcement Letter OT Watchers

This year is a major election year. Not only will we be voting for the US President, but our Township Board and Parks and Recreation Commission positions will be on the ballot. As you may recall, the primary election will take place on August 2, 2016. The general election will be November 8, 2016. Please put these dates on your calendar.

The campaign season has begun, and this website will provide information on the candidates as information becomes available. We hope that it will help our citizens make informed decisions in August and November. Any editorial comments will be noted as such.

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township? The primary election is usually the more important election for the local positions since that is when the political parties nominate their candidates. Since our community usually elects the Republican candidates in the general election, the election in August will most likely determine who will sit on our Township Board and Parks Commission. Please make sure you vote on August 2nd.

Richard Michalski