Tag Archives: Ann Capela

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

 

Supervisor Gonser thwarts promised transparency in Oakland Township and makes false statement to Rochester Post

As previously posted on this website, our former Township Manager, Ann Capela, resigned after the September 29, 2014 Special Board meeting.  Neither the Special meeting nor the Budget Workshop (that had been scheduled to be televised and taped) were televised or taped (or even audio recorded).  It has been determined that Supervisor Gonser was the one who made the decision to CANCEL the video taping and televising of this very important meeting, contrary to his statement in the Press that there was “no time to get the meeting televised’ .

A Board discussion of this cancellation is on the agenda for the January 13, 2014 Board meeting.

Here are the details:

  • A 6 PM televised Oakland Township Board Budget Workshop had been planned and scheduled for September 29, 2014.
  • A day or two before the meeting, several Board members determined that they wanted to have a special meeting (that would include a closed hearing, at the request of Ann Capela) to:

” consider a periodic personnel evaluation of a public officer, employee, staff member, or individual agent”

  • The official posting of the special 5:30 PM meeting met the timing requirements for notification to the public.
  • Based on documents obtained through the FOIA process, here are the records of communications that took place the day of the meetings:
  • At 2:15 PM on September 29th, Supervisor Gonser made a 4 minute call to the CMNtv Executive Director.  (CNMtv is responsible for taping and televising our Township meetings at the direction of the Township.)
  • At 2:20 PM on September 29th, Jamie Moore, a member of the Township staff, sent an email to the CMNtv Executive Director stating, “Terry said you were looking for the agenda for tonight.” She attached the link to the agenda for the 5:30 meeting.
  • At 2:31 PM the Executive Director responded to Jamie’s email and acknowledged receipt of the email.
  • At 2:59 PM Supervisor Gonser made a 2 minute call to the CMNtv Executive Director.

The two meetings scheduled for that day were neither taped or televised, even though the Budget Workshop had previously been scheduled for being taped and televised.

As reported in the minutes of the two meetings, Ann Capela’s contract had been terminated during the open portion of the Special meeting, but during the ‘Old Business’ portion of the Budget Workshop meeting, her ‘termination’ was revised to accept her ‘resignation’.

Supervisor Gonser and Trustee Thalmann were the only two Board members who voted against Ann Capela’s termination.  The later vote to accept her resignation was unanimously approved.

In the October 9, 2014 Rochester Post, Supervisor Gonser is quoted as saying,

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

At the October 14, 2104 BOT meeting, Treasurer Langlois, stated that Gonser’s statement was inaccurate. She said:

“So, in fact, not having a video tape of the meeting was not due to a lack of time, but apparently due to an earlier administrative decision.”

At the November 17, 2014 BOT meeting, she went on to say:

“We (the Board) discovered, after the fact, that a decision was made to cancel the video taping of the meeting.”

Here is the video of Treasurer Langlois’ comments:

Why is this  important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  The Township is suppose to be managed by our hired Township Manager (under the leadership of our Board).  Other than the election of our officials, there is probably no more important decision that affects our Township.  Yet, Supervisor Gonser, who ran on improving ‘transparency’ in our Township made the decision to not televise or record this very important meeting.

Supervisor Gonser has claimed the decision to televise meetings is consistent with his campaign promise to improve transparency.  However, his unilateral decision to cancel the televising of  this very significant meeting, and then stating in the Press that “there was not time to get the meeting televised” is another clear example of his character and real feelings about transparency.

His decision to not record or televise this meeting reminds me of the statement he made in a previous meeting where he said “Process is everything”.  This is yet another example of Gonser’s ‘selective’ use of processes aimed at accomplishing his own hidden agendas.

So much for transparency and ethics under our current Supervisor!

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

Richard Michalski

Supervisor Gonser thinks Oakland Township’s form of government is “bizarre” and unworkable

On November 11, 2014 the Oakland Press posted an article that reported on the current employment status of Oakland Township’s former manager, Ann Capela.  As reported previously, she agreed to terminate her employment as Oakland Township’s manager on September 29, 2014.  In the Oakland Press article, Supervisor Gonser indicated that he agreed with the former manager’s assessment that the political structure in Oakland Township is ‘unworkable’.  Gonser went on to say that it is a ‘bizarre’ form of government.  

At the November 11, 2014 Oakland Township Board meeting, the Board voted to authorize a consulting firm to initiate a Township Manager search to replace Ann Capela.  The motion was approved in a 6 to 1 vote.  Supervisor Gonser was the sole dissenting vote.

Here are some of the highlights of the Oakland Press article:

  • Ann Capela, our former manager, was hired by the city of Bethel, Alaska.
  • Regarding her September 29th agreement to terminate her contract as Oakland Township Manager, Capela stated:

“(Oakland Township has) a challenging political structure that soon became unworkable.”

  • The article states that Terry Gonser, the current Township Supervisor, agreed with her assessment.
  • He went on to say:

“We have a bizarre, unique form of government.”

  • Commenting on Ann Capela’s new assignment, he stated:

“She won’t be subjected to so much micromanagement.”

“She won’t be pulled in different directions.”

  • Trustee Thalmann, who voted to retain Capela, also supported the Supervisor’s opinion regarding the Township’s form of governance.

Here is a link to the Oakland Press article:

Former Manager: Oakland Townships structure ‘unworkable’

 Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  Oakland Township has had the current structure since the early 1990’s.  There were no issues raised under the previous three Supervisors (Buser-Hoffman-Fogler) with the current form of government.

Supervisor Gonser, as well as Trustee Thalmann, continue to want to change the structure to one with a “Strong Supervisor”.  There have been several previous articles posted on this website regarding Gonser’s attempt to change the Township structure.  Here are those articles:

Supervisor Gonser and Trustee Thalmann attempt (once again) to have a “Strong Supervisor” structure in Oakland Township

 Trustee’s reject Supervisor Gonser’s desire to become a ‘Stong Supervisor’

 Can we Trust Supervisor Gonser with more authority

Gonser and Thalmann have recently been in the ‘minority position’ on a number of Board decisions.  This could be a contributing reason for their desire to have Gonser become a ‘Strong Supervisor’.  He would then be able to make Township operational decisions without the consent of the entire Board.

The current political structure allows a trained professional Manager or Superintendent to manage the Township with direction from the Board. Having the operational decisions made by an untrained political elected official would not only dilute the authority of the Board, but would result in chaos and confusion in our Township after each Board election.  It would highly politicize the day to day operation of our Township.

Supervisor Gonser has indicated that he spends 50 hours per week on Township business.  His position is suppose to be a part time position.  His presence at the Township Hall most likely caused the micromanagement that Capela complained about. The Treasurer and Clerk probably had to spend additional time at the Township Hall making sure Gonser did not give direction on items impacting their departments – probably contributing to Capela being pulled in different directions.

Fortunately, the current Board has consistently objected to changing the political structure of our Township.  I hope that continues!  Their decision to approve the search for a replacement for Ann Capela is a good start.

Richard Michalski

 

Supervisor Gonser and Trustee Thalmann attempt (once again) to have a “Strong Supervisor” structure in Oakland Township

The October 9, 2014 Rochester Post had an article about the termination of the former Oakland Township manager’s contract.  In that article, Supervisor Gonser made comments that indicate he wanted to reconsider Oakland Township’s governance structure. Last year, he lobbied for having a full time “strong supervisor” structure vs. the current system (a part time supervisor and a full time professional manager).  

At the October 14th Board meeting, Trustee Thalmann indicated she wanted to revisit the “strong supervisor” proposal.  She made this comment after Trustee Bailey made a motion to have our current assistant manager, Jamie Moore, temporarily fill that position until a new manager was selected.  Gonser and Thalmann’s proposal was met with thoughtful objections from other Board members and citizens.  After considerable debate, the Board approved the temporary position for Jamie Moore, and authorized a search for a full time manager.

In the October 9th Rochester Post article, Supervisor Gonser is quoted as saying:

“The Township Board will have to discuss hiring –or not hiring– a new Township manager”

In the article, he went on to argue that Oakland Township is in the minority of Townships since we have an elected part time Supervisor and a full time manager or superintendent.

At the October 14th Board meeting, Trustee Bailey made a motion to have the current Township assistant manager fill the manager position until a permanent full time manager is selected.  He specifically included the designated statutory responsibilities “A through O” as part of her responsibilities.  He stated that he felt it was inappropriate for the Supervisor to assume those responsibilities.

Trustee Thalmann challenged Bailey’s comment and indicated that she wanted the Board to revisit the “strong Supervisor” structure.  She said:

“The Supervisor’s job is designed for all but 42 of the 1200-and-something charter townships in the state.  I still hold the opinion that a ‘strong supervisor’ and a deputy perhaps is a better way to go.”

Trustee Bailey and Treasurer Langlois expressed strong objection to revisiting this issue.  Bailey commented:

“We certainly debated that ‘ad infinitum’ and we concluded we do want to retain a township manager.”

Langlois commented:

“I like the idea of having a township manager that reports to the board.”

Several citizens expressed their objection to Thalmann’s proposal.  Reg Brown challenged Gonser and Thalmann’s comparison to other communities by saying:

“The statement that a small number of the 1240 townships do this (a part time Supervisor and a full time professional manager rather than a full time strong Supervisor) is a faulty comparison.  A great number of those townships have 200 to 300 people in them, so what does that have to do with what Oakland Township would do?”

Frank Ferriolo strongly objected to the proposal by stating:

“We spent 3 months last year going over, nitpicking if you will, this whole process of ‘strong supervisor’ vs. township manager having the “A through O” responsibilities.  We concluded our best interest is that the current form that we have is a good form.

The other thing I found a little bit curious is that both Mr. Gonser and trustee Thalmann were the champions of a ‘strong supervisor’ without a township manager.  Yet they were the only two that voted to keep the township manager (Capela) in the vote.

There would be great difficulty dismissing a ‘rogue’ supervisor and deputy.”

Gonser has previously stated that he spends over 50 hours per week in the Township Office, yet the Supervisor position is a part time position.

The Board ultimately voted on Bailey’s motion and approved it in a 6 to 1 vote.  Thalmann was the only negative vote.

There was also an issue raised whether Gonser should be the one offering the temporary position to the assistant manager.  After much discussion, the Board agreed to have Gonser extend the offer with the express statement that “the Board was making the offer”, not Gonser.

The Board voted on having Gonser extend the offer.  It passed in a 6 to 1 vote.  Thalmann was once again the exception.

Here is a video of the October 14th proceedings:

We should have seen this coming with Gonser’s post on Linkedin.  The responsibilities he states exceeds his statutory responsibilities.  The ENTIRE Board has those responsibilities and they delegated those to the Township Superintendant/ Manager – Jim Creech at that time.

Here is Gonser’s post to Linkedin:

Supervisor – Charter Township of Oakland, Oakland County, MI – (November 2012 to present)

Chief elected officer of the Township. Responsible for budgets, personnel, and all aspects of township government and Chairman of the Board of Trustees. Also a member of the Board of Directors of the tri-municipality Older Persons Commission.

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  The majority of the Board members are beginning to recognize and exercise their statutory responsibilities.  They are no longer acting as the formal approvers of Gonser’s opinions and agendas.  The Board, collectively, is more important than the supervisor.  For their recent actions and votes, the citizens should be grateful.

The fact that Gonser admitted spending 50 hours per week, on what should be a part time position, is evidence that he is doing more than what he is authorized to do.  In essence, he is managing the Township as a “Strong Supervisor”.  Could that be why both he and Thalmann did not support terminating our former manager’s contract? Was he doing her work, and she was not opposed to him doing it?

Time will tell if the Board is able to ‘restrain’ the Supervisor from using his position in inappropriate manners.  It looks like the majority of the Board is beginning to recognize the issue and hopefully will ensure their authority is not usurped by Gonser. The Board’s motion that explicitly states the Board is extending the temporary offer to the assistant manager clearly is intended to let the temporary manager know that she reports to the entire Board – not just the Supervisor.

Here are some related articles previously posted on this website:

Former article on “strong supervisor’ structure

Can we trust Supervisor Gonser with more authority

Richard Michalski

Treasurer Langlois challenges Supervisor Gonser’s Rochester Post statement

As reported previously, former Township Manager Capela’s employment was terminated on September 29, 2014. Efforts have been made to learn more about the discussions that took place at the meeting.  However,  there is no video or audio recording of the meeting proceedings.  

In an October 9, 2014 Rochester Post article, Supervisor Gonser stated:

“There was no time to get the meeting televised.” 

At the October 14, 2014 BOT meeting, Treasurer Langlois corrected Gonser’s statement, and pointed out that there apparently was an administrative decision made to not record or televise the special meeting as well as the Budget Workshop that had been scheduled for that date. Previous Budget workshops had been recorded and televised.

A few days after the September 29th meeting, the author of this post called the Township Office to determine if an audio recording had been made of the meeting.  They informed me that there was no audio recording of the meeting.  In the past, audio recordings were made of a meeting if it was known that it would not be video recorded.

Here is the video of Treasurer Langlois’ correction of Gonser’s statement:

Here are the copies of the minutes of the September 29th meetings (approved on October 14th):

September 29, 2014 Special meeting minutes

Sept 29th Budget workshop meeting minutes

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  Supervisor Gonser ran on a platform of transparency.  Treasurer Langlois has pointed out that the administration (either Capela or Gonser) apparently made a decision to not televise the meeting proceedings.  We as citizens will never know what really happened at the meeting, since there is no audio or video recording of that very important meeting.  Does that sound like transparency to you?

Richard Michalski

(EDITORIAL) – An Opportunity to Move Toward Better Government

As reported  here previously, the Board has acted and now needs to hire a new Township Superintendent

However this came about, the Board now has an opportunity to hire a strong, professional Township Superintendent who will take control over all of the duties assigned to the position by the Resolution made by the Board of Trustees.  In that Resolution the Board delegated every one of the fifteen duties and responsibilities enumerated in the Michigan Charter Township Act to the Township Superintendent. They need to find a person who, together with the Board, will stand up to Gonser and tell him that he has no executive nor management nor supervisory authority over the business of the Township.  The Board must enforce their Resolution and back their new executive in every respect.  Gonser says he spends 50 hrs./wk. working on Township business in the Township offices.  This is hardly possible unless he has been ignoring the will of the Board of Trustees.  He must be made to obey the Board, tend to his responsibilities and stay home.

We, the citizens of Oakland Township deserve good government.  This is our opportunity to make it clear to the Board that, in order to get our support, they need follow up their decision to fire Ann Capela with determination to hire and empower a township executive who will lead a good government.

Jim Foulkrod

BREAKING NEWS: TOWNSHIP MANAGER CAPELA’S CONTRACT TERMINATED

Robert Yager, the publisher of the Oakland Township Sentinel, published an article indicating that the Oakland Township Board terminated  manager Ann Capela’s contract on September 29, 2014. The vote was 5 to 2.  Supervisor Gonser and Trustee Thalmann were the only two that supported keeping Capela.

 A copy of Robert’s article is posted here:  

Oakland Township Sentinel 9-30-2014

I would encourage any readers or ‘followers’ of this site to send Robert an email at:

yagerra@comcast.net

to subscribe to his website.  He will send emails to you with each update.  The content shown on his site is very informative.  Here is a link to his website:

Oakland Township Sentinel

Thank you Robert for bringing this to our attention!

Here is a link to an Oakland Press article:

Oakland Press Article

Richard Michalski