Tag Archives: Ann Marie Rogers

Do Ann Marie Rogers, Roger Schmidt and Beth Markel, and their ‘slate’, deserve your votes for Parks Commissioners?

Over the past 3+ years, the actions of Parks and Recreation Commissioners Ann Marie Rogers, Roger Schmidt, and candidate Beth Markel, have raised questions in many citizen’s minds as to whether they are appropriate for any elected or appointed positions in our Township.  Their actions have been considered disruptive and counterproductive. Here is a video discussing their many questionable actions over the years.

Here are previous posts and an Oakland Press article that documents the actions mentioned in the video.  Please consider these when making your decisions on the Parks and Recreation Commission candidates.

Former Trustee Thalmann and Current Park’s Commissioner Rogers DID forward “Privileged and Confidential” material!

Parks Commissioner Ann Marie Rogers attempts to defend her behavior

Oakland Press article on Ann Marie Rogers being censured by Oakland Township Parks Commission

Two Parks Commissioners plus Beth Markel file lawsuit against four other Parks Commissioners – Papers served by Board Trustee Thalmann’s husband

Parks Commissioners’ lawsuit against fellow Commission members rejected by Judge for second time

Ann Marie Rogers called a citizen a “whore” and “a little bit worse” at a Board meeting

PRC Commissioner Rogers accuses a “cabal” of Open Meeting Act violations

Park’s Commission Treasurer Roger Schmidt accuses Commission of using Land Preservation Fund as ‘slush turn’ with no supporting facts

Ann Marie Rogers and Roger Schmidt storm out of meeting after Ann Marie was removed from Personnel committee

Park’s Commissioner Roger Schmidt admits ‘sabotaging’ subcommittee meeting

Parks candidates Ann Marie Rogers, Roger Schmidt, Beth Markel, James Clark, and Brian Cecilio, as well as Supervisor Gonser, Clerk candidate, Judy Workings, and Trustee candidates Lana Mangiapane, Jason Corey and Jeaneane Landers do not support Parks renewal millage.

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township? The actions and behavior of a community’s leaders are a reflection on the residents of the community, since we elect those individuals.  The previous actions of candidates Ann Marie Rogers, Roger Schmidt and Beth Markel should be considered when you vote this summer for Parks and Recreation Commissioners.

At their “Meet and Greet” event held on June 27, the candidates handed out a flier that indicated their entire ‘slate’ of Parks candidates (Rogers, Schmidt, Markel, Clark, and Cecilio) do not support renewing the Parks millage.  The flier also indicated that Supervisor Gonser, Clerk candidate Judy Workings, and the Trustee candidates Mangiapane, Corey, Ricketts and Landers also do not support renewing the millage.  Please consider their position on Parks when you vote on February 2nd.

If you support our Parks, please consider voting for the following seven Park’s Commission candidates that have been endorsed by the long-standing, award winning, retiring Parks Commissioners.

The seven candidates are:

Emily Barkham
Craig Blust
Dan Bukowski
Colin Choi
Cathy Rooney
Daniel Simon
Hank Van Agen

HOW CAN I REMEMBER WHO TO VOTE FOR WHEN THERE ARE SO MANY NAMES?

Someone suggested the following acronym:

“CARS plus 3 B’s”

CChoi

A= van Agen

R= Rooney

S= Simon

B= Barkham

B= Blust

B= Bukowski

It works for me, and hopefully for you.  But remember:

  • the ‘C’ is for Choi, not Clark or Cecilio
  • the ‘R’ is for Rooney, not Ann Marie Rogers and
  • the ‘S’ is for Simon, not Roger Schmidt

Best approach, write the names down before you enter the voting booth, or take a picture of your list on your ‘smart phone’, and review the picture in the voting booth.  Do not leave anything in the booth when you leave.

You can learn much more about each of these candidates by visiting the ‘Park Protectors’ website at:

www.parkprotectors.org

Richard Michalski

 

Parks Commission and Board ‘ticket’ candidates are recommending ‘NO’ vote on Parks renewal millage

At the June 27, 2016 “Meet-and-Greet” candidate event that Trustee candidate Lana Mangiapane set up, it was discovered that ALL of the Parks and Recreation Commission and Board candidates that were sponsoring this event are recommending a ‘NO’ vote on the Parks renewal millage.  They are running for office as a ‘ticket’   One of their documents states:

“This action will NOT close the Parks, it would simply turn the funding of the parks to the Trustees.”

The candidates who are running as a ‘ticket’ include:

Parks and Recreation Commission

  • Ann Marie Rogers
  • Beth Markel
  • James Clark
  • Bryan Cecilio

Township Board

  • Terry Gonser – for Supervisor
  • Judy Workings – for Clerk (*)
  • Jayson Corey – for Trustee
  • Lana Mangiapane – for Trustee
  • Jeaneane Landers – for Trustee (*)
  • Bob Ricketts – for Trustee (*)

(*) Were not present at event

One of the documents being handed out by the group is ‘illegal’ since it does not identify who authored the document.  When questioned who was the source of the document, none of the candidates answered.  However, since this document was being handed out at their ‘ticket’ campaign events, they all share in the responsibility for the content and legality of the document.

This illegal document is the same one that was previously reported as being distributed on residents mailboxes along with some candidate campaign literature.  See “Fact sheet on Parks and Recreation Commission and millage renewal”.

A second document they were handing out indicates that they all recommend voting ‘NO’ on the parks renewal millage.

Oakland Township election slate

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  There has never been such a clear distinction between the candidates who are running for the Parks and Recreation Commission. The four Parks candidates named above must think that the money for managing the Parks will ‘magically’ come from the Trustees.  Where is that money coming from?

As I stated, the choice is clear!  If you like the Parks in Oakland Township, please vote ‘yes’ on the millage renewal, and the true ‘Park Protectors‘ shown here:

Emily Barkham
Craig Blust
Dan Bukowski
Colin Choi
Cathy Rooney
Daniel Simon
Hank Van Agen

The choice is also clear regarding the candidates for the Board.  Knowing the millage renewal position of the Board candidates mentioned above is one factor the voters should consider.  It is also interesting that none (Jeaneane Landers being the exception) of the Board candidates running on this ‘ticket’ have provided their position on the form of governance they recommend for Oakland Township.  Jeaneane Landers has stated that she supports changing our structure to what Supervisor Gonser has been trying to do for almost 4 years  – Gonser being a full time Supervisor, and elimination of the the full time professional municipal Manager position.

Absentee Ballots are going out this week.  It will be an interesting summer!

Richard Michalski

 

Fact sheet on Parks and Recreation Commission and millage renewal

Parks Commission sign

A number of residents have been receiving fliers on their mailboxes recommending voting ‘no’ on the upcoming Parks  millage.  These fliers have no identification on them as to who generated the flier.  However, they have been  included with campaign fliers from several Parks and Recreation candidates.

It is a criminal offense under the Michigan Campaign Finance Act (as quoted below) to distribute election material without identifying who paid for it.

Section 169.247
MICHIGAN CAMPAIGN FINANCE ACT (EXCERPT)
Act 388 of 1976

Sec. 47.
(1) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection and subject to subsections (3) and (4), a billboard, placard, poster, pamphlet, or other printed matter having reference to an election, a candidate, or a ballot question, shall bear upon it an identification that contains the name and address of the person paying for the matter.

(6) A person who knowingly violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or imprisonment for not more than 93 days, or both.

Several current Parks and Recreation Commissioners felt Township citizens should be provided the facts to offset the false statements claimed on the flier.  Here is their fact sheet:

FACT SHEET ON THE PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION

  • In the 2015 Planning Commission Survey, Parks and Recreation topped the list of positive changes in Oakland Township according to township residents. Oakland Township residents have supported parks millages for over 40 years. Thank you!
  • In a 2009 publication of The Trust for Public Land, studies showed that excellent parks can add 15 percent to the value of a nearby dwelling.
  • Over the years, the Parks and Recreation Commission has purchased the most valuable natural areas for our parks as determined by a professional land survey IN 1974.
  • Wetlands clean our groundwater, provide habitat for fish and wildlife, store floodwater and maintain surface water during dry periods. Wetlands are among the world’s most productive ecosystems, comparable to rainforests or coral reefs. They are neither “unusable” nor just “swamps.”
  • According to the 2016 National Recreation and Parks Association Field Report, Oakland Township Parks and Recreation’s annual operating expenditures, based upon the Township’s population, is 14% lower than a typical park agency.
  • The real cost of salary and benefits for our PRC is actually only 33% of the revenue provided to the Parks and Recreation Commission, less than half of what parks opponents have alleged.
  • Equipment purchased for PRC employees are necessary for parks work. Examples include two-way radios required for the safety of prescribed burn crews and communication at large events, phones for reporting emergencies or using online sources during field work, a golf cart for transporting disabled and elderly residents at events and equipment etc.
  • All park properties are open to the public.  Federal grants don’t restrict residents from using parks. They do restrict such things as water towers and cellphone towers.
  • Of the total 1100 acres of Oakland Township park land, 782 acres could have been otherwise developed as subdivisions. Instead the PRC applied for grants that funded 132 acres, worked with generous land owners who donated 242 acres as well as negotiating purchases of 726 acres.
  • Professionals are hired for park design and master planning because of their knowledge of federal, state and local requirements and their expertise on practical as well as aesthetic design issues.
  • The Parks and Rec Commission demonstrates prudent budgeting by keeping a fund balance to cover future costs – a strategy used by most sensible families. Since the PRC receives its funding once each year, money must be reserved to cover operations, park improvements, programs and matching funds for potential grants until the revenue is received.
  • Legal fees for the 2015/16 PRC fiscal year were 2% of the total budget (Parks and Land Preservation).
  • The PRC creates a new Master Plan for the Oakland Township Parks every five years.  In the 2015 PRC Master Plan survey, residents responded that the most desired park facilities are walking and biking trails, fitness trails, greenspace, natural areas, and off-leash dog park.  The highest interests in recreation included walking, biking, sledding, ice skating, canoeing/kayaking and fishing.  All of these are currently part of the OT Parks and Recreation programming.

Information provided by Current PRC Commissioners

Colleen Barkham

Joe Peruzzi

Alice Tomboulian

Some answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on the millage can be seen by clicking:

FAQ on Parks Millage

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  Having the facts before voting on the millage issue is critical.  The three current Parks and Recreation Commission members who have responded to the false information in the flier, as well as Parks Commissioner David Mackley, are recent State award winning Parks Commissioners for their “ongoing and tireless commitment to Parks and Recreation Programs and Services in their communities.”  They are all retiring after years of service to our community. Their efforts, and your past support for parks millages, have been responsible for the outstanding Parks System Oakland Township possesses.  In order to continue that legacy, they have endorsed the following candidates for the Parks Commission.

Emily Barkham
Craig Blust
Dan Bukowski
Colin Choi
Cathy Rooney
Daniel Simon
Hank Van Agen

If you like the Parks in Oakland Township, please vote ‘yes’ on the millage renewal, and the true ‘Park Protectors shown above.

NOTE: The campaign information for these candidates was not what was included with the flier mentioned in the first paragraph of this post.

Richard Michalski

 

Park’s Commissioner Roger Schmidt admits ‘sabotaging’ subcommittee meeting

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

At the April 13, 2016 Parks and Recreation Commission (PRC) meeting, Parks Commissioner Roger Schmidt admitted that he attended a PRC subcommittee meeting with the intent that the meeting would be terminated.  The official subcommittee members included Alice Tombulian, Ann Marie Rogers and Joe Peruzzi.  

Roger Schmidt disregarded previous input from the Parks and Recreation attorney, who stated subcommittee meetings should not have more than three commissioners attend because it could be considered a violation of the Open Meetings Act, since a quorum of the PRC would be present.  The Township Board’s attorney agreed with the PRC attorney’s assessment.  

Roger Schmidt’s attendance at the subcommittee meeting did result in the meeting being terminated.  As a result, any work the subcommittee was attempting to accomplish on a dog park for our Township had stopped.  Ironically, in the past, Roger Schmidt has supported having a dog park facility in one of our Township Parks.  

Prior to the February 10, 2016 PRC meeting, Chairman Zale asked for volunteers for the dog park subcommittee.  Commissioner Schmidt did not respond.  The other three members did respond, and were appointed to the subcommittee.   Roger Schmidt was upset that he was not selected as a subcommittee member and voted against the subcommittee, as did Commissioner Ann Marie Rogers. 

Oakland Township’s Parks and Recreation Commission has been considering establishing a dog park in one of our Township parks.  Alice Tombulian was an advocate for this prior to Roger Schmidt and Ann Marie Rogers joining the PRC in 2012.  The PRC established the subcommittee mentioned above to recommend in which Township park a dog park would make the most sense.  They were to review background dog park information, including work that had been done by a citizen ‘ad hoc dog park committee’.  That citizen group had previously recommended Bear Creek Nature Park.  Ann Marie Rogers was part of the ‘ad hoc’ group.  The Bear Creek proposal had been rejected by the PRC in a 5 to 2 vote for a number of reasons. Ann Marie Rogers and Roger Schmidt wanted to proceed with the Bear Creek proposal as submitted by the citizen ‘ad hoc’ group.

The first subcommittee meeting was held on March 16th.  The meeting began with Joe Peruzzi, Alice Tombulian and Ann Marie Rogers attending. The meeting was open to the public.   When Roger Schmidt walked in, Chairperson Peruzzi terminated the meeting based on advice from the PRC attorney.  The Township Board’s Attorney agreed with that decision.

At the April 13, 2016 PRC meeting, Joe Peruzzi gave a brief description of the March 16th meeting, and why it was terminated.

Ann Marie Rogers stated:

“Commissioner Schmidt attended this dog park ‘charade’ committee as a private citizen.  This Commission cannot take away his rights as a resident.

The fact that we even had this meeting is the first place, I believe, was a ‘sham and a charade’.  every penny was removed from the Budget.”

To which Parks and Recreation Treasurer Roger Schmidt agreed and said:

“Yes!”

Parks and Recreation Manager, Mindy Milos-Dale, corrected Ann Marie and Treasurer Schmidt pointing out that there was $25,000 in the budget for the dog park work.

Commissioner Roger Schmidt stated:

“Another reason I went there (the meeting) was this is a waste of everybody’s time and BY GOING THERE, I KNEW THAT THEY WOULD GO AHEAD AND CLOSE THE MEETING DOWN, because that should have been done.  It (the meeting) shouldn’t have been done in the first place.”

During citizen comments, 2016 Parks and Recreation candidate, Beth Markel, defended the presence of Roger Schmidt at the meeting, even though it violated the recommendation of two Township attorneys.

Here is a video of comments made at the April 13th meeting:

 

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  Since the current Parks and Recreation Commission members were elected in 2012, there has been considerable conflict on the Commission.  Ann Marie Rogers, Roger Schmidt and 2016 PRC candidate Beth Markel filed a complaint accusing other Commissioners of violating the Open Meeting’s Act.  The Court dismissed their charges.  They are appealing the Court’s decision.

Roger Schmidt’s admission that he intentionally attended the meeting to cause it to be terminated speaks to the disruptive approach both he and Ann Marie Rogers have taken in dealing with Parks and Recreation issues over the past few years.  Last year the two of them got up and left a meeting in anger before the meeting was over. Roger’s lack of understanding that there is $25,000 in the budget for a dog park indicates that he is not qualified to be the Treasurer for the PRC.

The parks in Oakland Township are the envy of many surrounding communities. These parks are the result of years of cooperative and creative work by Parks and Recreation Commissioners.  We currently have two Commissioners that appear to want to change the historically non-political nature of the Commission using divisive actions.  Oakland Township deserves better than the childish and vindictive behavior (like storming out of the January 14, 2015 PRC meeting , and subverting the efforts of the subcommittee) when things do not go their way.

We will have an opportunity later this year to elect an entirely new Parks and Recreation Commission.  Our votes will determine the future direction of our parks.  We can elect a group of people that will work together respectful of one another, or continue to have the disruptive behavior that has been present for the last 3+ years.  Your votes will have in impact on our Township’s future. Stay tuned for more information on the Parks and Recreation candidates on this website.

Richard Michalski

 

 

 

Parks Commissioner Ann Marie Rogers violates her own criteria for holding public office

Parks and Recreation Commissioner, Ann Marie Rogers, expressed behavior standards for Township officials at the March 22, 2016 Oakland Township Board meeting.  Her own behavior in January 2015 demonstrates she does not meet that standard.

At the March 22, 2016 Oakland Township Board meeting, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Ann Marie Rogers commented that she did not support the potential appointment of fellow Parks and Recreation Commissioner, Joe Peruzzi, to the Zoning Board of Appeals.  She commented that she witnessed many actions by Joe Peruzzi that should disqualify him for any public position. She claimed Joe:

  • “Lacked a thoughtful temperament”
  • “Showed disrespect toward residents”
  • “Possessed an unpredictable and angry nature”

Several Board members took issue with the accuracy of her statements.

Ann Marie’s comments reminded several residents of her behavior that was discussed at the January 14, 2015  Parks and Recreation Commission meeting.  At that meeting, a resident, Joanna VanRaaphorst, described inappropriate and aggressive behavior she witnessed Ann Marie exhibit against a fellow citizen during the previous night’s Board meeting.  Joanna commented that Ann Marie Rogers had turned around and called another citizen “a whore”, and created a hostile environment for citizens attending the meeting.

Ann Marie Rogers defended her actions, and said she even said things “a little bit worse”.  There was no acknowledgment of inappropriate behavior.

Here is a video documenting the proceedings that are described above:

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  With this year being an election year for the Township Board and Parks and Recreation Commissioners, the citizens need to make sure we elect people who meet our standards for acceptable behavior. Ann Marie Rogers expressed a good set of standards in the March 22nd meeting.  Since she is running for office again this year, she should be held accountable to those same standards.  Her behavior at the January 13, 2015 Board meeting and the Parks and Recreation meeting on January 14, 2015 demonstrate that she does not meet them.

Finally, the allegations she made against Joe Peruzzi continue to be unsubstantiated.  The Board approved his nomination for the Zoning Board in a 5 to 1 vote.  Supervisor Gonser, who had made similar accusations, was the sole dissenting vote.

Richard Michalski

Please attend September 9th Parks and Recreation meeting if you want to help restore integrity in Oakland Township

Please attend the Wednesday September 9, 2015 Parks and Recreation Commission meeting that will be held at 7 pm at the Township Hall on Collins Road. The Commission will be considering a motion to censure Commissioner Ann Marie Rogers for a breach of ethical and honorable behavior. Citizen support is needed if we want to maintain ethical behavior in our elected officials. It is hoped that the Commission will move this agenda item near the beginning of the meeting.

Here is the agenda for the meeting (see item 13):

Sept 9, 2015 PRC agenda

As previously reported on this website, it was discovered that Park’s and Recreation Commission member, Ann Marie Rogers, as well as former Trustee Maureen Thalmann had shared privileged and confidential material with others. The findings were forwarded to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office and Prosecutor’s office to determine if any illegal actions had taken place. Their investigation determined that no criminal actions had taken place.

In the July 27, 2015 Oakland Press article, describing the issue and the Prosecutor’s findings, Ann Marie Rogers is quoted as saying:

“The fact of the matter is that the (Oakland County) prosecutor found that I did not commit any crime nor did anything improper. Maureen Thalmann and myself have been completely exonerated of any wrongdoing.”

Here is comment made in the May 7, 2015 Oakland Press article on this subject, where Ann Marie Rogers attempts to defend her actions:

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

It appears Ann Marie Rogers believes since sharing of privileged and confidential material was not illegal, it was not wrong or improper behavior. It appears that others on the Parks and Recreation Commission may think otherwise, and may be censuring her for her actions.  The Parks and Recreation Commission will be considering officially censuring Ann Marie Rogers’ behavior.

The Township Board had previously passed a similar resolution indicating that sharing of Privileged and Confidential material was “breach of trust” and that a failure to report an unauthorized receipt of correspondence marked Privileged and Confidential was ‘improper”.

Here is a copy of the Township Board’s Resolution 15-15:

Resolution 15-15

Here is a copy of the draft resolution being considered on September 9th:

Parks and Recreation censure motion

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township? Oakland Township has now established a new standard for ethics in government. Sharing of information marked ‘Privileged and Confidential’ will now become the acceptable standard for elected officials – unless the Park’s and Recreation Commission make it clear that such behavior is unacceptable.

An individual’s moral values are the basis for one’s behavior. Ethical behavior is therefore in the “eyes of the beholder”. Laws are written to protect society from significant unethical behavior. Laws do not restrict ALL unethical behavior. Sharing Privileged and Confidential material has now been determined not to be illegal or criminal, and, in the eyes of one of our elected Parks Commissioners, acceptable.

The issue of whether the information HAD been shared by the two elected officials was never contested. The issue the Sheriff and Prosecutor had to determine was whether sharing the information constituted a criminal act. To be clear, the prosecutor DID find that Ann Marie Rogers did not commit a crime. However, they DID NOT conclude, as Ann Marie stated to the Oakland Press, that there was not ANY ‘improper’ behavior. It appears her value system is based on only following the laws on the books.

The Park’s and Recreation motion will parallel a similar motion the Township Board took following Maureen Thalmann’s actions and the County’s findings. Both actions will make it clear to our elected officials that sharing of Privileged and Confidential material IS considered a breach of ethics and honorable conduct in our Township.

Here are some previous posts on this subject:

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

Parks Commissioner Ann Marie Rogers attempts to defend her behaviour

Former Trustee Thalmann and Current Park’s Commissioner Rogers DID forward “Privileged and Confidential” material!

Trustee Thalmann’s resignation and legal investigation

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