Tag Archives: Oakland Township Ethics

MUST WATCH BEFORE YOU VOTE: Gonser’s supporter’s ‘dirty politics’ caught on surveillance video

On August 1, 2016, a day before the election, a supporter of Terry Gonser was caught on surveillance video removing a flier from an Oakland Township owner’s door (although impossible to tell, it appears to have been an Andy Zale flier that is Red White and Blue) and then peered into the house for an eerily long period of time, scaring the children.  She left a copy of Supervisor Gonser’s campaign flier on the door.  

This is yet another example of the lack of integrity in Supervisor Gonser and his campaign.  Please watch the following video.  It should convince you not to vote for Terry Gonser.  It was enough to convince the owner.

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  

THE VIDEO SPEAKS FOR ITSELF!

CAN ANYONE IDENTIFY THIS WOMAN?

Richard Michalski

 

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

 

Supervisor Gonser violated Charter Township Act in 2014!

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

At the June 14 , 2016 Board meeting, the Township attorney was asked to review the historical documents, and determine if Supervisor Gonser had authority to sign an easement agreement without Board knowledge or approval. At the June 28, 2016 Board meeting, the attorney concluded, even though there were past administrative failures that resulted in the easement not being officially approved and recorded back in 2004, Supervisor Gonser should have brought the issue to the Board prior to him signing it on September 3, 2014.  His signature violated the Charter Township Act.

  • Supervisor Gonser, attempted to prevent the attorney’s conclusions from being made public.
  • Supervisor Gonser tried to blame the attorney by saying there were undocumented conversations on this matter and that he “was not advised not to bring it to the Board”. (There was no evidence that the attorney was ever aware of the issue prior to the June 14, 2016 meeting.)
  • Supervisor Gonser indicated there had been considerable discussion prior to signing the agreement, even though he could not recall anything about this issue at the June 14th Board meeting.
  • Supervisor Gonser tried to blame the Planning Commission for the administrative issue that resulted in the failure to have the deed recorded back in 2004, even though it was not the Planning Commissions responsibility.
  • Supervisor Gonser attempted to defend his failure to bring it to the Board for review and agreement, even though his actions violated the Charter Township Act, by saying:

    “What would have been the difference!  . . . . .It was a done deal!”

So what happens now?  Since there never was an official Board motion (in 2004 or 2014) to approve the easement agreement, and the Board wants to understand the Township’s legal responsibility for this easement, the issue will come back to the Board for final resolution.

Here is a video of the meeting proceedings.  It does provide a very clear picture of Supervisor Gonser’s thought process and character.

 

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  Since there were previous commitments made regarding the easement but they had not been officially recorded, the Township administrative procedures need to be reviewed to ensure this type of failure does not occur again.

However, the Supervisor’s:

  • lack of understanding that the issue should have been brought to the Board,
  • his rationalization for violating the Charter Township Act because “What would have been the difference?”,
  • his apparent selective memory on this issue by his conflicting comments made at the June 14th and 28th meetings,
  • his lack of understanding of the responsibilities of the Planning Commission,
  • his accusing two residents of ‘parsing’ his words,
  • and his attempts to place blame on others,

should raise concerns by our citizens.  Is this the type of leader we want as Supervisor for the next four years?  He has previously indicated he wants to take over all administrative responsibilities for the Township and eliminate our full time professional Township manager position. Do you really think we can trust him?

Personally, I think he would have been better off if he had simply admitted that he “screwed up” and should have brought it to the Board.   There is no harm in admitting to a mistake – trying to place blame on others for a personal failure is another matter.  ‘Nixonian’ is the best term I can come up with to describe his behavior.

Richard Michalski

 

Legal review underway to determine if Supervisor Gonser had authority to commit Township to significant financial liability without Board knowledge or approval

At the June 14, 2016 Oakland Township Board meeting, Treasurer Langlois disclosed that on September 3, 2014, Supervisor Gonser signed a safety path easement agreement with a property owner to transfer “all responsibility and liability for the safety path and boardwalk to the Township and its residents”.  This agreement was done without any knowledge, or agreement, from the Township Board.  

The agreement could result in hundreds of thousands of dollars of cost to the Township in repair and/or replacement of that badly deteriorated path.  The property involved is on the Southwest corner of Adams and Silverbell Roads.   The parcel is currently owned by a Moceri entity. It was purchased from the church on that corner approximately 90 days after the easement was signed. The easement document that the Supervisor signed indicates that it was prepared by an employee of a Moceri entity.  (The ownership information was corrected after the initial post.   The change in ownership was incorrectly stated as just the opposite of what is now correctly stated.)

Treasurer Langlois stated there is no evidence of a Board review, or a Legal review of this matter (the Township attorney did not appear to have any knowledge of the agreement).  She also stated:

“I do not believe Supervisor Gonser had, or has, the authority to accept easements on behalf of the Township.  Only the Board of Trustees has that authority. The document appears to show an overreach on the part of the Supervisor, and a complete improper action.”

Supervisor Gonser sat silent for almost 3 minutes while others spoke before he stated:

“Unfortunately I don’t remember why I signed it.  I can only state that it certainly did not come in a vacuum.  Someone had to present it to me and indicated it was appropriate to sign, but I don’t remember the specifics of it.” 

He made no attempt at explaining why he did not bring it to the Board for approval, or even for information.

Trustee Ferriolo stated:

“No matter what was involved in the history and rationale for doing it, it should have been brought to the Board.”

The Township attorney has agreed to perform an investigation on this issue and will report out at the next meeting scheduled for June 28, 2016.

 

Here is a video of the June 14th discussion:

 

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  We certainly must wait for the results of the Legal investigation to be complete before we draw any final conclusions, but Supervisor Gonser’s signature, and lack of willingness to inform the entire Board of his actions, is consistent with previous behavior.

This website has reported that Supervisor Gonser has repeatedly attempted to change the governance structure of Oakland Township to one where he would become a full time “Strong Supervisor”. He has taken several unilateral actions without Board approval.  The Board has repeatedly responded by reaffirming Ordinance 97, which limits the Supervisor’s responsibilities, and maintains a professional Township manager who reports to the entire Board.

Here are some key points:

  • This easement agreement will certainly result in significant added costs to our Township.
  • It appears to have been made unilaterally without Board knowledge or agreement.
  • Under normal conditions, Gonser’s action could have resulted in a recall campaign being held.
  • Gonser is currently a candidate for election on August 2nd.
  • The Absentee ballots are going out on June 29th.
  • It is essential that the Legal review be completed by the June 28th Board meeting,
  • It is absolutely essential that we get adequate press coverage immediately after the June 28th meeting, so people can make an informed decision prior to sending in their absentee ballot.

My recommendation is that the Board be prepared to issue a press release on June 29th to the Oakland Press and the Rochester Post informing them of the outcome of the investigation.  If there are acceptable reasons for Gonser’s signature, there may be no need for the press release.  However, the press release may still be necessary since Gonser should have brought it to the Board for information.

The citizens need to have a clear understanding of this situation before they vote!

Richard Michalski

Trustee candidate Lana Mangiapane misrepresents “Meet and Greet” meeting. Can you trust her as an Oakland Township Trustee?

The May 17, 2016 “Meet and Greet’ event that Trustee candidate Lana Mangiapane (and an undefined ‘women’s group’) set up was not the unbiased event that she claimed it to be.  Aside from the brief comments from two of the three Supervisor candidates, it became a forum for Lana to present information supporting Supervisor Terry Gonser’s attempt at making his position a full time one in our Township.  The event did not present a balanced perspective on this important issue.  Lana is a candidate for Township Trustee this year.

On May 17, 2016 there was a “Meet and Greet” event that Trustee candidate Lana Mangiapane set up for Oakland Township citizens to meet this year’s Supervisor candidates for our Township.  She claimed it was set up by a woman’s group in the community.  The event was advertised in the “Community Lifestyles” newspaper that residents of Rochester, Rochester Hills and Oakland Township receive.  Even though she had presented the meeting as an unbiased political meeting, the event ended up being a political campaign event for Terry Gonser.  Lana’s presentation was supportive of Terry Gonser’s desire to become a “Strong Supervisor” for Oakland Township.  Lana did not provide a counter perspective on the issue that is shared by the two other candidates for Supervisor.

Terry Gonser attended the entire meeting.  Andy Zale were able to attend a portion of the meeting.  He had another Township meeting he had to attend, so he left shortly after introducing himself and giving a short speech.  Mike Bailey had a previous commitment and was unable to attend.

After Andy and Terry made their introductory comments, Andy left.   Lana then gave a 10 minute presentation on the history of the Supervisor position in Oakland Township. The presentation focused on the fact that Oakland Township does not have a “Strong Supervisor” form of governance.  Supervisor Gonser has spent the last 3 plus years trying to change Oakland Township’s form of governance into one where his position would be a full time position.  He would eliminate the professionally trained municipal manager that runs the day to day operations in the Township.

The current Board has repeatedly rejected Gonser’s attempt to change the existing structure of our Township.  Lana’s presentation was clearly attempting to influence the public into thinking that what we have is not appropriate for our Township. She did not provide a balance perspective that would have included the reasons the current Board used to justify why our current structure is in the best interest of our Township.

After Lana gave her presentation, I asked her if there would be a venue where the other perspective on the issue could be presented. She responded by saying:

“Today this presentation . . . it was just the information that was printed that we presented.”

She went on to say:

“This may be something that we take up at one of the meetings.”

Prior the ‘Meet and Greet”, there were attempts by others to get clarification of who were members of the the “womens group” that organized the event and when they met.  Lana refused to provide any information.

After the formal presentation, I asked Lana who prepared the presentation. She responded by saying:

“It was given to me by someone.”

I then asked her who gave it to her.  She refused to give me the name of the person, and then walked away.

On May 18th, one of the attendees posted a comment on this website’s Home Page regarding his attempt at getting a copy of the Lana’s presentation.  Here is a copy of his comment.  You can also read it under the Home Page comments.

“Yesterday I attended the Meet the Candidates for Township Supervisor. I found the presentation to be very informative and was hoping to have an electronic copy for my notes. I was told that I needed to put ‘Candidate’ next to my name on the signup sheet and I would have a copy emailed to me. When I went to go back to the signup sheet, the sheets were taken up and put somewhere. When I went back to the person who told me to add ‘Candidate’ she said that I was not allowed to have a copy of the presentation. Transparency and Accountability were two key words used and yet these actions do not support either…”

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  This summer’s election will have profound effects on Oakland Township’s future.  The issue of whether Oakland Township should have a “Strong Supervisor” form of governance has become a central issue in this year’s Supervisor’s race.  Supervisor Gonser has been trying to change the structure of Oakland Township for over 3 years. He wants his position to be a full time position, where he would take over all administrative responsibilities in our Township, including managing the many technical municipal management items for which he has no experience.  The other two Supervisor candidates do not support that position.  They want to keep the current structure, where the Supervisor and the Board rely on a trained professional municipal manager to run the day to day operations of the Township, with direction from the entire Board.

It appears there are a number of Trustee candidates, including Lana Mangiapane, who agree with Terry Gonser’s desire for a ‘Strong Supervisor’.  If a majority of these candidates get elected, they will change the structure of our Township.

Lana’s attempts to use the “Meet and Greet” forum as a campaign event for Terry Gonser’s ‘platform plank’, while implying the the meeting as an unbiased political event, convinced me that she is not trustworthy enough to gain my vote.  Her refusal to disclose:

  • who the ‘women’s group’ are,
  • who put the presentation together,
  • who gave her the presentation

were further examples of her lack of transparency.

To quote the person who posted a comment on our Home Page,

“Transparency and Accountability were two key words used and yet these actions do not support either…”

Here is a link to a  previous post that references the “Strong Supervisor’ discussions that have occurred at past Board meeting.

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

Since this is an important issue for the citizens of Oakland Township to consider when they vote on August 2nd, the editors of this website will reach out to each of the Trustee candidates to ask them to express their position on this important issue.  Hopefully we will get responses from all of them.

Richard Michalski

Supervisor Gonser’s false allegations and inconsistent comments and examples of his ‘ethics’ while in office

At the September 22, 2015 BOT meeting, Supervisor Gonser made many allegations about former Manager Warren Brown.  Trustee Ferriolo discovered that the Supervisor’s allegations were unsubstantiated.  At the October 13, 2015 BOT meeting, Supervisor Gonser made a statement that was not consistent with what he had publicly stated at the September 22, 2015 BOT meeting.

At the September 22, 2015 BOT meeting, Supervisor Gonser made many accusations against our former Township Manager, Warren Brown.  Mr. Brown was not present at the meeting to defend himself, since he had already resigned from the position.

Before making the many accusations against Mr. Brown, Supervisor Gonser stated:

“I wanted to express the disappointment I have in our former Township manager. The second week after he came, he asked the Supervisor if I would turn over all the projects I was working on to him, which I did, and that was the last time I spoke to him, or he spoke to me actually. The last time he . . . for a number of weeks.”

Gonser then proceeded to claim that the lack of progress on the projects he mentioned was due to the fact that we do not have a “strong Supervisor” form of governance in Oakland Township, a position both he and former Trustee Thalmann tried to change MANY times over the past 3 years.

Between September 22 and October 13, Trustee Ferriolo did some research to determine if Gonser’s accusations were true.  After consulting with Township Staff, Ferriolo determined that Gonser’s accusations were not true. Trustee Ferriolo commented on his findings at the October 13 BOT meeting. He felt Gonser’s comments were “statements unbecoming a Township Supervisor”.

After Trustee Ferriolo made his comments, Supervisor Gonser attempted to defend himself.  He said:

“Trustee Ferriolo was speaking somewhat beyond his knowledge. There WERE communications between the Supervisor and the former Manager regarding a lot of these project.  They did not get done, so I am simply stating the facts.  I stand by that! “

This statement contradicts what he said at the September 22 BOT meeting.

  • Did he, or did he not speak to Warren Brown about progress on the various projects?  Both statements cannot be true!
  • Was Gonser just trying to defend his unsubstantiated claims?
  • Was Gonser trying to ‘get even’ with Warren Brown, since Mr. Brown made the following statement at the last Board meeting he attended prior to his resignation?

“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 transcript of the accusations Gonser made at the September 22 meeting.

Supervisor Gonser’s negative comments about Warren Brown Sept 22, 2015

Here is a video showing a portion of Gonser’s comments at the September 22 meeting, what Trustee Ferriolo said at the October 13 BOT meeting, and Gonser’s statement trying to defend himself.

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  Supervisor Gonser has yet again failed to live up to one of his stated priorities when he ran for office.  He told the League of Women’s voters that one of his top three priorities, if elected, was Integrity and establishing an Ethics Policy for Oakland Township.  His most recent statement is yet another example of what many citizens have come to expect from our Supervisor.

There are many examples that make clear Mr. Gonser’s ‘personal’ ethical standards. The reader can determine if these actions meet their ethical standards. Here are a few (there are more that could be added).  Each item is linked to a previous post that supports the statement:

Do these actions meet your ‘litmus test’ for ethical behavior?

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

Richard Michalski

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

On May 14, 2015, Circuit Court Judge Honorable Leo Bowan rejected, for the second time, the lawsuit filed by Oakland Township Parks Commissioners Ann Marie Rogers and Roger Schmidt, as well as resident Beth Markel, claiming that fellow Parks Commission members had violated the Open Meetings Act.  The original lawsuit was filed in February of 2014.  Hopefully this issue is now behind us.

As previously reported on this website, and in the Oakland Press, Ann Marie Rogers shared ‘Privileged and Confidential’ material with co-plaintiff Beth Markel, former Trustee Thalmann and Supervisor Gonser.  These communications occurred during the litigation period. The matter is being further investigated by the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office for possible legal action against Commissioner Rogers and former Trustee Thalmann.

Here is some background on this lawsuit:

  • On February 28, 2014, two Parks and Recreation members, Ann Marie Rogers and Roger Schmidt, along with Beth Markel, the wife of Zoning Board of Appeals member John Markel, (the plaintiffs) filed a lawsuit claiming that PRC members Dave Mackley, Colleen Barkham, Alice Tomboulian and Joseph Peruzzi (the defendants) violated the Open Meeting act through email correspondence.
  • On December 2, 2014, the defendants filed for ‘summary disposition’ of the case.
  • On December 3, 2014, the plaintiffs filed a cross motion for ‘summary disposition’.
  • On February 13, 2015, Circuit Court Judge Honorable Leo Bowan granted the defendants request for summary disposition and dismissed the case. He also dismissed the plaintiff’s request for cross summary disposition as “moot”.

Here is a copy of the February 13, 2015 legal ruling for the lawsuit:

20150213_opinion_fld_ord-grnt_dft_mtn_sd_100867059

  • On March 4, 2014, the plaintiffs made a motion for reconsideration in the decision.
  • On May 14, 2015, the Judge found:

“This Court finds that plaintiffs’ present motion fails to demonstrate a palpable error by which this Court and the parties have been misled.”

The Judge goes on to say:

“This Court finds that the defendants’ reasoning and arguments in their response to the motion for reconsideration accurately states why this Court granted their  – not plaintiffs –  summary disposition.”

Here is a copy of the May 14, 2015 legal ruling for the lawsuit:

20150514 50_Opinion and Order re Motion for Reconsideration

During this time period, Ann Marie Rogers shared a number of ‘Privileged and Confidential’ documents with Beth Markel, Maureen Thalmann, and Supervisor Gonser.  Some of this information pertained to ‘Closed Session’ legal matters.  Here are copies of the Township Attorneys’ discoveries regarding inappropriate sharing of “Privileged and Confidential” material.

Investigation results from PRC attorney

Investigation results from Township Board’s attorney

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township? The Judge’s decision to dismiss the lawsuit raised by Commissioners Ann Marie Rogers, Roger Schmidt and private citizen Beth Markel, vindicate the other Parks Commission members.  This lawsuit has cost the Township in the form of legal fees and reputation.

Ann Marie Rogers disclosure of ‘Privileged and Confidential’ material with a fellow plaintiff and others is under review by the Oakland County Sheriff Office.  This matter appears to be much more serious than the alleged open meeting act violations that she claimed occurred.  The Judge made his decision on the open meeting matter.  It is now up to the Sheriff’s Office to determine if there is sufficient evidence to warrant prosecutorial action.

Hopefully our citizens will consider the actions of our current Township officials when we vote in 2016.  Oakland Township deserves better!

Richard Michalski