Tag Archives: Parks and Recreation

Civility will return to Oakland Township! Our reputation restored!

Congratulations! Our collective efforts have been successful!

Voting_icon

Here are the names of the unofficial winners of the Oakland Township Board positions for 2016-2020 – pending the results of the November election:

Supervisor – Mike Bailey

Treasurer – Jeanne Langlois

Clerk – Karen Reilly

Trustee – Robin Buxar

Trustee – Frank Ferriolo

Trustee – John Giannangeli

Trustee – Lana Mangiapane  (only member of Terry Gonser’s ‘ticket’)

Here are the names of the unofficial winners of the Oakland Township Parks and Recreation Commission positions for 2016-2020 – pending the results of the November election:

Emily Barkham

Craig Blust

Dan Bukowski

Colin Choi

Cathy Rooney

Daniel Simon

Hank Van Agen

In addition, both the Parks renewal millage and the OPC transportation millage were approved.

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?

With these public servants:

  • Civil, ethical and professional behavior will be restored at both the Board and Parks Commission level.
  • Turmoil regarding the form of governance in Oakland Township will be eliminated.
  • The certainty of the position of Township Manager will enable us to have the most qualified professional municipal manager run the day to day operations in the Township.
  • Conflicts between the Board and the Parks and Recreation Commission will be eliminated.
  • The great reputation of our Township will be restored.

Will there be difficult and contentious issues our community will have to deal with?  Absolutely!  Will there be differences of opinion on how to resolve the issues?  Absolutely!

However, we have seen how the returning Board members have developed and worked together as a team over the past few years.  Our future looks bright!

Thanks to all the great candidates that chose to run for office!  Thanks to the retiring Parks and Recreation Commission members for ‘vetting’ the new Commission’s candidates, so their legacy will continue!  Thanks to the countless others that helped get the new officials elected! Thanks to all those who have been following this website!  Thanks to all of those who contributed to the ‘Oakland Township Watchers Action Committee’ for helping to make the election results a success!

BUT, most of all, thanks to all those who voted!

YOUR VOTE COUNTED!

Richard Michalski & Jim Foulkrod

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Were residents misled by Supervisor Gonser regarding the Parks and Recreation Commission’s legal fees?

This website has recently reported on legal expenses incurred by our Township.  One of our discoveries has resulted in a $9,000 per year savings to our Township.  As we continued our investigation, Bob Yager, the editor for the Oakland Township Sentinel LLC, made a discovery that raised a question regarding what really is covered in our Township’s monthly legal retainer fee.  

During 2014, former Trustee Thalmann repeatedly accused the Parks and Recreation Commission (PRC) of ‘wasting’ Township funds by using a different law firm, since the retainer fee for the Township Board’s law firm allegedly included PRC legal support. Supervisor Gonser never corrected the repeated accusations even though a year earlier, at a PRC meeting, Supervisor Gonser made a commitment that Thalmann’s accusations would not occur.

Here is the chronology of events:

  • On February 26, 2013, the Township Board approved a contract with our current Township legal service firm,  Giarmarco, Mullen and Horton P.C.
  • On February 27, 2013, the Parks and Recreation Commission discussed the Board’s decision regarding legal support.
  • The minutes from the February 27, 2013 PRC meeting state:

“Supervisor Gonser was present and explained that the Board solicited quotes for legal services. They agreed to contract with a firm for a not-to-exceed amount for one year, and that this figure anticipated that the new firm would provide legal services to the PRC. However, the amount would be reduced if the PRC chooses to obtain legal services through a different firm.”

  • At the March 13, 2013  PRC meeting, the PRC decided to keep the legal firm they had been using for years. It was not the same firm that the Township Board was using.
  • Between January 14, 2014 and Ocotober 14, 2014, former trustee Thalmann repeatedly accused the PRC of wasting money by using their own attorney rather than using the Board’s legal firm, which allegedly was covered in the Township’s monthly retainer fee..
  • Not once, after the repeated accusations by former Trustee Thalmann, did Supervisor Gonser challenge the accuracy of her statements, even though he stated on Febraury 27, 2013 that what she said would not occur.

Here are video clips of Trustee Thalmann’s repeated accusations made on:

  1. January 14, 2014 BOT
  2. February 11, 2014 BOT
  3. March 11, 2014 BOT
  4. September 23, 2014 BOT
  5. October 14, 2014 BOT

 

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township? Many citizens still believe that the Township is paying for legal fees that are unnecessary.  The Supervisor has never clarified this issue.

With this documentation, one of three things must be true:

  • The original monthly retainer fee was reduced to reflect the decision the PRC made to keep their own legal support firm, BUT Supervisor Gonser never felt it necessary to correct the multiple erroneous statements made by former Trustee Thalmann.

or

  • The original monthly retainer fee never included the PRC legal services, BUT Supervisor Gonser never felt it necessary to correct the erroneous statements made by former Trustee Thalmann.

or

  • Supervisor Gonser never reduced the monthly retainer fee to reflect the decision the PRC made to keep their own legal support firm, AND we are continuing to pay more for legal services than what is necessary.

We will request the the Board clarify this issue and report on it in a future post.  We are either paying more for legal services than what we need to be paying, or Supervisor Gonser’s ‘silence’ on this matter was an ‘act of omission’.

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

Further insight into the Agenda 21 conspiracy thinking of some of our elected officials

At the May 13, 2015 Oakland Township Parks and Recreation Commission (PRC)  meeting, there was a proposal to have the Oakland Township PRC become part of the Oakland County Trails, Water and Land Alliance.  Parks Commissioner Ann Marie Rogers expressed her concern that this is part of an ‘overreach’ plan by the Environmental Protection Agency.  During public comment a citizen, who is a self proclaimed ‘authority on Agenda 21’, indicated that this was part of the Agenda 21 conspiracy and a communist plan by the Federal Government to take over control of our land.

The citizen’s comments provide some insight into the thinking of those that believe there is a conspiracy based on the international agreement called Agenda 21. As previously reported, based on comments he made at an Oakland Township Republican Precinct delegate meeting on January 20 , 2014, Supervisor Gonser is a believer in this conspiracy.  Here is a link to the posting on his comments:

Supervisor Gonser on Agenda 21

The PRC approved joining the Oakland County Trails, Water and Land alliance in a 5 to 2 vote.  Commissioner Rogers and Schmidt were the dissenting votes.

Here is some additional information on this subject:

    • Oakland County Trails, Water and Land Alliance’s  (TWLA) stated purpose is:
  • To become an informed, coordinated, collaborative body that supports initiatives related to Oakland County’s Green Infrastructure Network.
  • Share information and coordinate efforts at quarterly TWLA meetings
  • Pursue the establishment of partnerships in both the public and private sectors
  • Promote TWLA through the Oak Routes Map, Fall Celebration, Green Infrastructure Vision, and other events and marketing materials
  • Provide support to TWLA partner organizations for grants and other funding opportunities
  • Oakland County’s Green Infrastructure Network is part of an initiative of L. Brooks Patterson, and has for its vision statement:
  • Enhancing recreational opportunities
  • Protecting important natural habitat
  • Increasing access to natural land and water resources
  • Developing parks, trails, and recreational facilities
  • Oakland Township has participated in many events that the Alliance has sponsored through the years.
  • There are almost 40 communities and organizations that are part of this alliance – including Rochester Hills, Addison Township, Springfield Township and many others
  • There are no fees or obligations associated with joining this alliance
  • The alliance has provided support to Oakland Township for grant applications
  • The Township can withdraw from the alliance at any time without any negative consequences
  • The vision of the alliance is consistent with the desires of the Parks and Recreation Commission.

Both Commissioner Ann Marie Rogers and Arlene Allen, the self proclaimed ‘authority on Agenda 21’, feel that this alliance is part of a conspiracy to take away the liberty of our citizens and community. They claim their position is supported by the Republican Party.  Based on previous comments by Supervisor Gonser, he appears to also believe in this conspiracy theory.

Here is a video of the proceedings at the May 13th meeting. This is a ‘must watch’ video to get an understanding of what these conspiracy theorist think.

 

Here is a link to a Glenn Beck trailer providing insight into what these conspiracy theorist see as our future under Agenda 21.

The conspiracy theorist’s vision of our future

If you want to learn more about Gonser’s position on Agenda 21, please visit the following link and watch the video of the comments from Jim Foulkrod, former Township Trustee, Zoning Board of Appeals member and Planning Commission member:

What does Agenda 21 have to do with Oakland Township?

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  The people that believe there is an Agenda 21 conspiracy are a sub group of the ‘Tea Party’ Republicans. It now appears that Parks Commissioners Ann Marie Rogers and Roger Schmidt, as well as Supervisor Gonser, subscribe to that conspiracy theorist thinking.

The 2012 Republican Platform did take a position in not supporting the 1992 Agenda 21 agreement.  This position was driven by the Tea Party members of the Party.  I do not believe that the majority of Oakland Township citizens subscribe to this fanatical conspiratorial way of thinking, yet some of our elected officials do.  The 2016 elections will give our community an opportunity to elect officials that are not ‘extremist’ or paranoid in their thinking.

Richard Michalski