At the January 27, 2015 Oakland Township Board meeting, Supervisor Gonser retracted the slanderous statement he made at the January 13th Board meeting against a former Oakland Township Trustee, and now private citizen.
His slanderous January 13th comments were made at the same meeting where he:
- accused fellow Board members of violating the Open Meetings Act,
- did not give an explanation for why he lied to the Rochester Post in the October 9, 2014 front page article,
- was formally reminded, by resolution passed by the Board, what the responsibilities of the Township Manager are (and not his),
- accused this website of not reporting the facts.
- had discussion (even though he pulled the topic from the agenda) about his desire for a ‘Strong Supervisor’ form of government in Oakland Township.
Gonser’s retraction may prevent further legal action that could be taken against him for his slanderous statement.
Here is a video of Gonser’s retraction statement:
Here is the background information:
At the January 13, 2015 Oakland Township Board meeting, Supervisor Gonser made a slanderous statement toward Judy Keyes. Judy is a former Trustee who resigned in September of 2013 due to concerns she had regarding the ethical behavior of several of the Board members.
Gonser publicly said to Judy:
“You are the most disruptive person I have ever met. You have lied on this Board, you have cheated on this Board, you have stolen money on this Board.”
At the January 27, 2015 Board meeting, Gonser retracted his January 13th statement with the following statement:
“In the heat of the moment, I lost my composure and I made statements suggesting that Mrs. Keyes lied on this Board, cheated on this Board, and stole money on this Board.
I want to make a full retraction of each of those statements. To be clear, I have no proof that Mrs. Keyes lied, cheated or stole money on the Board, and my statements to the contrary were made in the heat of the moment and were a mistake.
I apologize to Mrs. Keyes and offer this full retraction in good faith”
He went on to say:
“I apologize to the community for the comments I made.”
Treasurer Langlois stated:
“I would like to add, so that the record shows, that the Board was not silent on this matter.”
She then made a motion, that was unanimously approved, acknowledging the Supervisor’s retraction and apology to Mrs. Keyes.
In June of 2013, the Township Board passed a “Principles of Township Governance Excellence Policy”. The development of that Policy statement was led by former Trustee Judy Keyes. As previously reported on this website, the Board approved it. However, only two members of the Board agreed to sign the document (one of them was Judy Keyes, the other Sharon McKay – neither are currently on the Board). Trustee Thalmann refused to sign it. Supervisor Gonser indicated that the Board members did not have to sign it.
Principles of Township Governance Excellence document
What follows is a copy of the “Charter Township of Oakland Conflict of Interest and Code of Ethics Policy”.
Charter Township of Oakland conflict of interest and code of ethics policy
Ideally, a community should not need these type of documents. It appears that, even if they do exist, they have no impact on the actions of our Supervisor.
Here is a video of Gonser’s January 13th comments:
Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township? Slanderous comments are criminal and are never acceptable. Having them come from an elected official in Oakland Township not only reflect on Gonser’s character, but the reputation of our Township. The citizens of Oakland Township, as well as the Board, have the duty to hold him accountable for his actions.
It appears that Gonser’s actions are ‘catching up with him’. His comments and discussions at the January 13th meeting have apparently put him in an “attack mode”. The saying “The best defense is a good (??) offense” appears to be his game plan.
Both Gonser and Trustee Thalmann continue to argue for a “Strong Supervisor” type of government in Oakland Township. Gonser’s actions are a clear example of why we do not want a “Strong Supervisor” system in Oakland Township. This appears to be yet another ‘offensive” move (two interpretations possible and meant).
Another issue that needs to be clarified is whether the Township paid for the legal counsel Gonser received in developing his retraction. The citizens of Oakland Township must not be held accountable for his slanderous accusation.
Gonser’s actions cannot go unchallenged by the citizens of Oakland Township. We certainly must remember this in the 2016 elections.
- Can we trust the other Board members to hold Gonser accountable to his sworn oath of office and the “Principles of Township Governance Excellence”?
- Have the citizens had enough to warrant a recall of Gonser?
Let us know your thoughts!