Tag Archives: Supervisor Gonser

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

 

Summary of Supervisor Gonser’s actions while in office

The attached video is a summary of Supervisor Terry Gonser’s many egregious actions since taking office in 2012.  The content shown in the video is being distributed to the residents of Oakland Township on a flier so they can make an informed decision when they vote on August 2nd.  I trust many of you have already seen the flier.  

This video is also being posted on the recently created Oakland Township Watchers Facebook Page.

Thanks to the many Oakland Township citizens that have helped make this distribution possible.

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At the June 14 , 2016 Board meeting, the Township attorney was asked to review the historical documents, and determine if Supervisor Gonser had authority to sign an easement agreement without Board knowledge or approval.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

 

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

 

Statistics on growth of “Board/Manager” form of community governance

Supervisor Terry Gonser is proposing going back to the form of Township governance our community had prior to 1998, where his position would be a full time position.  There are several 2016 Oakland Township Board candidates that support Terry Gonser’s re-election candidacy, and presumably support his desire to make this change. 

Statistics published by the International City/Council Management Association (ICMA) indicate that many communities are moving toward the form of governance Oakland Township currently has, not away from it.  Their data indicates the size of a community influences the form of governance the communities choose.

After several attempts, we have not been successful in obtaining written statements from Supervisor Gonser (although his past actions make his position clear) , or several other Board candidates, regarding their position on this issue.  The citizens of Oakland Township deserve to understand each candidate’s position before they cast their ballots. Unfortunately the following have been reluctant to provide their positions.

We have not received responses from:

  • Terry Gonser – Supervisor Candidate
  • Judy Workings – Clerk Candidate
  • Jayson Corey – Trustee Candidate
  • Lana Mangiapane – Trustee Candidate
  • Robert Ricketts – Trustee Candidate who has withdrawn from race

The statements from the other candidates can be read by clicking:

SEE 2016 CANDIDATE OPINIONS

Here is more information on ICMA and the statistics they provided:

The ICMA is an organization that:

“identifies leading practices to address the needs of local governments and professionals serving communities globally. We provide services, research, publications, data and information, peer and results-oriented assistance, and training and professional development to thousands of city, town, and county leaders and other individuals and organizations throughout the world. The management decisions made by ICMA’s members affect millions of people living in thousands of communities, ranging in size from small towns to large metropolitan areas.”

Here is a quote from their website regarding the form of governance in communities (note: the ‘board-manager’ form of governance for a Township is similar to the ‘council-manager’ form for a village or city):

“Since it was first created a century ago, the council-manager form of government has become the most popular structure of local government in the United States. While many new municipalities have been incorporated with managers from their beginnings, many cities and counties across the country have made a deliberate change from strong-mayor to council-manager. Appointing a non-partisan professional manager with the authority to carry out the policies set by the elected body has advantages for many communities, and several have recently made the switch.”

The ICMA has provided data on how the preferred form of governance changes as a community increases in size.  Here is a graph of that data:

(click on image to enlarge it)

Form of governance vs. Community size

As you can see, when a community is small in size, it tends to have a “Mayor-Council’ or “Supervisor-Board” form of governance.  As it grows, and the complexity of managing the community increases,  it tends to move toward a “Council-Manager” or “Board-Manager” form of governance, where a professionally trained manager handles the administrative issues of the community at the direction of the Board.  Once a community gets above 250,000 residents, the “Mayor-Council” form of governance comes back into favor.

Oakland Township’s 2010 population was almost 17,000.  With that population size, 53% of the 1,847 communities surveyed have a “Board-Manager” form of governance, similar to what Oakland Township currently possesses.  The reasons for the increase in popularity of this form of governance are expressed by many of the the Oakland Township Board candidates that support retaining our current form of governance, SEE 2016 CANDIDATE OPINIONS, as well as the Kalamazoo Township Board that is moving to this form of governance, SEE KALAMAZOO BOARD DECISION.

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  As previously stated, there are several 2016 candidates that support Supervisor Gonser.  If they get elected, they may be successful in making his position a full time position. There are a few candidates (identified above) that have not provided their position on this critical issue.  Please consider the information that is available when you vote.

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

Kalamazoo Township joins the growing number of townships with our form of governance

In December of 2015, the Charter Township of Kalamazoo approved a motion moving their township from a full time Supervisor form of governance to one with a part time Supervisor and a professional manager.  They concluded their community would be better served by having a form of governance similar to Oakland Township’s.

Our current Supervisor, Terry Gonser, has spent three years trying to change our structure to what Kalamazoo is moving away from.  Supervisor Gonser has called our current form of governance “bizarre” and “unworkable” in an Oakland Press article.  

The Kalamazoo Board now understands the wisdom former Oakland Township Supervisor Joan Buser (and the Board at the time) had when our form of governance was changed to it’s current form in 1998.

 

In a recently published article on this website, Oakland Township Clerk Reilly indicated that other townships in the state of Michigan are moving toward Oakland Township’s current form of governance.  One of our residents, Reg Brown, commented that the Charter Township of Kalamazoo was joining those ranks.  On December 14, 2015, the Charter Township of Kalamazoo voted to hire a professional Township manager and a finance director to take effect in November of 2016.

The discussion that occurred at their Board meeting was similar to the many that have occurred at our Board meetings when Supervisor Gonser repeatedly attempted to change our structure to make his position a full time position.

Here is an excerpt from the approved Kalamazoo Board motion.  It does a very good job of capturing the benefits of our (and soon to be their) form of township governance:

“The positions of the Township manager and Financial director would:

  • provide continuity from election to election assuring a stabilizing effect for the efficient Township administrative operations and procedures,
  • professionally address the complexity and sophistication of urban Township operations including an $8 million general fund budget serving nearly 22,000 residents and
  • would assure the implementation of policies and directives of the Township Board.”

One of their Trustee’s stated:

“This proposal is the best chance for professionally managing Township Operations.”

In 1998 Oakland Township Supervisor Joan Buser (who has a Masters Degree in Public Administration)  worked with the Board to change our governance structure away from the “Strong Supervisor” form of governance to the current form of governance.  She stated in a previous post on this matter:

  • “During my tenure I met with many supervisors in Oakland County. Very few were qualified for their position.
  • The results can be seen most dramatically in the zoning ordinances and ordinance compliance.
  • When you drive through the townships that lacked good supervisors you can see what happened when a supervisor was inexperienced and there was no professional manager to help.
  • Once a development occurs that is not compliant with township ordinances you have that eyesore forever.
  • Before running for office, I had worked thirteen years in various capacities for Oakland Township.
  • Holding a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, I did not need a manager, because I was, effectively, a professional manager and an elected Supervisor.
  • Very few citizens have such qualifications. That is why a qualified manager is needed to make things run properly.
  • The Board sets the goals for the township, and the manager facilitates the implementation of these goals.”

Many of her points are the same as those expressed by the Kalamazoo Board members.  Their current Supervisor, Ronald Reid, was a strong supporter, and champion, for making the change in their community.

I strongly suggest that you watch the following video from Kalamazoo Township’s December meeting.  The proposal passed in a 5 to 2 vote.  Their clerk and one trustee were in the minority.  In the clerk’s comments, he raised a potential concern where he could support the proposal.  It is precisely a reason why we do not want a Strong Supervisor form of governance.

 

Joan Buser has a great mind and was a visionary! 

 

 

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  This year’s township elections have several candidates who appear to support going back to the “Strong  Supervisor” form of governance. If re-elected, current Supervisor Gonser will continue to push for making his position a full time position, despite the fact that he does not have the training to “professionally address the complexity and sophistication of urban Township operations” as stated in Kalamazoo’s proposal.

Trustee candidate Lana Mangiapane gave a presentation at the recent ‘Meet and Greet’ in which she claimed Joan Buser hired a professional manager because:

“With retirement on the horizon and wishing to become part time, Mrs. Buser hired Mr. Jim Creech to be the Township Manager in 1998.”

Lana failed to either understand, or acknowledge, the wisdom and fore-site Joan Buser had for the needs of our rapidly growing Township.

This website has posted the position and rationale of many Board candidates on this issue. One candidate, Jeaneane Landers, is still studying the issue.

The following candidates have declined to provide their position and rationale on this issue:

  • Terry Gonser – Supervisor Candidate
  • Andy Zale – Supervisor Candidate
  • Judy Workings – Clerk Candidate
  • Jayson Corey – Trustee Candidate
  • Lana Mangiapane – Trustee Candidate

The absentee ballots will be going out on June 29, 2016 in the mail.  Please consider the candidates responses (or their lack of response) when you vote.

Richard Michalski