A very disturbing agenda item... being presented by Supervisor Savoie.... that has NO DOCUMENTS FOR THE PUBLIC TO REVIEW IN THE April 13, 2015 Board of Trustees BOARD PACKET.
THAT IS: Agenda item # 5:
Does that mean ONLY Savoie KNOWS what is going to be said? Or does that mean... Savoie has met with the other Board members... or some of them... and discussed with them what Savoie wants to accomplish... or does that mean Savoie has the legal firm writing up some proposal or "resolution" ahead of time ? Is Savoie doing this on his own? I can't believe that Dan Devine has suggested this course of action. I don't know. Is there going to be a vote? WHAT IS TOWNSHIP LAW? I do know that Township law does allow to HIRE a person to run the township....instead of a Supervisor. However, there is a process that needs to be followed. Perhaps THAT should be discussed.
At this point I would say, contact your TRUSTEES. ASK them questions. But the Township REFUSES to give township email addresses to the Trustees and publish those email addresses on the website. Unbelievable.
Will there be any new faces in 2016 on the ballot? I hope so. Will the Treasurer office be a full time position? I hope so. Does the Township deserved better leadership and better legal advice? YES...my opinion.
In August of 2011, David Payne "retired" before his Supervisor term ended to collect a pension of $11,122 per month - not including the retiree health benefits... and who knows what else. What seems to be a decades old process... the township leadership quits or retires before an election so the existing members can choose /appoint the successor. That gives that person an edge in the next election... which apparently most Township residents have no desire to challenge.
So, in 2011,......."the chosen one"... to succeed Payne as Supervisor was Leo Savoie. However, Treasurer Dan Devine, challenged the process. EGAD.... not supposed to happen in AAA rated elite Bloomfield Township. Leo Savoie won out in a 5-2 split of the Board.. which I believe Devine eventually bowed out to make Savoie appointment unanimous... as is "assumed" to be the usual result of any agenda item in this Township.
Since then, the "tension" has continued between Savoie and Devine. If you watch the video's of the Board of Trustees meetings, you can hear/see/ the tension between the two.
My gut feeling is... since Devine is the Treasurer and the PENSION FUND is not working out as THEY ALL expected, some on the Board want him out. The township has made some bad decisions...all seven of them... and the expendable one seems to be leaning toward Dan Devine... my opinion. But how can that happen? He is elected. Well, is this action being suggested to make the next election less desirable for the position Devine desires?
BUT WHY REDUCE THE TREASURER TO A PART TIME POSITION? IS THIS EVEN LEGAL? WHAT DOES TOWNSHIP LAW SAY?
THE DEFINED BENEFIT PENSION PLAN
Now... I want all of you to understand... I objected to the $85 million dollar pension bond plan from the very beginning to the very end. This Township Board... rushed into the process... ALL OF THEM.... I attended many/most of the meeting, including Special Study Sessions. THE BOARD.... ALL OF THEM.... voted for the pension bond plan and voted for the investment plan....without asking many questions. At one study session where Prudential was present, Prudential suggested a larger portion of the $85 million dollars to be put into the Guaranteed Account they hold. When public comment was available, I asked to hear why Prudential thought more should be in the Guaranteed Account vs the equity funds since the Board did not choose to discuss that issue/ input when Prudential suggested that at the meeting. I was basically told, "WE" like the investment plan as Schwartz/Township proposed. Prudential did not get to elaborate at that meeting. All seven trustees voted to approve how they were going to deposit the $85 million(less expenses)....and now it is not working as projected. Problems have surfaced. Perhaps the Defined Benefit Pension Plan is NOT fully funded.
Those voting for the financial plan ... ALL have been Trustees on the Board or elected officers for many years. Where have the questions been for DECADES ?
Well, the Township has AAA ratings. It appears the Treasurer has things running smoothly. However, why didn't the Trustees ask questions when the bond issue was presented? Why didn't the Trustees learn about the various aspects of how the township operates? Why is it that whenever the township needs money...they just propose another millage or special assessment district or more bonds? WHY? Because the citizens continue to approve millages whenever asked. The money flow seems endless.
Recently the Board recommended to replace the 26 years of services provided by Jenkins, Magnus, Volk & Carroll for the annual audit. The Township bid out this service and they (JMVC) were not the low bidder. It seems finance director Jason Theis suggested/requested to the Trustees that this service could be bid out. Really? Did anyone in particular suggest he make that recommendation? I know it wasn't Dan Devine. Why, because Devine is the Treasurer and he knew that the Township had previously said that professional services are exempted from bidding. Other long time service providers: Hubbell, Roth & Clark, engineering and William Hampton, attorney.... they have been with the township for over 25 years each.... why not bid them out, too? Is the Board targeting Dan Devine and his department?
Recently the Board recommended and approved a financial advisory panel. The financial sustainability committee will make recommendations to the Board on all investments.
Who is on that committee? Why Supervisor Savoie, of course, and employee Jason Theis, finance director, and elected Treasurer Dan Devine, elected Trustee Brian Kepes, and three Township citizens appointed by the Board of Trustees. They are Dave Petoskey, Joe Moynihan, and Sean Smyth. Who are they? What are their credentials? What credentials do Savoie, Kepes and Theis have for investment advising? I believe Treasurer Devine does have investment credentials.
OK, SO NOW A GROUP of people...with who knows what credentials... are going to make investment recommendations to the Board of Trustees.
Hello.... 3 out of 7 of this group ARE part of the Board of Trustees that will hear the recommendations.
Another is an employee that may not want to disagree with the 3 Trustees on the committee? Job security?
That means, the GROUP making investment recommendations only need one other Trustee to go along with their recommendation for a majority vote.
Remember, there has always been a "group of people" making recommendations: ... a reputable full service investment company with many employees hired by the township ....along with an elected Treasurer knowledgeable about investing that made investment recommendations every year to the Trustees. Currently about 40% of the Pension funds are in equity accounts by Gregory J. Schwartz & Co. The other 60 % is held by Prudential in the Guaranteed account. Every investment was APPROVED by the entire board. If ANY of the Trustees didn't like the recommendations or understand the recommendations... they should have asked for clarification! However, if all the trustees don't ASK or DON'T UNDERSTAND investing...and don't continue to ask questions, what will be different? What will happen to both of these companies? Will they be replaced also?
THINK ABOUT THIS PROBLEM:
When the Township leadership gives the retirees COST OF LIVING payments that are NOT GUARANTEED by Prudential... the current BUDGET... needs to pay that COLA money every year into the Guaranteed Prudential Account. But does it....or has it?? Therefore, the Guarantee account is constantly under funded. Look at the pension amounts! Quit giving cost of living increases!!!
REALITY CHECK ON THE COST OF THIS PENSION PLAN EACH YEAR
Did you see the pension fund list and how much our current retirees are paid? See the Board of Trustees Special Study Session Packet for March 10, 2015 @ http://bloomfieldtwpmi.minutesondemand.com/
for the entire list of current retirees and their monthly pension. Those numbers do NOT include their retiree health benefit costs.
Are you aware that there is ANOTHER pension plan for employees? It is for those that are NOT in the defined benefit plan. How much money is needed from the current budget each year to fund that account? Is that pension being fully funded EACH YEAR? When will the first employee retire under that plan?
THE PROBLEM IS THE TOWNSHIP KEEPS GIVING AWAY TOWNSHIP DOLLARS TO EMPLOYEES WITH PENSION/HEALTH CARE PLANS THAT ARE UNSUSTAINABLE. I DON'T CARE HOW MANY INVESTMENT ADVISORS THE TOWNSHIP HAS.... THE PROBLEM IS THE PLAN ITSELF. It's all in the details.
In February 2010... a small number of voting public went to the February "stealth" ballot ... and by approx. 700 votes approved a 1.3 mills ten year millage... to keep the status quo as property values were dropping.
We are WAY PAST STATUS QUO ....
In June 2011 the employees accepted a six year contract.... with wage openers in 2013 and 2015.
In April 2013, all full time employees received a 2% raise.
In April 2015, all full time employees received a 2% raise.
There is a 4% increase in health care premiums.
There is a 6% increase in health care premiums for retirees.
The employees work a 4 day work week. How much is spent in overtime?
What else? Where can we read the contracts?
Do all these raises/costs also raise the pension obligations ? Yes.
THE BIGGEST QUESTION HERE IS:
WHO negotiated the pay raises and other costs?
Nothing has been approved by the entire Board of Trustees.
Has Supervisor Savoie, who told me back in December of 2014... that there was room in the budget to give all employees a 2% raise... and told the township in March that the employees got a 2 % raise and other cost increases do just that on his own? Savoie sets the budget.. that's his job. But changing contract facts is not.
Did Savoie also just basically TELL the TRUSTEES that .... no vote/no agenda item/no discussion/ no facts/ it's a done deal? Do the Trustees know who negotiated the contract change? Who signed that change? Who voted to approve that change to the contract. Answer: ??? no one?? Who should know? Where is our attorney? Where are our TRUSTEES???
Savoie ( along with several on the Board) has been making lots of changes... and those changes are costing the Township taxpayers big bucks. He has encouraged repaving the subdivision roads with about 52% approval... changing the long standing and still standing procedure for roads at the Oakland County Road Commission.
Some subdivisions are getting sewers, water mains or roads... for FREE while others must pay. A pipeline value was put on a valuable residential lot.... and the neighbors got a half million dollar road from the company. A country club gets to "apply" for a "special event"... which is really employee parking for 7-8 months on residential property for a small fee of $125. Residents are being told at ZBA meetings that certain topics can NOT be discussed, even though it is a crucial part of the discussion. New "resolutions" are being written or new ordinances are created or "interpreted"... to accommodate certain people or businesses. Sidewalks that many don't want. The list goes on......
Is Supervisor Savoie on a major power grab in the township? Is anyone paying attention?