Happy New Year 2016. Update: also read: Elections in MI/ petitions for local office/Bl. Twp. 2016
My WISH for the new year is to change the leadership and the culture at Bloomfield Township.
All seven officials (Supervisor, Treasurer, Clerk, and 4 Trustees) that make critical decisions have terms expiring in November 2016. We need major changes in top leadership and trustees.
Please consider yourself or a friend for these potential job opportunities. Skills & knowledge will count for something. Consider submitting petitions placing your name on the August primary ballot. Petitions must be submitted to the township clerk before April 2016. Your help is needed to bring change and to address the multiple failures of this and previous administrations.
- Currently there is much conflict at the Board of Trustees meetings. The verbal "sniping" at the meetings toward Treasurer Dan Devine, especially by Trustees Kepes, Barnett and Khederian (when she attends) has become out of control. It appears to be group bullying with verbal attacks about anything and everything Devine says or does. Supervisor Savoie allows the unprofessional and off topic and often untrue comments to continue unchecked. Savoie's unwillingness to control the meeting and to address important topics with verifiable facts that follow policy and ordinances demonstrates his lack of leadership.
- Nepotism and the whole "friends, family, favors" culture at the township. The citizens need leaders that will enact and/or enforce existing policies.
- Contract vendor awards: This administration has granted many NO BID contracts ie: 8 years for Rizzo. What needs to happen is to enact or enforce existing policies to guarantee the proper public notification, review and award of all contract bids at the public Board of Trustees meetings.
- Ordinances, zoning, planning: some new ordinances were written or modified to accommodate developers, and the re-writing, re-interpreting, granting variances and frankly ignoring existing ordinances to both commercial and residential properties has not only changed the character of our subdivisions but increased the commercial density of our community. This administration seems to making up their own rules. This should be challenged and corrected.
- Debt needs to be addressed and funded. Now that the law requires reporting in a different way, an agenda item revealed a $150 million underfunded Retiree Health Care Trust Fund VEBA in 2013. Combine that with the $80 million bond for one Pension and $65 million of principal only debt of W&S, Drain at Large, construction bonds for "campus", senior center, library, and bonds for SAD road resurfacing -- a whopping $300 MILLION.
- Financial oversight is needed: one example: The Twp. Finance Director, Jason Theis, who is not an elected official and reportedly is not even a CPA, was quoted in a local paper: "I create funds all the time. I made the decision as finance director to have it's own line, and for the public." when speaking of a controversial line item found only in the Water & Sewer budget 2014 and 2015. Theis's comment however, also implied including budget years 2009-2013. In reality that line item did not exist those years. Approximately $750,000 was collected because Theis "created" a line item in 2014 and 2015 and Savoie had it in the budgets he proposed. No mention of that line item until a 2015 agenda had a controversial $2.76 million transfer of funds from W & S to the Retiree Health Care Trust Fund VEBA.
- Employee Contracts: the current 6 year contract expires 2017. There are many items in that contract that have led to the unsustainable financial predicament the township now faces. Retiree costs are staggering. Retirement age must go higher than 50 yrs old. Past and present supervisors have been doing negotiations which has led to: $11,000 per month retirement plus other benefits for Payne and his beneficiary and Savoie giving 2% raises to ALL employees (that includes him) for each of the years 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016. What was the entire cost for that decision? What affect did that have on pensions, etc.? No details were given in a public meeting. Who will negotiate for the taxpayers? Where are the voices of the Trustees before making decisions?
- Work Week: years ago the township leadership decided to go to a 4 day work week and to date refuses to consider returning to a 5 day work week. The four day work week is a burden to many homeowners and contractors that wish to complete necessary business transactions at township offices on a Friday. Overtime pay has increased.
- Equipment/Vehicle Purchases: ALL purchases in every department should be before the Board of Trustees at a public meeting and should have competitive bids. That includes the expensive vehicles for the elected officials, department heads and motor pool. All proposed purchases should be justified as for need and budget.
- Road Department: A 10 year dedicated millage for this department expires this year. Time to say NO MORE. The existing annual $4 million dollar budget is top heavy in employee costs. Since millions are also transferred into this budget from the General Fund, it is time to scale down and reduce the size of this department.
- So much more to report. Go back to paragraph one. New leadership is needed.
Here is an article I found at http://www.michigancapitolconfidential.com. that is worth reading.
New Year’s Resolutions for Real Reform