Out With the Old, in With the New for Oakland Township Board
Oakland Township's outgoing Board of Trustees meets for the final time.
The last meeting of the outgoing Oakland Township Board of Trustees was short and a bit bittersweet Tuesday.
With little on the agenda, some residents took the opportunity to remind the five departing board members of the issues that led to their ouster. Some of the outgoing officials also took a moment to thank township staff, and Supervisor Joan Fogler received a certificate from her fellow board members in recognition of her long service to the township.
“I hope you understand that the reason you didn’t get voted back in is you weren’t advocates for the community,” said Jan Olson, who lives along the Paint Creek Mill Race, which went dry after a board-sanctioned project by the Clinton River Watershed Council to remove a dam. “I hope our new board will be advocates.”
Greg Olson was more direct.
“The Clinton River Watershed Council is laughing all the way to the bank while leaving you with a dry ditch,” he said. “This is your township, your community, your history, and it should have been your fight.”
At the request of the owners of the Rochester Cider Mill, the board directed its attorney to draft language that would allow the cider mill to sell Christmas trees this year. The wording will come back to the new board at its next meeting, a special meeting scheduled for Nov. 27.
The new board is likely to get down to serious business at its first meeting. Township Manager Jim Creech said the clerk’s office is working on certifying petition signatures submitted for a referendum on the proposed Blossom Ridge development. If it’s ready, the new board may be asked to review and approve ballot language.
There could also be a vote on the draft zoning ordinance (Ordinance 16). The draft has been criticized as poorly organized and confusing. Trustee Michael Bailey said he expects the new board to look at the bigger picture “and (to) decide whether or not the board recommends any revisions. At that point it would go back to the planning commission.”
The one-hour meeting ended on a personal note. Fogler thanked everyone “for supporting me through the years. I’ve been here for eight years and it’s going to be a loss to me,” she said. “It is what it is and we move on.”
Treasurer Sharon Creps presented Fogler with a certificate of recognition “in grateful appreciation for your outstanding dedication to service.” Creps said she started working for the township in 1988 as a secretary. Fogler was also a township employee and sat in the next cubicle.
“I believe some of the best things I learned … were gleaned from Joan Fogler,” she said. “Above all, Joan’s joy and concern for this special place on earth.”
There was a standing ovation, to which Fogler responded in her own inimitable style.
“You’re out of order,” she said. “I had to say that one last time.”