Open Meeting Act
Violations by other Commissioners - Alleges Oakland Township Parks Commissioner
Anne Marie Rogers- First Story in a Series
At the Dec 11 Parks and Recreation Commission Meeting, Oakland Township Parks and Recreation Commissioner Anne Marie Rogers, reading from a written statement, alleged that four of the commissioners - Alice Tomboulian, Joe Peruzzi, Colleen Barkham and David Mackley had formed a “cabal” and held secret meetings and email communications excluding the three newly elected Commissioners, in violation of the Open Meetings Act. Her remarks can be viewed on the township website video of the meeting. After clicking the link below, click on Parks and Recreation, then Dec 11, 2013, then Agenda item #14. Commissioner Rogers’s remarks start at about minute 136:40. http://vp.telvue.com/player?id=T02627
The Open Meetings Act prohibits any quorum of a public body from meeting in secret and has other provisions that prohibit trying to circumvent the act by emails or phone calls. All meetings must have adequate prior notice and be open to the public, even if the meeting is only a discussion with no decisions made. Violating this act carries fines for the first offense of up to $1,000 and a fine of $2,000 and one year imprisonment for a second violation. The act and a guide to the act may be seen on my website at this link: http://oaklandtownshipsentinel.wordpress.com/laws-pertinent-to-township-affairs/. Go partway down the page to the two documents about Open Meetings Act.
Commissioner Rogers' comments came after a day spent reviewing the email account of Parks and Recreation Director Mindy Milos-Dale, whom she cited as complicit in these violations.
Commissioner Rogers has volunteered to supply to me he dates and subject lines of the emails. I will then need to request the actual emails by Freedom of Information Act at $0.25 per page. After reviewing these, a summary of the contents of these emails will be considered for a follow-up report. She is researching if she can file charges herself or if it must be done by a resident.
The four commissioners implicated denied that there had been any secret activities by a “cabal”.
Township Trustee Maureen Thalmann, who also attended this meeting, added that a former Township Trustee is alleging that the Township Board of Trustees also violated the Open Meetings Act via email communications.
Robert Yager - Editor - Oakland Township Sentinel, LLC - News and Information Service