[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: SG-W:/AANews Editorial re new Pittsfield administration



I don't really know the story behind the editorial written by Judy McGovern. 
I did call her to correct some of the errors of fact, and she was very angry 
and hostile - I gathered she had gotten her information from our political 
opponents, since she threw in some nasty cracks about Judith Walter's 
ability as Clerk, which was a page from Chockley and Shelton's book. They 
can't grasp that Judith had to quit in May for personal reasons, and imply 
that she was incompetent, which is utterly false - Judith was a tremendous 
Clerk and loved the job. She left the job in May, with a superbly trained 
staff in place, allowing plenty of time for folks to get it together for the 
election (Likewise, Ann Arbor's Clerk quit about the same time - again, the 
timing allowed plenty of time to prepare for the elections)

Over the years, many public officials have resigned for a variety of 
reasons, but Judith has been selected for vilification because her husband 
was running for office, and they hoped to undermine him by slamming her. The 
other side also said poisonous things about me. That's politics, from their 
point of view, since they couldn't grasp the issues, but I'm surprised Judy 
McGovern is perpetuating the campaign when the election is over.

Judy made a big deal about the incompetent department assistant (sectretary) 
that had worked at the twp. for 1.5 months that I canned in my department 
(That was supposed to be political). Also, she kept trying to say the 
secretary Jim reorganized out was let go for political reasons - completely 
false. Out of hundreds of twp. employees those were the only two let go, 
hardly a massive turnover in the offices. Certainly any number of the people 
we retained even voted against us, but we all work at level of 
professionalism that transcends local politics.

There is a great misunderstanding about the role of Deputy Supervisor. This 
was a title only in the old structure of the office. I don't want to seem 
pompous, but, um, the other two elected full time officers (Bob Skrobola 
Treasurer, and me, Clerk) are more what you would call the next in the chain 
of command. We make whoop de do administrative decisions, are elected 
officials, and are pretty darned big cheeses in the vast offices of the 
township.

The deputy Supervisor, by contrast, was a secretary (the one reorganized 
out) who got an annual stipend of $2,500 to be named deputy supervisor. She 
certainly could not make any official decisions; however, if the Supervisor 
was busy, she could, for example represent him at a luncheon to present 
Hortense Kunkle with a lovely plaque in honor of her dedication to keeping 
the petunias watered at the Senior Center. To call her second in command is 
to completely misunderstand the role of the other officers and Trustees in 
the township government.

Jusith VERY KINDLY agreed to VOLUNTARILY come in for ONE WEEK while we 
restructured the offices. Jim, Bob, and I eliminated the office coordinator 
positions and made the Deputies full time positions. I moved my wonderful 
office coordinator to another position, and hired another full time person 
to be deputy Clerk (She's working on upgrading our election files, doing 
tons of FOIAs, and her special project is writing all the new ordinances we 
need - wetlands, woodlands, natural features.)   Bob kept his same guy and 
renamed him as full time deputy,  and Jim simply abolished the office 
coordinator position. One we had board approval, Jim was able to appoint his 
full time Deputy Supervisor, which was now more of an assistant to the 
Supervisor. He moved much loved and valued and very long time township 
employee Ruth Turner into the position. Judith then was no longer Deputy 
Supervisor.

Judith was kind enough to place hold the old position for one week (The part 
time, $2500 per year position - she refused to take even one week's worth of 
the pay) until Ruth could be appointed after the Board approval of the 
restructuring. Judith was extremely helpful, given she knows all the staff 
and could introduce me to my own office. She helped me find everything for 
my office, since the old administration cleared out the Friday before we 
started on Monday, Nov. 20. She showed me how to do oaths, and a million 
other little things, which the previous admin. couldn't do since they hate 
our guts so much.

She also cleaned out boatloads of trash and recycling left in Jim's office, 
and generally held down the fort and answered phones when he had to zip out 
to finish a few classes at EMU (He's a prof there - this is his last term, 
but since we didn't know if we'd get elected, we couldn't quit our jobs, 
though both he and I had enough flexiblity to begin working full time 
immediately).

I hope this answers some questionms about the shocking week of volunteer 
work Judith did. I feel so bad that she has taken such relentless criticism 
for doing a public service, but that's politics, I guess.

As far as the Planning Commission goes: EXACTLY WHAT ANDREW said. I couldn't 
put it better. I'd only add that these folks were heading us into a legal 
position that would leave the Township unable to defend against Newmarket 
(Via the Central Area Amendment - by the way we're stuck with having a 
public hearing on that piece of garbage). They absolutely had to go before 
they destroyed the township. And, as an advisory commission to the Board, 
they just couldn't advise us since they refused to follow our Master Plan or 
listen to community input. An impossible situation.  All the Best, Christina

>From: "Kristen A. Gibbs" <kgibbs@umich.edu>
>To: smartgrowth-washtenaw@great-lakes.net
>Subject: Re: SG-W:/AANews Editorial re new Pittsfield administration
>Date: Wed, 13 Dec 2000 10:48:01 -0500 (EST)
>
>Seriously, though, I would have some strong criticism for a government
>official that appointed his wife to the second in command after himself.
>Which is, as far as I can tell, what Jim Walter did.
>
>Is there such a derth of qualified people in the township that he was
>forced to do this? Can anyone address why this is okay?
>
>The removal of the planning commissioners is a bit troublesome, too, if
>only becuase it sounds like they were unceremoniously kicked out for
>holding a different opinion than the current powers that be on one
>particular issue. That, too, sounds like far too shady a reason to remove
>someone from their position when they have been effective and efficient in
>every other way.
>
>What is the story behind the editorial, for those who don't live in the
>township?
>
>-kg
>
>
>
>On Wed, 13 Dec 2000, Christina Lirones wrote:
>
> > We're all working on our nicknames: Banana Jim? Che? Chiquita? HA Tina
> >
> >
> > >From: Andrew Mutch <amutch@waterford.lib.mi.us>
> > >To: smartgrowth-washtenaw@great-lakes.net
> > >Subject: Re: SG-W:/ AANews Editorial re new Pittsfield
> > >administration/Newmarket
> > >Date: Thu, 07 Dec 2000 16:34:44 -0500
> > >
> > >Interesting -- I'm curious as to how the AA News has editorialized on 
>the
> > >behavior
> > >of the previous Boards -- I've heard enough in the past that surely 
>they
> > >have
> > >commented....
> > >
> > >Andrew Mutch
> > >Novi
> > >
> > >Rober98@aol.com wrote:
> > >
> > > > The Ann Arbor News on Tuesday ran an editorial about the new
> > >administration
> > > > and trustees in Pittsfield Township.  Here's the link:
> > > >
> > > >
> > 
> >http://aa.mlive.com/columns/index.ssf?/news/stories/20001205atuesedit125.frm
> > > >
> > > > And here's the text:
> > > >
> > > > >>
> > > > EASE UP
> > > > Pittsfield Township newcomers
> > > >
> > > > Tuesday, December 5, 2000
> > > >
> > 
> >------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > > >
> > > > --
> > > >
> > > > To the victors go the spoils. Whether you like or not, that's 
>reality.
> > > >
> > > > Still, in a small community it's unusual to see a local election 
>lead to
> > > > summary firings or the kind of "King of the Hill" muscle-flexing now
> > >taking
> > > > place in Pittsfield Township.
> > > >
> > > > It's not conducive to problem solving or consensus building. On the
> > >contrary,
> > > > the ouster of township employees, whose skill and work habits are 
>not at
> > > > issue, and of planning commissioners suggests that the "Community 
>Effort
> > >for
> > > > Pittsfield" Democrats who prevailed in last month's election are 
>more
> > > > interested in exercising power than in bringing township residents
> > >together.
> > > >
> > > > And the fact that new Supervisor Jim Walter appointed his wife, 
>Judith,
> > > > deputy supervisor, even on a temporary basis, just adds to the 
>banana
> > > > republic flavor in this change of government.
> > > >
> > > > Be clear: Township voters made a statement about development when 
>they
> > >picked
> > > > Jim Walter. Although his margin of victory wasn't huge, about 7 
>percent,
> > >it's
> > > > fair to say the vote reflected a majority preference for putting the
> > >brakes
> > > > on growth.
> > > >
> > > > We don't, however, think that those 6,000-plus Walter voters were 
>intent
> > >on
> > > > seeing non-elected public employees lose their jobs. We don't think 
>they
> > >were
> > > > counting on nepotism -especially since Judith Walter abandoned the
> > >township
> > > > clerk's position she had previously held. And we don't think that 
>the
> > > > bull-in-a-china-shop approach is nearly as effective, in the long 
>run,
> > >as a
> > > > more subtle change in direction.
> > > >
> > > > Sure, it gets attention. There's no doubt that interested parties in 
>and
> > > > around Pittsfield Township know there are new people in charge.
> > > >
> > > > Heads have rolled. There was immediate discussion of reworking a
> > > > just-completed deal to give the township added water and sewer 
>service
> > > > (required for growth); and there are more moves concerning the
> > >contentious
> > > > Newmarket development.
> > > >
> > > > However, a lower key transition could have conveyed the same
> > >information...
> > > > along with the idea that Pittsfield Township is a sophisticated
> > >community led
> > > > by thoughtful people who -while ideologically committed -respect 
>other
> > >people
> > > > and ideas.
> > > >
> > > > The chance to make that kind of first impression is gone. But the
> > >opportunity
> > > > to make a second, more favorable, impression is not.
> > > >
> > > > Walter, Clerk Christina Lirones and the other Democrats now in 
>office
> > > > absolutely have a responsibility to pursue the development 
>philosophies
> > >they
> > > > campaigned on.
> > > >
> > > > Having gained the community's bully pulpit, they can do that through
> > >reasoned
> > > > argument and leadership. Or they can keep flailing away. <<
> > > >
> > > > ===============================================================
> > > > smartgrowth-washtenaw:  Internet List and Forum for issues relating 
>to
> > > > sprawl, smart growth, and preservation of the quality of life in
> > >Washtenaw
> > > > County.
> > > >
> > > > Postings to:  smartgrowth-washtenaw@great-lakes.net      For info, 
>send
> > > > email to majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of
> > >"info
> > > > smartgrowth-washtenaw"
> > > > ===============================================================
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >===============================================================
> > >smartgrowth-washtenaw:  Internet List and Forum for issues relating to
> > >sprawl, smart growth, and preservation of the quality of life in 
>Washtenaw
> > >County.
> > >
> > >Postings to:  smartgrowth-washtenaw@great-lakes.net      For info, send
> > >email to majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  
>"info
> > >smartgrowth-washtenaw"
> > >===============================================================
> >
> > 
>_____________________________________________________________________________________
> > Get more from the Web.  FREE MSN Explorer download : 
>http://explorer.msn.com
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > ===============================================================
> > smartgrowth-washtenaw:  Internet List and Forum for issues relating to
> > sprawl, smart growth, and preservation of the quality of life in 
>Washtenaw
> > County.
> >
> > Postings to:  smartgrowth-washtenaw@great-lakes.net      For info, send
> > email to majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  
>"info
> > smartgrowth-washtenaw"
> > ===============================================================
> >
>
>
>
>
>
>
>===============================================================
>smartgrowth-washtenaw:  Internet List and Forum for issues relating to
>sprawl, smart growth, and preservation of the quality of life in Washtenaw
>County.
>
>Postings to:  smartgrowth-washtenaw@great-lakes.net      For info, send
>email to majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  "info
>smartgrowth-washtenaw"
>===============================================================

_____________________________________________________________________________________
Get more from the Web.  FREE MSN Explorer download : http://explorer.msn.com




===============================================================
smartgrowth-washtenaw:  Internet List and Forum for issues relating to
sprawl, smart growth, and preservation of the quality of life in Washtenaw
County.

Postings to:  smartgrowth-washtenaw@great-lakes.net      For info, send
email to majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  "info
smartgrowth-washtenaw"
===============================================================