The Macomb Township Board of Trustees approved the creation of an ethics advisory commission application with the hope of putting together a committee to study a potential ethics ordinance.

The Macomb Township Board of Trustees approved the creation of an ethics advisory commission application with the hope of putting together a committee to study a potential ethics ordinance.

File photo by Joshua Gordon

Township’s ethics advisory commission now accepting applications

By: Joshua Gordon | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published February 14, 2018

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — The Macomb Township Board of Trustees has approved the creation of an ethics advisory commission application that further advances the idea of creating an ethics ordinance.

Treasurer Karen Goodhue brought forth the motion during the Jan. 24 meeting that outlined the application for potential members, as well as guidelines for the committee. The motion was unanimously approved.

The application falls in line with motions made by Trustee Tim Bussineau in December to potentially create an ethics board or ordinance in the wake of unethical behavior in connection with a current and former trustee. At the Jan. 10 meeting, Bussineau said there had already been one resident meeting and another was held Feb. 5 at the library.

Goodhue said she put together the application as a way to make the process as transparent as possible and let the board have a say on who is part of the commission. The commission will be made up of three township employees and three residents.

Goodhue, Supervisor Janet Dunn and Clerk Kristi Pozzi will each choose a member, per the guidelines, as will Trustees Bussineau, Nancy Nevers and Roger Krzeminski. Fellow Trustee Dino Bucci has not been present at the board meetings since being brought up on an 18-count criminal indictment in November.

“I believe this is important to the residents as well as the board and needs to be an open and transparent process,” Goodhue said. “I know residents are working on things, and I am open to those suggestions as well. My main goal was to make sure everything was open and transparent, and (I) think this will be a good compliment to that.”

Bucci’s indictment included allegations of embezzlement and kickbacks in his position as a trustee, as well as working for the Macomb County Department of Public Works. His indictment was part of the catalyst for Bussineau’s motion on an ethics board and ordinance in December.

In May 2017, former Trustee Clifford Freitas accepted a plea deal after being charged with accepting a bribe from Rizzo Environmental Services in exchange for obtaining a contract with Macomb Township.

In the commission guidelines, Goodhue said the committee will have access to township staff and resources and will be subject to the Open Meetings Act. Any recommendations by the commission are subject to final board approval.

“The purpose is studying and researching the possible formation of an ethics ordinance or other means of monitoring unethical behavior,” Goodhue said.

After the first resident meeting with Bussineau, he told the board that the residents were leading the way on the creation of an ethics ordinance and he would bring it to the board to review when it was drafted.

Besides him, he said the first meeting was also attending by Pozzi, and he encouraged other board members to attend meetings as they happen. Residents spoke in favor of an ordinance and a committee, but some board members felt it was all orchestrated on social media, of which they are not all a part.

Bussineau said that he was happy about any motion that moves towards an ethics ordinance, but he hopes what the residents are already doing is incorporated and taken into consideration with the commission.

“Sometimes, I get nervous and think the (same) culture in town hall still exists,” Bussineau said. “Nothing is secretive, and there are no closed meetings for the residents. I hope this committee compliments any plan the residents may bring forward and they work cohesively together.”

The ethics advisory commission application is posted on the township website, as well as in the lobby of town hall, with a deadline of 4:30 p.m. Feb. 20.