Board shorts bill for State of the Township

By: Dean Vaglia | C&G Newspapers | Published February 29, 2024


CLINTON TOWNSHIP — The last meeting of a politically deadlocked group brought one final flash-up on Feb. 26 as the  Clinton Township Board of Trustees voted 3-3 on paying the bills for the State of Clinton Township address.

Originally part of the procedural payment of bills, Trustee Mike Keys had the bills for the annual event removed from the consent agenda for a separate vote. Keys’ dispute with the bills is the use of township funds for the event, which is a fundraiser for the Macomb County Chamber.

“I was just shocked and appalled to see again the number of tickets bought by each department, but then even our own cable and community relations and media services department — the department that promotes the event and then records the event, is working at the event — each of their staff members have to pay a $30 ticket to attend that same event,” Keys said. “I think that it’s wrong that we’re using township resources and staff time to host a fundraiser for a nonprofit or an organization. I don’t know any other organization that gets that type of treatment from Clinton Township, but I also think it’s wrong to funnel township taxpayer money from our departments directly to the chamber.”

Keys voiced opposition to this use of township funds to the Fraser-Clinton Township Chronicle after the 2024 address, criticizing the chamber’s use of a political action committee and comparing funding the chamber to former Warren Mayor Jim Fouts using the State of the City address to do PAC fundraising in 2016. Keys skipped the Jan. 26 address at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library’s main branch and hosted a food drive at the CMPL’s South Branch.

Keys was joined by two more board Democrats, Trustee Julie Matuzak and Treasurer Paul Gieleghem. Fellow Democrat Tammy Patton joined the board Republicans, Township Supervisor Bob Cannon and Township Clerk Kim Meltzer, in voting to pay the chamber. A tied vote means the motion failed, leaving at least $1,230 unpaid to the chamber based on the bills schedule.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Cannon said to Gieleghem after the vote finished. “You have got to be kidding me. I’m laughing because you are such a con artist. I’m laughing, and I’m trying to be nice. You get to vote no, the chamber doesn’t get their money, so let’s see where we go from here.”

Cannon continued voicing his disbelief and opposition to vote into the next item, questioning Keys on whether he attends St. Thecla Catholic Church’s fall festival. The supervisor spoke further toward the end of the meeting.

“Are we going to cut out the Red Cross?” Cannon said. “Are we going to cut out the inclusive playground? Mr. Gieleghem, I’m throwing that out to you because we spent a lot of money on the Red Cross, which I like. … But we spent a lot of money and you’re a part of that, and you voted against (the chamber).”

Keys attempted to give Gieleghem a chance to respond to Cannon during the open meeting, voting against a motion to enter closed session. Gieleghem voted to enter the closed session.


2024-2025 budget
Trustees approved the budget for the 2024-25 fiscal year on Feb. 26. Originally presented at the Feb. 12 meeting, changes made included adding the inclusive playground to the budget and updating the Bonior Trail and Spillway Trail Rehabilitation Project line items to show expected grant funding.