Bucci resigns from zoning board prior to public hearing on his removal

By: Joshua Gordon | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published June 20, 2018

 Bucci

Bucci

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — It took almost seven months and a public hearing on the matter being scheduled, but Macomb Township Trustee Dino Bucci has resigned from the township’s Zoning Board of Appeals, effective June 13.

Bucci was indicted on 18 criminal charges in November and has not been to a Board of Trustees or ZBA meeting since. According to state law, a ZBA member can be removed for “misfeasance, malfeasance or nonfeasance in office,” but also must miss three consecutive meetings before action can be taken.

The ZBA does not meet often and ZBA Chairperson Aaron Tuckfield told the trustees that Bucci did not attend the meetings on Jan. 9, March 13 or May 3, and Bucci did not provide any acceptable reason for why he was not in attendance. Because a public hearing must be held to remove a ZBA member, the Board of Trustees approved the hearing for the June 13 meeting.

At the beginning of the meeting, Supervisor Janet Dunn said she had received an email from Bucci’s attorney, Fred Gibson, at 3:50 p.m. that day that said Bucci was resigning before the public hearing to remove him could be held.

“This communication relates to Mr. Bucci’s position on the zoning board only,” Gibson said in his email. “Please be advised, Mr. Bucci is notifying you, Macomb Township, that he is voluntarily resigning his position as a member on and of the township’s Zoning Board of Appeals effectively immediately.”

The 18 criminal charges that Bucci was indicted on allege his involvement in kickbacks, embezzlement and bribery during a nine-year period in his position as both a trustee and with the Macomb County Department of Public Works.

Bucci is accused of embezzling and conspiring to embezzle nearly $100,000 from Macomb Township in connection with pavement work that was done on the Township Hall and fire station parking lots.

Dunn was authorized by the fellow trustees to send Bucci a letter asking him to resign from the ZBA at the first meeting following his indictment in November. Dunn said Bucci never responded to the letter.

Dunn has also sent a letter to Gov. Rick Snyder asking him to remove Bucci as a trustee. Trustee Tim Bussineau, County Commissioner Leon Drolet and two local state representatives have also sent letters to Snyder on the matter. According to Michigan Election Law, only the governor can remove an elected township officer.

During the public comment section at the June 13 meeting, resident Jim Gelios said he was glad to see Bucci had resigned from the ZBA, but Gelios was hoping that more pressure could be put on him to resign as a trustee.

“Why couldn’t the board go one step further and withhold wages?” Gelios asked. “He has not been here since November, so why do we keep paying him? I would like to see the board look into this.”

In asking for the public hearing, Tuckfield also had asked the Board of Trustees to quickly fill Bucci’s spot on the board.

Township attorney Thomas Esordi said the email from Bucci’s lawyer is the same as an official resignation and he had discussions with Gibson prior to the June 13 meeting to make sure the letter was delivered in time for the meeting.

“At the next meeting, you should accept his resignation and immediately appoint someone to the position,” Esordi said.

A recall petition has been approved by Macomb County that was started by Macomb Township resident Tom Sokol and aims to have a recall vote for Bucci on the November election.

Bucci is scheduled to have a final pretrial hearing on Sept. 5 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit, with a jury trial currently scheduled for Oct. 2.

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