Clinton Township residents vie to be on ethics board

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published July 22, 2019

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP — An ethics board is in the process of being finalized in Clinton Township.

The topic of ethics has been discussed myriad times throughout the last two years in the wake of corruption scandals occurring at the local and county levels. A revamped ethics policy was approved by the township Board of Trustees March 25 via a 4-3 vote.

Part of that policy makeover included the creation of an ethics board, formed with township residents who must be approved by the Board of Trustees. A total of seven candidates applied to be board members. Three of them will ultimately be chosen for one-, two- and three-year terms.

The candidates are Daniel Maher, Stephanie Garza, Carrie Gilchrist, Jared Maynard, Scott Gatti, Joe Miko and Marge Rama.

On July 15, multiple candidates spoke publicly about their backgrounds.

Garza moved to Clinton Township from Texas within the past year. As someone with more than 17 years of military experience, she wanted a change of scenery and now teaches law enforcement and does animal control in animal cruelty cases as part of the Michigan Humane Society.

“I heard great things about the city from a lot of my coworkers,” Garza said. “I thought Clinton Township would be a great place to raise my family.”

Gilchrist is a full-time public speaker at Oakland University who provides educational information to students and families. She is also a small-business owner who has lived in the township since high school, and now wants to be more involved in local government.

Gotti has been a resident for about 25 years. A 28-year law enforcement veteran, including the last eight years in his current role as a deputy chief, he hopes his legal and law background will lend itself toward any issues that arise within the community.

“During the course of my career, I’ve had occasion to draft, review, analyze everything from legal briefs to county ordinance, state statutes and department policy,” he said. “I come here with no agenda other than to serve if the board feels that my background and experience would be helpful in interpreting the code as it exists based on whatever facts may come before it.”

Rama has been a resident for about 43 years, including 25 years spent as a township employee. She currently volunteers with the Clinton Township Goodfellows and the American Cancer Society.

Maher, Maynard and Miko were not present. Maher has a business background, while both Maynard and Miko work as consultants.

Township Trustee Mike Keys, who was one of the board members at the forefront of modifying the old township ethics policy, said it was a great opportunity for candidates to show the public their faces and accomplishments.

He said he reached out to those candidates who could not be present in an effort to find out what motivated them to apply in the first place.

“It’s important that the township follow through with this policy,” Keys said, adding that transparency was at the heart of it.

Currently, the ethics policy only applies to elected officials and not all township employees — something Keys wants to “take it a step further” in the future. He has made motions in the past to include all employees.

Supervisor Bob Cannon said candidates will be approved at the board’s regular meeting July 29.