Goodhue presents second option for ethics ordinance in Macomb Township

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published June 24, 2019

 Macomb Township Treasurer Karen Goodhue on June 12 offered a second option for an ethics ordinance that the Board of Trustees could vote on at its June 26 meeting. The first option would be the ethics ordinance presented by the Ethics Advisory Committee.

Macomb Township Treasurer Karen Goodhue on June 12 offered a second option for an ethics ordinance that the Board of Trustees could vote on at its June 26 meeting. The first option would be the ethics ordinance presented by the Ethics Advisory Committee.

Photo by Alex Szwarc

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Two weeks prior to a highly anticipated vote on an ethics ordinance, a second option was proposed.

Added to the June 12 Board of Trustees agenda by Treasurer Karen Goodhue was a report on an ethics ordinance.

As a surprise to some, Goodhue presented a second option that the board could vote on at the June 26 meeting — the Michigan Townships Association’s code of ethical conduct. The first option would be the ethics ordinance presented by the Ethics Advisory Committee.

On May 8, almost a year and half since discussion began regarding a Macomb Township ethics ordinance, the board decided that a June 26 vote would determine whether or not to adopt an ethics ordinance.

Goodhue said General Counsel and Human Resources Director Tom Esordi was asked at an April 17 workshop meeting to provide documentation for the ethics ordinance in regard to advisory rules and more.

Goodhue said she met with trustee Nancy Nevers and Esordi, and she provided drafts to the chair of the ethics committee, Jim Gelios.

“It is the Michigan Township Association code of ethical conduct,” she said. “It provides even more overseeing than the ordinance does.”

Nevers said that she, Goodhue and Esordi spent countless hours examining the original ordinance draft.

“We did a deeper dive and put together ideas I feel are ready to be considered and voted on,” Nevers said.

After Nevers made those comments, Trustee Tim Bussineau expressed concern as to how anyone could take a “deeper dive” than what the committee did.

“I thought the vote was going to be what the committee did,” he said. “Now I hear there’s a second version we may put out because a couple people on this board took a deeper dive outside of the committee that we trusted.”

Nevers believed that what the committee put together from different municipalities didn’t work for Macomb Township. It was previously reported that much of the verbiage in the proposed ordinance came from existing ones, like in Huron Township and Birmingham.

She said that any other board members that wanted to join her and Goodhue could have done so.

Bussineau questioned why after a committee was formed, a “side committee” was created.

“We voted to put this in the hands of the committee,” he said. “If I knew there was a side committee, and I think in our township we had too many side committees going on for many years, I would’ve taken the time to be involved.”

Goodhue said the Ethics Advisory Committee was to develop and research an ordinance and bring it back to the board for its decision.

Regardless of whether an ethics ordinance is adopted, Goodhue said the ordinance wouldn’t stop corruption.

“I’m really taken aback that this has taken this kind of turn,” Bussineau said. “I really thought when we voted as a board to appoint people to that commission, I had no idea you two were working on something separate with Jim.”

He then asked Supervisor Janet Dunn when she knew of Nevers and Goodhue meeting about the ordinance, to which she said a couple of weeks ago.

Discussion abruptly ended after Trustee Roger Krzeminski asked Bussineau to wait until someone is done before he makes a statement.   

Bussineau originally proposed the creation of an internal ethics policy that would govern elected officials back in December 2017. At that time, the board approved Bussineau to pursue and solicit a team to research and develop a possible ethics board and ethics ordinance.

A draft of the ordinance was presented to the board in September 2018.

If the ordinance is adopted, a three-member ethics board would be created, separate from the ethics committee.

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