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Macomb Township discusses ethics board

Conversation to continue later this month

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published March 18, 2020


MACOMB TOWNSHIP — A conversation regarding an ethics board will continue later this month.

At the March 11 Macomb Township Board of Trustees meeting, an update was provided as the status of the township’s ethics board.

Added to the agenda by Trustee Tim Bussineau was a request for the board to discuss the establishment of an ethics board, which was outlined in the Township Ethics Ordinance that the board approved in October.

The 10-page ordinance includes prohibited conduct, violation, enforcement and advisory opinions. The ordinance applies to board members, township employees and appointees.

At that time, it was reported that as part of the ordinance, a three-person ethics board would be created by the Board of Trustees. The ethics board would serve as an advisory body for the purpose of interpreting the ordinance. The initial members would be appointed for one-, two- and three-year terms of office.

The ordinance went into effect in mid-December.

During the meeting, Bussineau asked Supervisor Janet Dunn when she plans on directing someone to post applications for the ethics board.

Dunn’s response was that there is nothing in the ordinance that says, “The supervisor shall. It says the township board shall.”

Bussineau commented that in the past, the supervisor’s office handled the application process for all appointed committees, including the fire pension board and the library board.

He followed that up by reading a statement that began with talking about “numerous political games being played,” which caused delays in creating the ethics ordinance.

He said he was concerned that no visible steps have been taken in starting a process to appoint members to the ethics board.

“This township has created, altered and enforced ordinances that regulate the behavior of residents and businesses,” Bussineau said. “But when we have an ordinance that regulates ethical behavior of us, employees and appointees, we are not executing that ordinance. It appears to be willful, and I have concerns about that.”

Clerk Kristi Pozzi said that since the ordinance doesn’t have specific language, the board could amend it to include specific processes and details as to everything being processed through the supervisor’s office, or have the supervisor’s office execute employment applications to include a board of ethics option, publicly post the position and allow three weeks for folks to apply.   

Treasurer Karen Goodhue said the township’s former deputy supervisor created an application for the ethics board.

The board decided to have the discussion carry over into its next meeting, which at press time, was schedule for March 25.