Oakland Township Supervisor Dominic Abbate resigns

Board of Trustees has until Jan. 14 to appoint a replacement

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published December 19, 2022


OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — The Oakland Township Board of Trustees is on the hunt for a new supervisor following the resignation of Dominic Abbate.

Township Supervisor Dominic Abbate submitted his resignation letter during the Nov. 15 Board of Trustees meeting, with an effective date of Nov. 30.

“For personal reasons, I want to retire from the Board of Trustees,”Abbate said during the meeting.

This was Abbate’s 18th year serving on the Oakland Township Board of Trustees.

“I served four consecutive terms as trustee from 1984 to 2000. Then I returned as the supervisor for two years. I was on the board when we became a charter township, and that was a big deal to become a charter township, and we started hiring township managers. I was a charter member of the library board, and I chaired the construction code board of appeals for many years. I also served on the Planning Commission for many years,” he shared.

After thanking Abbate for his service, the board reluctantly approved his resignation.

Since then, five candidates have applied for the position — Township Clerk Robin Buxar, Township Treasurer John Giannangeli, Trustee Andy Zale, and township residents James Carter and John Markel.

During the Dec. 13 Board of Trustees meeting, the board considered the candidates, but members were unable to get a majority vote of the body, which is required to fill the vacancy.

Trustee Lana Managiapane made a motion to appoint Giannangeli as the new supervisor — which was seconded by Giannangeli.

Giannangeli shared that he is serving his third term on the board — the first two as trustee, most recently serving as treasurer. He has lived in the township for over 30 years.

“I’ve been on the Planning Commission for over nine years, and one of the things we did on that was, obviously, come up with a new master plan and zoning ordinances. Frankly, I’m proud to say that based on those, we’ve done everything we can — and I’ve certainly done everything in my power on this board — to keep the township as rural as possible,” he said during the meeting. “I’m a strong fiscal conservative — I think everyone knows that. … Basically, my one and only objective here is to try to serve the township to the best of my abilities. I have no hidden agenda or other motives other than that.”

Giannangeli received a 3-3 vote, with Managiapane, Giannangeli and Zale voting in favor and Trustee Jack Elder, Trustee Dave Mabry and Buxar dissenting.

Mabry then made a motion to appoint Buxar — which was seconded by Elder.

Buxar says she became actively involved in Oakland Township politics after being elected as a precinct delegate. In 2013, she was appointed to the Board of Trustees, and she was later elected as a board trustee in 2014 and 2016. Buxar secured the clerk position in 2020. She has lived in the township for over 48 years and served on various boards, commissions and community groups.

“In terms of overall township knowledge, experience and education, I feel I’m well qualified to serve as supervisor,” Buxar said during the meeting. “Looking to the future, I pledge to lead with transparency and consistent, ongoing opportunities for constructive engagement for all residents, consultants and staff. I remain committed to fiscal responsibility, balanced and sustainable budgets and careful, thoughtful, managed growth to preserve the qualities we as residents of Oakland Township have always valued so highly.”

But Buxar also received a 3-3 vote of the board, with Mabry, Elder and Buxar in favor, and Managiapane, Zale and Giannangeli dissenting.

Managiapane then made three additional motions — first to appoint Township Trustee Andy Zale, then to appoint Oakland Township residents John Markel and finally, James Carter — but each motion failed to garner a second and therefore the candidates were not given a chance to speak and the board took no action.

The deadline, by law, for the board to appoint a replacement is 45 days after the resignation — or Jan. 14, 2023, the day after the board’s next meeting.

“Our 45-day clock is still ticking,” Mabry said.

If the board fails to appoint someone by the deadline, Buxar said it will go to a special election.

“In this situation, either the board appoints someone to fill the remaining term for the supervisor within 45 days from the date of resignation or the township will have to conduct and pay for a special election, with the only candidates on the ballot chosen by the respective local Democrat and Republican party,” she said.

The board’s next scheduled meeting is Jan. 13.

“We have one more meeting and we risk running out of time,” she said.