Sidewalk replacement for trustee raises questions from residents, board member

By: Joshua Gordon | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published September 4, 2018

 Concerns were raised by residents and Macomb Township Trustee Tim Bussineau when multiple sidewalk slabs outside of Trustee Dino Bucci’s house were marked with a red X for replacement.

Concerns were raised by residents and Macomb Township Trustee Tim Bussineau when multiple sidewalk slabs outside of Trustee Dino Bucci’s house were marked with a red X for replacement.

Photo provided by Tom Sokol

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Trustee Dino Bucci continues to be a point of contention between Macomb Township residents and the Board of Trustees, and this time it is over sidewalks.

The township is in the middle of a sidewalk replacement program that will see unsafe sidewalk slabs across the community replaced by no later than Nov. 15. The replacements are being done in sections, with the township broken up into 36 sections.

In early August, a video reportedly showing red X’s on the sidewalk in front of Bucci’s house in a neighborhood off of 22 Mile Road was circulated on social media and caught the ire of many residents. Residents weren’t upset that work was being done there, but that every slab was marked for replacement.

At the Aug. 8 Board of Trustees meeting, resident Tom Sokol said he felt this was continued favors being done for Bucci, who was indicted on 18 criminal charges last November that included kickbacks and embezzlement in the township.

He also referenced court documents from former Trustee Clifford Freitas’ sentencing hearing on bribery charges.

“These are the types of practices the attorney in the Freitas sentencing hearing referred to as the ‘Macomb Township way,’” Sokol said. “After the indictments, why are we allowing these type of practices to take place?”

The indictment alleges Bucci was involved 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.

Part of the charges allege Bucci conspired to embezzle nearly $100,000 from Macomb Township in connection with parking lot repavement at the Township Hall and fire station.

At the Aug. 8 meeting, Supervisor Janet Dunn said she met with Jason Gelle, the township’s facilities and grounds manager, about the sidewalk replacement program, but would not go into detail about what the meeting consisted of.

In a phone interview Aug. 28, Dunn said the red X’s began being placed last year, but she made the decision to not replace all the marked slabs because of the weather and wait until the spring, which is why some red X’s have been placed longer than others, especially in the north part of the township.

According to the replacement program map, the township started in the southeastern portion of the township and are zigzagging north to hit all 36 sections. Bucci’s sidewalks are in section 20, which had work being done at press time Aug. 28.

“I don’t know anything about size or number of slabs of cement, just that (Bucci’s) sidewalks are being repaired just like everybody else in that subdivision, and today is the day,” Dunn said in the phone interview Aug. 28.

Dunn said residents can also call into the township if slabs were missed. She said they are trying their best with a small staff to get all the sidewalks repaired before the bad weather comes.

Before the Aug. 22 Board of Trustees meeting, Trustee Tim Bussineau asked Gelle via email if he was going to give a report on the sidewalk replacement program. Dunn responded to the email, including all board members, and said Gelle would not be giving a report at the meeting and that questioning a union employee during a meeting was “very inappropriate.”

Bussineau said with two trustees being indicted recently, the township has to pay attention to appearances.

“Sometimes things don’t appear the way they are being presented, but with everything going on, a few other sidewalks could have got attention first,” Bussineau said. “We can’t have things looking like the old Macomb Township way. The optics of this don’t look good.”

If you would like to report a sidewalk in need of repair, call the facilities and grounds department at (586) 992-0710, ext. 2246.

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