Township manager resigns

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published August 12, 2015




OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — After just six months on the job, Township Manager Warren Brown resigned his position Aug. 5.

“I have come to the conclusion that I am not a good fit for the township, not the other way around,” Brown said in an email. “There is no logic in prolonging a decision such as this, and it is better for all involved to cut ties earlier rather than later.

“The staff in all the township offices are some of the finest with whom I have ever had the opportunity to work,” Brown said. “I wish the Board of Trustees, the staff and especially the constituents well, as they seek out someone to lead Oakland Township.”

Brown — a former Sandusky County, Ohio, administrator — replaced Ann Capela as township manager in February. Capela’s contract was terminated by township officials less than a year after she took the job.  Brown’s position came with a salary of $92,000.

Oakland Township officials said they were happy with Brown. “I know that Mr. Brown’s intentions were sincere, and I am sorry that things didn’t work out,” Treasurer Jeanne Langlois said.

Trustee Robin Buxar hinted at conflict within the township.

“The environment created by a small handful of individuals through comments, interference and actions have made it extremely difficult for not only the manager to fulfill his job responsibilities, but also for the majority of the board to do what we were elected to do,” Buxar said in an email. “Our system of government, similar to that of the city of Rochester, has served our community well for over 17 years. It will continue to do so in the future.”

Trustee Frank Ferriolo was more direct.

“Warren Brown is a talented administrator who took the job despite the continuing adverse atmosphere created by the township supervisor, Terry Gonser,” Ferriolo said via email. “Our township operates on a similar system of government as Rochester, and Mr. Gonser refuses to accept his limited role under it.”

Gonser said the township does not need a manager.

“Oakland Township is the only township in the county with a manager, and we are one of the smallest townships,” Gonser said. “In every other township in Oakland County, (the manager) is the supervisor. The supervisor is the chief elected officer. This board passed an ordinance that transferred all duties from the supervisor to the manager.”

Gonser said a township manager, who is not elected, is a “bureaucrat who has no accountability to the residents. The elected supervisor does what our manager does — at a savings. Why elect a supervisor if the only thing the supervisor does is run the meeting? It is kind of absurd, really.

“Rochester is a city, and cities operate under different laws than townships,” Gonser said. “Their mayor is appointed by their council.”

Langlois said the board would be discussing its next step “very soon.”

“In the meantime, we have a competent and knowledgeable staff that will continue to ensure that township operations run smoothly,” she said.