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Trio approved for new ethics committee in Clinton Township

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published August 12, 2019

File photo

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — The first ethics committee of its kind in Clinton Township is officially ready to hit the ground running.

On July 29, the Board of Trustees voted in three residents for its new committee.

Township residents who initially contended to become committee members included Daniel Maher, Stephanie Garza, Carrie Gilchrist, Jared Maynard, Scott Gatti, Joe Miko and Marge Rama.

The new committee will be made up of Gatti, a unanimous selection by the board; Maher, who received six votes; and Rama, who received five votes.

Some candidates spoke publicly July 15 about their backgrounds and how it would benefit being on the committee.

Gatti, a 25-year township resident, spoke of his law enforcement experience and legal qualifications. Rama has been a resident for more than four decades, and he volunteers regularly in the community. Maher, who possesses business experience, was not at the meeting.

This committee, of which each new member will receive either a one-, two- or three-year term, is an extension of the township’s revamped ethics policy that was approved by the Board of Trustees in March.

“I think we got a number of qualified candidates, and the three ultimately selected, I have faith they can bring this committee full circle and policy full circle,” Trustee Mike Keys said.

Supervisor Bob Cannon said he’s happy with the three “very qualified” residents, and he expressed appreciation for every candidate.

“We had a nice group of people who applied, and that’s truly a civic responsibly they’re taking seriously, because they’re not taking money and only hearing complaints,” Cannon said.

Stephanie Mittelstedt, the administrative assistant to the trustees, will coordinate the committee — which will elect its own chairperson. Members will have to convene based on their own schedules, although if an ethical issue arises, Cannon said, a time limit may be instituted to address particular subject matter.

The township looked at other communities as inspiration when amending its original ethics policy, which currently only applies to elected officials.

“I think that now that we have that committee in place, I’ll be looking forward to bringing an amendment so it doesn’t apply just to elected officials,” Keys said, referring to members of different township committees and those employed by the township.

He added that although he feels current department heads and employees “are doing everything they can to have the highest ethical standard,” he wants the township to “give them tools to succeed” in the future.

Clinton Township Human Resources Director William Smith confirmed that future ethics committee meetings are subject to the Open Meetings Act, meaning that matters will be discussed in a public forum at the Clinton Township Civic Center.