Transparency a Must: Election issue!

It is truly unfortunate that the City does not have a newspaper that reports the activities of the community; it is more unfortunate that as citizens, taxpayers, and business owners, little, if anything, is known about our City’s business affairs. Tax dollars are being spent monthly through an Operating Budget based upon revenue collected and expenditures paid through tax dollars. However, tax dollars expended monthly have no transparency. How money is spent and on what is hidden from all.

In the absence of newspapers reporting facts, it is acknowledged that we now live in a digital and hand-held information access age. It is incomprehensible not to have the Administration make available to the public all information about how the public’s money is spent. The public’s ability to know what, when, and how their tax dollars are used is presently problematic because of the Mayor’s and some members of Council who want the City’s spending and contractual affairs to remain secret.

The data base is there, the information is available; digital reports are the way of doing business in today’s information world. All reports and expenditures are business affairs of the city and are public documents. All information must be made available on the City’s web site. Secrecy and non-disclosure is unacceptable operating procedures by the Administration.

Attached below is the Agenda of business for Tuesday’s July 28, 2015 meeting. Does anyone know the details of any of these items? Your Mayor and members of council know. They were given the information days ago. Did anyone read or was given any of the information for review? It is very doubtful!

One example; the item on the agenda sets the wage and benefits of the new City Manager. Can you guess his salary and benefits? Why should you have to guess? Transparency of this information would be on the City’s web site and the taxpayers who are going to pay the wage and salary should know what is proposed.

There is an election coming and transparency is a top priority in this community. The taxpayers, and voters have to address the secrecy of the present Administration and demand accessibility to all information that affects their community; addressing how their community’s well-being is affected by their Administrations actions is essential.

FACTS ARE TROUBLESOME!

Knowing in what direction the Administration is moving may lead to success or distress. Knowing that direction is essential as the Community with Character could either retain or loose that Character.

Recognizing past performance in matters of increasing taxes and mis-directed Administrative affairs, transparency of all information has to be posted on the City’s web site. What is known about the following?

Transparency vs Secrecy

Regular City Council Meeting

Wixom City Council Chambers

Tuesday – July 28, 2015

7:00 p.m.

CORRESPONDENCE:

1.) Memorandum from the City Clerk regarding No Solicitors Decals

2.) Memorandum from the City Clerk regarding the MML Annual Meeting

3.) Letter of Resignation from the Parks & Recreation Commission from John Masen

4.) After-Action Review: 2015 “Lite-the-Nite”, June 25, 2015

5.) Transmittal of DPW Director Tim Sikma’s Communication Regarding the Age of Building Doors of Civic Center Buildings

6.) Transmittal of DPW Director Tim Sikma’s Communication Regarding the Asphalt Crack Sealing Program and Bids that were Received

7)Transmittal of DPW Director Tim Sikma’s Communication Regarding the Novi Bids for Sanitary Sewer Closed Circuit Televising and Cleaning

CITY MANAGER’S REPORTS:

1.) Departmental Monthly Status Report Summary – June 2015

  1. Budget Report – April 2015

CONSENT AGENDA:

1.) Approval to receive and file:

a. Parks and Recreation Commission Minutes from February 23, 2015

b. Planning Commission Minutes from May 27, 2015

c. Planning Commission Minutes from June 1, 2015

d. Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes from June 8, 2015

e. Senior Citizen Commission Minutes from May 12, 2015

NEW BUSINESS:

1.) Consideration of Mayoral Appointments of Peter Sharpe to the Planning Commission to fill the vacancy created by Guy York with a term to expire June 30, 2017 and Dave Weaver to the Tax Abatement Review Board to fill the vacancy created by Stephen Burke with a term to expire December 31, 2017

2.) Request for Approval of a Contract to Assign Wholesale Customer Water Service from the City of Detroit to Great Lakes Water Authority, a Resolution Demonstrating Such Approval, and Authority for the Mayor and City Clerk to Sign the Contract on Behalf of the City

3.) Consideration of a Recommendation from Hubbell, Roth and Clark, Inc. to Add a Section of Hedigham Drive and Millstream Drive to the 2015 Road Maintenance Program on West Maple Road and Perform Roadway Replacement and Repaving for the Cost of $48,000 and Use Funding Available from the City’s Local Roads Construction Account #25 18-39 9861

4.) Request for Authorization to Waive the Competitive Bid Process and Purchase Three (3) Replacement Police Vehicles from Signature Ford of Owosso, Michigan for $79,329 with Funds for this Purchase Derived from FY 2015/2016 Capital Improvement Account #11 16-37 9805 (Police Vehicles)

5.) Request for Approval of Salary and Benefits for Employment of the City Manager and Waiver of City Residency Requirement

Want to guess? Why should you? Note that the motion requested states noting about wage / salary amount, or employee status, benefits, or their relationship to previous retirement paid.

Choice or Chance it: Character or Crossroads?

A view of the Obvious

The City of Wixom is noted for its history of being a Community with Character. It was formally identified as a Crossroads Community as the railroad tracks and Wixom Road criss-crossed exactly in the center of town.

The CSX Railroad line created many problems for the community because the trains blocked Wixom Road southbound; this blockage kept EMS, Police and Firefighters from getting access to their injured parties or emergency locations as the fire station is on north Wixom Road. The Crossroads was essentially the center of the community.

Now the citizens have to understand that the Community with Character is indeed at a place best described again at a Crossroads.

The issues is not a train track but a Political Crossroads. The City is at a political crossroads that can potentially lead to inflecting more damaging to the community than any train issue.

The political environment is serious enough to put the City into a future potential state ordered Financial Administrator if the Mayor and the Council do not do their due diligence in their analysis of the available tax revenues to expenses and balance revenues to expenses. Did not former Councilman and budget-man personified, Mr. Wyllie, state the obvious at a Council meeting?.

There too are issues of debt-service liabilities, water and sewer issues, and retirement and benefit legacy costs. All of these items and others will require funding. That funding will increase exponentially as the years forward predict increasing costs, and additional years will continue to impact every aspect of community services.

I have to believe that the Mayor and some members of Council do understand the significance and dilemma of the economic challenge that is before them. But do they have the stamina to do anyting of value? It remains to be seen.

Unfortunately, there is an atmosphere of talking much, but doing little. In-depth discussion of serious issues and a lack of leadership is absent and nothing is on the table. Budget sessions are discussed and “Feel good Fluff” is discussed: keeping fireworks annually, music in the park, and other topics are more-or-less page turning items and little else.

One example; to his credit, Mr. Ziegler has stated many times that, “We need to discuss the millage and the issues.”

Having stated this over several years on the Council or at the budget sessions, Mr. Ziegler has never offered a comprehensive outline or any outline of a constructive plan or initiative of an economic outline for review or discussion. The same can be said for Mayor Hinkley, Councilmen, Beagle and Giddings.

Let’s discuss this is not a resolution to solve it.” An analysis and in-depth study of many items are required and even a single idea would be an attempt or a minimum start to formulate a discussion in the right direction.

Now that there is a new City Manager, and many financial contractors available, perhaps something may be accomplished. Time will tell.

Hopefully, the Community with Character will not transform into a Crossroads Community having little of its original character.

What is essential is the will of the residents, taxpayers, business and industrial leaders to fully understand the political environment and VOTERS must decided and get involved in the future direction of the Community.

Will Wixom continue to be a Community with Character? I hope so as many years of hard work by many dedicated people have made its character possible. But it can be easily lost!

Under new leadership, successful gains are possible; however, to continue to have a political roadblock, Wixom becomes stagnate.

A volatile political Council has presently instigated and owns the issues now before the Administration. The City is at its most vulnerable time in its history with new ways and means pending but not understood by the public. There is no transparency of issues coming from the Administration or of the claim of an economic strategy known by anyone.

Where political roadblocks exist, they have to be taken down! Internal organization where political mischief exists has to be demolished; conflicts of interest must be acknowledged and disrobed; and where lack of leadership exists, new leaders must rise up to the occasion and take their rightful place; leaders must follow the Foundation of the Community by complying with their sworn Oath of Office, and injecting the elements of the City Charter into development of the community.

Unless there is acknowledgment of Administrative political mischief and it is decimated by VOTERS, the risk remains high that the roadblocks to the future will intensify, and a Community with Character will fade into being just another community that happened to have a railroad track run through its center of town.

Becoming another Crossroads Community is not going to happen if residents, taxpayers, business and industrial leaders fully understand the issues and the consequences. 

There is an election in November, become informed.

City Manager: Applicants Not Found, Crises Continues!

Constructive comments are at times taken as negative, personal attacks. However, when the constructive comments are correct, let the comments be reviewed for their value and, if correct, it is fitting and appropriate that those participating in the offenses noted in the critique take their medicine when given.

In the application of constructive criticism applied to our local government, it is worthy of note that fixing a local government is voters responsibility.

Should the voters expect that the offensive actions made by our elected officials will willingly fix their own self-serving mis-deeds? When mischief is successful and culpable participants find ways and means for their own good and gain, the taxpayers have to pay for those indiscretions, and successful mischief continues until it is stopped by election? Until then, the Administration wins, taxpayers loose.

The taxpayer’s problems are now asked, “How do you expect Mayor, Kevin Hinkley and this Administration to fix what they collectively destroyed with their mischievous initiative of firing the successful City Manager, Mr. Nowicki?

Their display of Administrative ignorance and retaliation towards Mr. Nowicki ‘s sins for refusing to maintain the status-quo of staffing and refused to continue the apparent redundancy in service operations. He too did not support additional tax increases for maintaining those redundancies and legacy costs to taxpayers.

The ethical, Mr. Nowicki chose to reduce staffing and budgets to potentially align costs with revenues received in these economic depressed times. His actions were difficult and a heavy load to carry, but that burden is the responsibility of a true City Manager. He is paid to make the tough decisions and Mr. Nowicki managed correctly to his own personal detriment.

As a temporary fix, Council promoted Clarence Goodlein to Acting City Manager. Mr. Goodlein has no background in financial management or experience in the area of managing the City’s financial affairs. His resume does not meet the qualifications of staffing of the City Manager’s office.

They: Mayor Hinkley, Councilmen: Beagle, Rzeznik, Ziegler, and Giddings created this present critical situation. Should anyone expect these officials to correct the problem that they created? Time will tell, and taxpayers will note it when their taxes are further increased and community services are in decline.

The obvious solution is to find a qualified new City Manager. However, the hiring of a new City Manager has not been successful. A review of resumes received to date revealed that none of the candidates met the qualifications for the City Manager’s position.

Presently, there is the absurdity that there has been no qualified applications received by the Wage and Salary Review Committee.

It is under these circumstances, that it would appear that the Mayor and the Council have the potential intent of promoting the Acting City Manager, Mr. Goodlein to be City Manager. A position he is not qualified to hold.

The hiring of a new City Manager will be of interest as there are those on Council who don’t care about the City Charter, or Wage and Salary requirements, nor the ways and means of doing ethical government as witnessed by the conflict of interests apparent at several council meetings.

Let the taxpayers understand that the Mayor and the noted council members created this critical situation; if there is an expectation by taxpayers that the Mayor, Council, and Mr. Goodlein can fix this problem; there is little optimism from the public.

Under these circumstances, the November election cannot come soon enough.

Perhaps then, the Council’s seats, Mayor’s office, and the City Manager’s office, may be put into an ethical Charter Operating and transparency mode.

The elimination of potential and real conflicts of interests that are habitual to this Administration would be a welcomed change.

An appointment into the City Manager’s office of Mr. Goodlien under the City’s Charter and Wage and Salary Guidelines is questionable. If a separate contract is not developed between the Council and the “New City Manager,” the taxpayers will never rid itself of self-inflected wounds.

To maintain “A Community with Character” requires residents and taxpayers participation and attention; your interest in addressing  the issues is appreciated.

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Noteworthy: two pending and non-transparent items are on the July 14, 2015 (7:00 pm)

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

1.) Joint City Council, DDA, Planning Commission and ZBA Meeting of June 22, 2015

NEW BUSINESS:

R6.) Report from the Wage and Salary Committee regarding the Selection and Appointment of a new City Manager pursuant to Wixom City Charter Chapter 5, Page C-16

The Mayor and Ms. Rich have been excused from attending this meeting!

Councilmembers: Kennedy and Rich were Correct!

Nick Kennedy and Lori Rich were correct in their no-vote against council motion to dismiss City Manager Tony Nowicki!

There is a power grab at City Hall and Councilmen Beagle, Giddings, Hinkley, Rzeznik, and Ziegler are instrumental and the initiators of this power grab.

There is consideration discussed behind closed doors to make Acting City Manager, Goodlein, the City Manager. This is absolutely preposterous for a variety of reasons: principally the lack of professional administrative experience in City Management; furthermore, his detailed resume does not meet the qualifications of the Wage and Salary requirements…unless the Wage and Salary committee rewrites those prerequisites.

This is not to say the Goodllein does not have some qualifications, but not the range and scope of experience of a City Manager. Wixom needs a City Manager that has the depth of experience to organize the budget, staffing and financial services that are challenging the economic realities of revenues that are inadequate for providing future services without an in-depth review of present Service and Debt analysis.

These are grave challenges that are facing this economic deprived community and an Acting City Manager will not fill that requirement of sustainability of the community.

CM-03-35-15: Moved and seconded by Deputy Mayor Ziegler and Council member Beagle to offer a separation Agreement to City Manager Anthony W. Nowicki, which shall include a provision stating that the separation is mutual and without cause and with severance for a period of six months at his current salary with accumulated vacation time and prorated personal business leave, subject to review by legal counsel. Further, the parties have agreed that the City Manager’s employment status will be paid administrative leave effective March 24, 2015 until further notice by the Wixom City Council.

Council member Kennedy thought this was a real travesty. We just had the City Manager’s evaluation. This just goes to show how fair people are when some give him all zeros for the quality and quantity of work, the attitude and cooperation, job knowledge and judgment, innovation and motivation, public relations, creativity, staff development, communication, delegation and control. “…

Roll Call Vote: (5) AYES – Beagle, Giddings, Hinkley, Rzeznik, Ziegler

2- NAYS – Kennedy, Rich          Motion Carried

Council member Rich said she was not going on the record to say a lot. She had already communicated her belief and she communicated an awful lot with that one word vote of “no“.

What the Charter has to state about the removal of the City Manager!

Sec. 5.4. Removal.

A. The City Manager shall not be removed from office during a period of ninety (90) days following any regular City election except by the affirmative vote of five members of the Council.

B. The Council shall adopt by affirmative vote of a majority of all its members a preliminary resolution which must state the reasons for removal and may suspend the manager from duty for a period not to exceed forty-five (45) days. A copy of the resolution shall be delivered promptly to the Manager.

C. Within five (5) days after a copy of the resolution is delivered to the Manager, he may file with the Clerk a written request for a hearing. This hearing shall be held at a Council meeting

not earlier than fifteen (15) days nor later than thirty (30) days after the request is filed. The Manager may file with the Council a written reply not later than five (5) days before the hearing.

A record of the hearing shall be kept.

D. The Council may adopt a final resolution of removal, which may be made effective immediately, by affirmative vote of a majority of all its members at any time after five (5) days from the date when a copy of the preliminary resolution was delivered to the Manager, if he has not requested a public hearing, or at any time after the public hearing if he has requested one.

The final resolution shall state the reason for the action.

E. The Manager shall continue to receive his salary until the effective date of a final resolution of removal.

C. Within five (5) days after a copy of the resolution is delivered to the Manager, he may file with the Clerk a written request for a hearing. This hearing shall be held at a Council meeting not earlier than fifteen (15) days nor later than thirty (30) days after the request is filed. The Manager may file with the Council a written reply not later than five (5) days before the hearing.

A record of the hearing shall be kept.

D. The Council may adopt a final resolution of removal, which may be made effective immediately, by affirmative vote of a majority of all its members at any time after five (5) days from the date when a copy of the preliminary resolution was delivered to the Manager, if he has not requested a public hearing, or at any time after the public hearing if he has requested one.

The final resolution shall state the reason for the action.

E. The Manager shall continue to receive his salary until the effective date of a final resolution of removal.

Nevertheless, the deed and damage to the Community’s Administrative’s Management has been done. The POWER GRAB is on its way, so be advised of the pending  and perhaps reckless misadventure of appointing a new City Manager.

Now is the time to ask the Question of the Mayor and the Council, “When and who will be the qualified new City Manager? That individual will guide the Administration and Direct the strategy and Implement the Budget and Debt reconciliation requirements for the financial stability of the City, now and into the future?

The new City Manager must be experienced, have financial depth and experience in City Management and have a thick skin; specifically when the Mayor and those “YES” voting Councilmen demand that PET projects and hiring of relatives through the back door become evident.

Remember, there is an Election coming, get prepared!

Let Freedom Ring and Celebrate the DAY!

tn11.jpgA day for Celebration and let Freedom Ring loud and long

Celebrate FreeedomReady for the day and let the fireworks begin!

It is one of the most celebrated days of the year whether it is July 4, 1776, or July 4, 2015. However, the Day is loosing its reason for celebration, as it is no longer a celebration of Independence Day, but a day to watch a fireworks display.

It is now a day or an evening to Lite the Nite’s local sky to bring people down town to provide local businesses a day to make a few more dollars. And the local Administration saves money not to pay for overtime or holiday expenses for those who must monitor the event. The delighted public watches twenty minutes of fireworks.

Independence Day is now rarely celebrated on the actual date. This may be another reason many people do not understand why the day is important; furthermore, there is less interest in understanding the significance of celebrating Freedom and Independence. Does fireworks take precedent over patriotism?

Unfortunately, American Patriotism has taken a back seat to the idea that fireworks and people coming down to purchase ice cream or pizza at local establishments provides a boost to local economic development. The Administration provides an evening of opportunity for the public to spend a few dollars at the local establishment is good public policy.

For a twenty-minute fireworks display and an evening of fireworks, Lite The Nite displays have become just another day for getting people down to the local stores and shops for “economic development” interests.

This misadventure is nice for the public to feel good about the day, and listening to music soothes the soul…I guess. However, the most important fact that we have freedoms and enjoy a multitude of reasons to celebrate the day are not discussed or even given recognition.

There are few flag raising ceremonies, no speeches recognizing those who fought for our freedoms and for those who gave all they had in that fight…their lives!

The community’s leadership have lost their way. It is unfortunate because we can do better. It is a patriotic and public duty to celebrate Independence Day in a manner that Honors the day and those individuals who made the ultimate sacrifice for giving us freedom and independence. Their honor and our acknowledgment of their sacrifice are the reasons why Independence Day is celebrated. Why have we forgotten?

Let Freedom Ring!

Now for Residents Response

The dark of evening commenced as a celebration of fireworks that truly gave meaning to Independence Day as residents in our subdivisions ignited the skies with fireworks. The Community With Character showed its true nature by celebrating Independence Day with firework displays community wide.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for your participation in celebrating the day and the evening with true July 4th celebration. You made us PROUD!

Freedom is not FREE!

Remember those who fought and died for the preservation of what we enjoy today: FREEDOM!