Mayor’s and Council’s Actions: Despicable

In an executive meeting to discuss the performance of Mr. Nowicki, the Mayor and Council forced the resignation of Mr. Nowicki.He is now on Administrative leave until the separation documents are finalized and signed.

In an amazing display of retaliation and despicable logic, the Mayor and Council gave no option to Mr. Nowicki but to resign from the City Manager’s position.

This Executive Council session to administer the performance review was not a review of performance, but an action of retribution for not supporting a status-quo staffing and organizational position. This was an attack by the Mayor and Council on an ethical Administrator who did what an honorable City Manager is hired to do: manage a Community’s affairs and services. Mr. Nowicki brought the City out of a desperate economic situation, and he did it very well.

There is no easy way to do a tough job; but when relatives of employees are involved, layoffs and retirements get personal. Specifically with those individuals are related to elected officials who are in powerful positions; it is also unfortunately these same individuals may have little or no ethics…but love power; and they use it!

Mr. Nowicki’s performance review was a vindictive attack of personal vengeance directed specifically at an ethical man who has accomplished what the previous City Managers could not accomplish. The list of savings and goals accomplished are without question 99.9 percent perfectly complete. Check the records.

The real Mayor and Council’s problem: Mr. Nowicki was not a yes man! Nor did he bow-down to unethical requests or witch hunts.

Mr. Nowicki’s resignation makes no sense. Anyone who knows anything about the City’s operations and management has to acknowledge how successful Mr. Nowicki has been in meeting all the Council’s established goals and objectives. These past years, Mr. Nowicki has brought down costs, organized efficient and effective staffing and his team of management style redefined the Administration. The delivery of city services has continued and improved under his management.

The appointment of Clarence Goodlein to the City Manager’s position is ridiculous, almost a joke. He has not the experience, background, expertise, or people skills to manage the Administration or the affairs of the City Manager’s office. His position of Director of Public Safety was a public fraud as no department ever existed! This is how the City is now operating under this mayor and councils control.

The vindictiveness of the Council, and their priorities are misplaced. Specifically the Mayor and Councilman Richard Ziegler (along with the sheep that followed) have jeopardized the City’s present Administrative and economic future.

There are members of Council that I would have never thought possible to have taken such action without a public acknowledgment of the issues that were in contention with the performance of Mr. Nowicki. However, power is said to corrupt

These diabolical antics are improper for any Mayor or members of Council. What is further astonishing is the sheep following along after who are acknowledged as the initiators of the issues: the Mayor and Councilman Ziegler.

It is hoped that the residents of Wixom take note of the Management or rather the lack of common sense Management in the Administration of City Affairs. Wixom has now been placed in a position of unreasonable risk because of the intolerable actions against a true City Manager with excellent skills.

Voters elected a Mayor, not a “KING” and it is time for the King to understand that the role of a Mayor is to lead, not to destroy.

To destroy a successful Administration and to appoint an individual to lead the City who has no idea of what that job entails is absolute management at its worst. Power out of control?

Mr.Goodlein does what he is told to do, no more-no less. He is a yes Man! He was the Director of a nonexistent Department Of Public Safety: given the job through a political back-door scheme.

It is acknowledged some of these same individuals are the same people that are now responsible for the putting the city in a very risky position. And that responsibility belongs directly on the desk of the Mayor and Council. Non can be blamed more that this Mayor, this Council and Mr. Ziegler.

Apparently, there is a separation agreement that must be finalized between the Mayor, Council and Mr. Nowicki.

I would hope that Mr..Nowicki is treated well in this agreement, as he has done what others cold not do and what the present Mayor and the previous City Manager did not do. Time will tell.

I have always had a high degree of respect for the Mayor’s Office and the Council’s positions. It is regrettable that I have lost respect for those who do not respect the ethics of those offices and who are unable to openly discuss issues at the Council’s table and hide behind closed doors where vendettas are more important to dispatch than the interests of their duties as public elected officials.

Leaders lead by example; many of the examples now on display by our elected officials are not worthy of their office. Their sitting in the Council’s seats they hold,  has put Wixom in a state of duress.

The Mayor and the Council are directly responsible for that duress and must be held accountable.

Council’s Secret Agenda Succeeds

I have always thought that each individual that runs for elected office in Wixom does so with a sincere interest in the community’s well-being. These individuals must have two perquisites; their elected office requires time and dedication to the city’s duties.

I believe those who now hold office came to council with well-meaning desires and had the prerequisites of dedication and time. However, evidence from factual meeting minutes and following years of meetings and their reading, this composition of Council differs greatly from all previous Councils in many ways.[Latest issue,Mayor and Council want an increase in their annual pay.]

Let me review some obvious historical changes in Council.

First is the fact that the Mayor’s job was never intended to be a life-time job; historically, Mayors served two-terms and went on their merry way. Now, it is a given that a Mayor will stay as long as possible; will obtain political funding through any and all avenues, and a potential for many a quid quo pro exists among the many contractors and some of the members of the council.

Many of the council are business people; therefore,may have relationships that may lead to their having an advantageous privilege to City initiatives, planning and business partnerships or opportunities; other businesses are therefore at a serious competitive disadvantage. Previous members of Council came from Boards and Commissions, many from the Planning Commission.

Second is the hiring of individuals who have relationships to members of the council. Additional, when an individual retires from a City position, it is rarely a wise decision to rehire and promote that individual back into the department from where they retired. It is even more disturbing when you not only rehire that individual, you create a fictitious department for the individual to Manage and Supervise!

This political shenanigan was actually accomplished with the help of several councilmen through back-door politics and a political slight-of-hand through redefining characteristics of the City Charter that stretch the imagination of the previous city manager with an assist of City Attorney’s resources and ingenuity.

The third fact is that this council does not communicate…anything. They work behind close doors and have deep-rooted conflicts where revenge and a call to the status quo of previous years is more important than the salvation and the economic success of the city; to “hell with the City Charter” has been shouted at many of the previous and the Present Council executive meetings.

My comments would not be so disparaging to the council or Mayor if they stated publicly at the council table what is wrong with the Charter and use the ways and means to change it if the change is necessary and the voters agree! But that “Hellish Charter Problem has never been publicly stated.

Finally, the City Manager, Mr. Nowicki has resigned as was the objective of this intimidated and insecure council. Now the deed is done. I do not know the reason nor the details. What the future brings only the Council and Mayor know! There is no public record over the last several years as to any performance deficiencies of Mr. Nowicki noted at the Council’s table! Imagine that!

Now individually, these “Council Players” have something to offer. Some are great at technology, at budget meetings and at contracts. Nevertheless, collectively there is no Leadership, no respect for other members of council, no respect for the City Manager and a regression of desires to go back to more staffing, more quid quo pro potentials, and in general, they want more attention and credit for successes that they had little or nothing to do with.

Did you hear any member offer change or Mayoral leadership in the first LARGE Millage Debacle. There was none, but the public knew how to push back with a vengeance.

There are members of this Council who have done little, contributed nothing over a long period of time and and are obstructionists and the status quo is their only memory.

If residents had not reacted to the ill-conceived tax increases proposed by the previous City Manager and denied by residents, seniors today would have to choose between paying for food or paying their increased taxes, for increased staffing and legacy costs would be unaffordable;departments would be overstaffed and the list goes on. The OLD Guard would be proud!

Unfortunately, the City would be in a state of deliriousness, but the status quo would be in place. However, residents would be selling their homes and opting for a choice of buying medicine, food, or making the mortgage payment.

I don’t know where this Mayor or Council is going, but residents need to know and this Council discusses nothing of value unless you can get into the closed door sessions. Good Luck with that!

Your views (even if opposing) are welcomed and send me your e-mails and a note if you are interested in forming an election committee to change Wixom’s political debacle.

A Community With Character deserves better, and we have the residents that have the mental and political horsepower to make changes to benefit Wixom’s future.

Send them to:

mr_wixom@sbcglobal.com

Regards

Dark Money in Wixom’s Politics?

Should the residents of Wixom anticipate, welcome, or beware the money influence peddling that is apparently behind the Dark Money supporting politics? More importantly, is that Dark Money now an influence penetrating Wixom’s political environment?  How should residents welcome Menard’s to the wonderful world of Wixom’s politics when it is now disclosed that the so-called “Dark Money” that has allegedly backed the infamous campaign of Mark Walker, Governor of Wisconsin?

It is apparent that more and more businesses are starting to meddle in Wixom’s politics by supporting candidates with political dollars and potential Quid Quo Pro potentials.

From Wikipedia:

John R. Menard, Jr. (born January 22, 1940) is an American entrepreneur and billionaire who is the founder and owner of Menards, a major Midwestern home improvement chain. He is also a former IndyCar racing team owner. He is also the father of NASCAR driver Paul Menard. He is the 136th richest person in the world, and the 68th richest person in the United States.

Ref from writer :Chief Investigative Corresponde Michael Isikoffnt March 23, 201

Secret $1.5 million donation from Wisconsin billionaire uncovered in Scott Walker dark-money probe

John Menard Jr. is widely known as the richest man in Wisconsin. A tough-minded, staunchly conservative 75-year-old billionaire, he owns a highly profitable chain of hardware stores throughout the Midwest. He’s also famously publicity-shy — rarely speaking in public or giving interviews.

So a little more than three years ago, when Menard wanted to back Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker — and help advance his pro-business agenda — he found the perfect way to do so without attracting any attention: He wrote more than $1.5 million in checks to a pro-Walker political advocacy group that pledged to keep its donors secret, three sources directly familiar with the transactions told Yahoo News.

Menard’s previously unreported six-figure contributions to the Wisconsin Club for Growth — a group that spent heavily to defend Walker during a bitter 2012 recall election — seem to have paid off for the businessman and his company. In the past two years, Menard’s company has been awarded up to $1.8 million in special tax credits from a state economic development corporation that Walker chairs, according to state records.

And in his five years in office, Walker’s appointees have sharply scaled back enforcement actions by the state Department of Natural Resources — a top Menard priority. The agency had repeatedly clashed with Menard and his company under previous governors over citations for violating state environmental laws and had levied a $1.7 million fine against Menard personally, as well as his company, for illegally dumping hazardous wastes.

Secret $1.5 million donation from Wisconsin billionaire uncovered in Scott Walker dark-money probe

John Menard Jr. at the NASCAR Busch Series Meijer 300 at the Kentucky Speedway in 2006 (Photo: Joe Robbins/NASCAR/Getty Images)

“This, in a nutshell, is what’s wrong with the dark-money world we live in,” said Bill Allison, senior fellow at the Sunlight Foundation, a Washington-based based nonprofit group that tracks the influence of money in politics. “Here’s somebody who obviously has issues before the state, and he’s able to make a backdoor contribution that nobody ever sees. My sense is [political] insiders know about these contributions. It’s only the public that has no idea.” Menard did not respond to email and phone requests from Yahoo News for comment about his contributions. (His company’s spokesman, Jeff Abbott, said he was not authorized to speak for the company’s owner and could not respond, either.)

Laurel Patrick, Walker’s press secretary, strongly denied that the governor had provided any special favors for Menard and said Walker was “not involved” in the decision to award his firm tax credits, which were approved by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation for expansions of existing facilities in order to create jobs. (She also noted that Menard’s firm had been awarded $1.5 million in tax credits in 2006 under Democratic Gov. James Doyle. State records show these were reduced to $1 million when the company failed to meet its full job-creation requirements.)

Patrick declined, however, to respond to any questions about the Menard contributions. Citing a “pending legal” investigation into Wisconsin Club for Growth fund raising that will be argued next month before the state Supreme Court, AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for Walker’s political organization, Our American Revival, said she also could not answer any questions about the Menard donations, including whether the governor had solicited them, was aware of them or had ever discussed state business with Menard.

Every citizen has the right to a political point of view; but we citizens soon have to recognize that money is not free speech but is power and power buys people, votes and rewards that are not available to residents and the common working stiff. Residents need to wake up to what the Supreme Court has done to the American People and must soon exercise their rights to have the rigged system changed.

I believe that there are two necessary ordinances that should be passed in local politics:

First: pass and ordinance on ethical conduct, using the Official document written by Attorney Cox as a bases for that ordinance.

Second: there should be passed and Ordinance addressing political campaign contributions for local elections.

There should not be permitted any individual, business, contractor, or subcontractor that does business with the City or has any relationship to the City Administration, or its employees ; nor receives payments or benefits from paid services rendered with the City are prohibited to make any Campaign Contributions to any City Candidate in local elections where these relationships are applicable.

And can you believe this from a Federal Judge!!!!

One federal judge, concluding that the investigation was a violation of the free-speech rights of the advocacy groups, ordered last year that the probe be shut down and directed prosecutors “to permanently destroy” all the evidence they had obtained. That order was later reversed, and next month the Wisconsin Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether the investigation should proceed. The outcome could well determine whether Walker will be confronted with questions about the secret donations — and any benefits the contributors might have received — while he runs for president.

There are indications that money has definitely entered Wixom’s political environment and Residents need to know of this DANGER!

For more information on this probe: https://www.yahoo.com/politics/wisconsin-gov-scott-walker-photo-charlie-114429739886.html

Council’s “adverse” to Transparency

There are times when I have e-mailed a Mayor, a member of Council, the City Manager and generally have ask, “All OK? What is going on?”

My interest has always been in this city and its present issues and potential interactions between Council and the Administrative for Wixom’s future. All inquiries were rather straight forward questions.

It is interesting to note that this Council finds no real interest in making their decisions and business operations transparent. For the citizens, city business and communications are a concern, and they are entitled to have all business operations and reports available and easily accessible.

It was mentioned several times by me and other previous Council members that the City Clerk receives most communications through data transmittal: records and reports are easily transferable and are available to the Administration and Council and may be easily made available to the public via the City’s web site.

It was requested that Council’s packet information detail be put on line and made available to residents. Those reports and information which are to be discussed at council meetings would be available to the public prior to Council meeting review, and residents interested could review and comment via e-mail , letter, or attend the meeting. Comments by those interested in what the Administration is doing, planning, or not doing, would have the ability to comment on the merits of programs, projects or the upcoming Election and /or BUDGET.

Furthermore, they could better understand Council’s comments relative to tax increases or budgeting of revenues and expenses and potential millage increases or decreases.

Transparency is beneficial to the community. Why should the citizens not know what is going on?

More importantly, if the technology is available that supports transparency at little cost, why not use it for the purpose intended: expedience and transmittal of information and valuable knowledge.

It is to the advantage of our citizens to know what are the issues and challenges that confront the Administration and Council. The taxpaying citizens are the recipients of services and pay the bills; therefore, all are entitled to the information that will assist them in making decisions for the community’s best interests.

There is resistance to Transparency! Apparently the old way of giving the council business reports and information packet only to the Council is a far better idea. Better for the Mayor and the Council, but not necessarily for the Community’s taxpayers.

For Example, Mr Ziegler recently specifically noted that there is no need for the public to have the Council information. Mr. Ziegler apparently thinks that the public not knowing is better than transparency of knowing the public information. (ignorance is bliss)

Apparently it is better for residents (and council members) to request info through the Freedom of Information Act. If any citizen is interested in knowing what is going on with the Council or the Administration, file an FOIA application.

After all, the minutes are what is required for public review and are readily available…even if it is two-weeks after the fact; furthermore, note that “all” reports are not included within the minutes!

(from Council Minutes Wixom City Council Meeting February 10, 2015 Page 13)

Note: Deputy Mayor Ziegler:

“… He, Mr. Ziegler, “…said that Council member Kennedy commented about talking to the City Manager about getting the Council packets on line. He thought before the City Manager acted on that, the Council should probably talk about it. That is a decision that should be made by the Council as opposed to just one Council member saying they want that done. Personally, he didn’t think that was a good idea to have the packets on line. There is a reason that we do it the way we do it. It is completely transparent.” [And What is the reason?]

The information that goes into the packet sometimes is meant for the Council members and not the general public and he thought it was important to keep it that way. His vote, if it were up to a vote, would be that we wouldn’t have the packets on line.

So much for Transparency, resident awareness of city business, voter awareness of council member’s positions on millage increases or duration and interests. Apparently too is the waist of using available technology to inform the interested residents and taxpayers of local governmental interests.

 

Mayor Hinkley, State of the City Address

Mayor Kevin W. Hinkley extends his personal invitation to all to attend his 2015 State of the City Address scheduled for Thursday, March 5, 2015 at the Wixom Community Center beginning at 7:00 p.m.
All interested residents should attend.

It is that time of year when considerations are given to the Annual Budgeting of City Services by the Mayor,Council and the Administration. It is time to begin to understand what the Mayor and Council are proposing in the next annual Budget for expenses and taxes.

Residents need to know and to understand how the Mayor’s and Council’s strategy and Budget details will impact their taxes, their programs and the delivery of city services. Specifically, how will the Mayor’s and Council’s next political actions and legislative recommendations affect the community.

Presently, Mr.Nowicki, City Manager, has also extended an invitation for the residents to comment on the upcoming 2015-16  Budget Preparation and is requesting residents for their comments. Under the memo to Council identified as  “City Happenings,” Mr Nowicki offers the following for residents comments for consideration relative to the Budgeting process that Council will consider in the near future.

With the Mayor’s addressing the State of the City coupled with the request from City Manager, Mr. Nowicki, several recommendations may result in some unique savings or programs for the community.

Great idea, and here is a preview of Mr. Nowicki’s request to residents for consideration. You may have other recommendations as well. Let your ideas be known.

 FISCAL YEAR 2015-16 BUDGET PREPARATION: Annually, City staff prepares a proposed budget for City Council consideration and adoption as required by City Charter. This is to be done no later than the second regular City Council meeting in May. Differing from the past, the City Manager, through the City Happenings and by other means, is reaching out to the City Council, City staff and others to solicit creative and innovative ideas and suggestions regarding possible operational and other cost containment measures and efficiencies for the City to be included in this year’s budget proposal to Council.

Those with possible operational cost containment and efficiency ideas and suggestions should submit them to the City Manager’s Office as soon as possible. The person submitting the idea or suggestion having the greatest positive financial impact will be awarded a dinner for two at Al Maidah Mediterranean Grill. Evaluations will be performed by the auditing/accounting firm of Rehman Robson. Submissions need to include a description of the possible cost reduction measure as well as anticipated savings.

Examples of recent cost reduction/control measures include those listed below. Since initiated in November of 2012, these cost savings are calculated to total $750,000 annually.

1. Elimination of the Assistant City Manager position

 2. Reorganization and outsourcing of Building/Planning/Zoning functions

3. Reorganization and outsourcing of Finance Department functions

4. Elimination of one DPW position through the acquisition of a high production snowplow truck (a.k.a. Wing Plow)

5. Reorganization and downsizing of Community Services/Parks & Recreation

6. Implementation of a modified healthcare plan for employees and retirees as recommended by an employee healthcare committee

7. Refinancing of Downtown Development Authority Bonds

8. With the assistance of the Collective Bargaining Units a Tier-II fringe benefits package for new full-time employees was implemented

Previous to the above, the City expended approximately $2.18 million from its Budget Stabilization Fund for Fiscal Years 2008/09 through 2012/13.

Tony Nowicki
Wixom City Manager