April 23 • 12:34 PM
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Taxpayers, property owners should be aware in Almont Twp.

Dear Editor,

The Sept. 5 Almont Twp. Board meeting was one of the most unprofessional local government gatherings I have ever attended.

First the board advertised to fill the seat that was vacated by the untimely death of devoted trustee John Kalt. I was told prior to the meeting that six or seven applications were received and that a committee of three board members was appointed to review the applications and make a recommendation to the township board with regard to the most qualified candidate. There is no record or minutes of when this committee was ever appointed. The committee consisted of Supervisor Gary Groesbeck, trustee Randy Eshenburg and trustee Dennis Sweers. Their recommendation to fill the vacancy was Mr. Stroup, a local builder and developer, who in my opinion is one of the least qualified applicants. The committee did not interview any applicants nor did they give the board any other choice.

This prompted me to ask the members to quantify their recommendation. Supervisor Groesbeck indicated that I was the most qualified candidate. Trustee Eschenburg refused to comment and trustee Sweers said that Mr. Stroup was very easy to work with, citing the recent proceedings that annexed his property into the village. This annexation greatly enhanced the value of Mr. Stroup's property—wouldn't anyone want to be cooperative in this situation? I do not know Mr. Stroup nor do I have anything against him. My problem is with how the township board handled this situation. There were at least four other applicants with extensive experience with the township, village or school board and any one of them would have been an asset to the township board because of their experience. I believe it is the responsibility of the township board in their hiring and appointing practices to give these positions to the most qualified applicants.

Next, the clerk questioned why the township was paying two people $34.50 an hour each to do the same job (the building inspectors). Board discussion revealed that some time ago the board had an unscheduled, not posted meeting in which they agreed to pay these people. It is illegal for a township board to make any decisions and sign any contracts in an unscheduled or non-posted meeting. What is going on?

The next item that was brought to the board's attention by trustee Eschenburg was some roadside brush next to the soccer field that was an eyesore, sight impairment and that it bothered him. The board immediately appropriated taxpayers' money without researching the need to do the project or having a written estimate of the cost. It was completed the next day. I am sure that many people who have asked the township to cut dead trees along the road or do some ditching to avoid the flooding of the roads have been told there is no money or they wait months or even years to have their requests considered. I am sure these people will be happy to hear this!

It was very sad that some 30-plus high school students attending this meeting had to be exposed to these types of activities in our local government. My confusion escalated when later that evening I picked up the Tri-City Times and read that Imlay City just hired a DPW worker because of his experience and that the Capac School Board just filled a vacancy with an experienced previous board member. Why are things so different in Almont Township?

This letter is meant to educate the taxpayers and property owners of what's happening at the Almont Township Board meetings.

Editor's note: Supervisor Gary Grosebeck said that the Almont Township Board has never held unscheduled, unposted meetings with a quorum. Grosebeck said that monetary compensation for the building inspectors was approved in a full board meeting and is reflected in the minutes of that meeting.

LeVern Tucker, Almont Twp.
September 12, 2007

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