Letters

       Here you will find letters that come into our possession. They may be complete as written or edited for various reasons. Authors may or may not be identified. Editorial comment or notes may be added to clarify or challenge.

Contents

10. Accusation & Rebuttal
  9. NO RESIGNATION
  8. Letter to Twp re Mr. Devers - T Guyer
  7. Letter to Twp re Lafarge Rezoning - N Hamilton
  6. Letter to Twp re Lafarge Rezoning - PIA
  5. 10 Points about Lafarge Rezoning
  4. Zoning Clarification Points
  3. Handling of Lafarge Rezoning
  2. Restore Responsible Government ...
  1. What is Happening ...


10. Accusation & Rebuttal

October 10, 2016     | Category: Letters Displayed on Bulletin Board ...

Editorial Note:
The following 2 letters were posted on the Bulletin Board next to the Presque Isle Post Office.

LETTER:
To those in the community who might be considering voting for the group calling for "change", be aware of what kind of people they or their supporters are. Yesterday, signs we had up in favor of Cynthia Paavola & Larry Fields were removed. Comments I heard last night that they could have been removed due to election violations are FALSE. Both were in compliance.

Are we going to be a community that understands that we all don't share the same views, but value truth, compassion & forgiveness above all? I sincerely hope we all choose the latter so we can be the best community in the state.
          Sue Gentges



REBUTTAL:

To The Citizens of Presque Isle Township:

No candidate or ANY active member of the Bipartisan Committee for Responsible Government has removed ANY opponent's signs.

To imply they have is both INACCURATE and mean spirited.

Sincerely,
          Bipartisan Committee for Responsible Government




9. NO RESIGNATION

September 24, 2016     | Category: Letter Received ...             Author: D.H.

Recently I sent an email to township residents stating that Mark Devers had abandoned his request for a leave of absence and resigned his position as Supervisor. Resignation would have the effect of stopping any further compensation payments. This information was given earlier this week to a Township Trustee by Clerk Cynthia Paavola.

Yesterday the Clerk told a member of the Bipartisan Committee for Responsible Government that, in fact, Mark Devers has not resigned and remains on paid leave of absence. This means that Presque Isle Township will continue to pay Mr. Devers over $1,000.00 per month, for a total of more than $5,000.00 for the five months, July-November, since he ceased working for the Township.

I am at a loss to know why the Clerk tells one version of the story one day, and a different version the next. The only result is confusion, mistrust, and hard feelings.

It really is "Time for a Change." I encourage you to vote for Karen Thompson for Township Clerk on November 8th. And please urge your friends to do the same. You are the key to responsible government!

Thank you,

Deborah Henley




8. Letter to the Board of Trustees re Mr. Devers

September 15, 2016     | Category: Letter Received ...             Author: Tom Guyer

Presque Isle Township Board of Trustees:
Cynthia Paavola-via email
Jennifer Wieczorkowski-via email
Lynn Morrison-via first class mail
Patricia Hart-via email

September 15, 2016

Honorable Members, Presque Isle Township Board of Trustees:

This letter concerns the circumstances regarding the payment to former Township Supervisor Mark Devers following his placement on a leave of absence. I write as a concerned citizen, drawing upon my experience as a licensed Michigan attorney specializing in employment law.

At the Board of Trustees meeting on September 12, Township Attorney Tim Gulden gave the opinion that the Township was obligated to continue paying Mr. Devers after he was placed on a leave of absence, citing MCL 41.95 as statutory authority for his opinion. Specifically, Mr Gulden read aloud section 7 of the statute, which reads "The salary of an elected township official shall not be decreased during the officials' term of office" (emphasis added).

The plain language of Section 7 indicates that it applies only to elected officials. If the drafters of the legislation had intended it to apply to appointed officials, they would have included the words "...and appointed officials", as they did in section 2 of the statute. I therefore do not agree with the basis for attorney Gulden's opinion, as Mr. Devers was appointed, not elected.

Even if Section 7 of the statute applied to Mr. Devers, the statute prohibits only a decrease in salary. The township supervisor's salary could have been kept at the same level, but payment of the salary could have been suspended during his leave of absence. If Mr. Devers returned from his leave of absence before his term was up, he would receive the salary he earned before his leave, with no decrease. This interpretation is a common sense interpretation of the statute, as the drafters of MCL 41.95 could hardly have intended the statute to protect those who announce they will no longer perform the duties of their office.

Even if the analysis above is incorrect, there is another procedure for withholding payment to Mr. Devers in Section 2 of the statute, which provides that a township official's salary may be decreased if the responsibilities of the office are diminished, with the written consent of the official. Mr. Devers responsibilities could have been held in abeyance during the remainder of his term, and his salary reduced to zero. Given Mr. Devers resignation and agreement to return what he has been paid, it is reasonable to assume he would have agreed, in writing, to this.

I am not sure whether the Township Attorney would agree with my analysis above. The issue is probably moot, as Mr. Devers has resigned and agreed to pay back the salary he received during his leave. Despite the fact that the issue may be moot, the actions of this Board are very concerning. The sequence of events relative to paying Mr. Devers after his leave suggests that this Board was remiss in its duty to preserve the funds of the Township. At a special meeting the Board voted to place Mr. Devers on a leave of absence. Trustee Morrison and several audience members confirm that there was no discussion of whether Mr. Devers salary would continue to be paid at that meeting. The Board then continued to pay Mr. Devers salary without any formal resolution to do so, even while refusing to supply a reason for its actions upon inquiry by a concerned citizen. It was only after a concerned citizen questioned the payment to Mr. Devers that the Board sought an opinion from its legal counsel. This sequence of events led to confusion and consternation of many of your constituents, as expressed at the September 12th Board meeting.

A better approach would have been to seek the advice of legal counsel on whether there was a way the Board could lawfully protect the finances of the Township by suspending Mr. Devers salary while he was on leave before voting to place him on leave. If the legal opinion was yes, perhaps using one of the procedures outlined above, the Township would not have paid Mr. Devers. If the legal opinion was that Mr. Devers' salary had to be paid, then the Board would have had an explanation for continuing payment at the time it voted to place him on leave and the rancor at the September 12th meeting would have been avoided.

In short, the actions of the Board of Trustees with respect to Mr. Devers salary continuation have undermined the confidence of Presque Isle Township citizens in the ability of this Board to conserve the assets of the Township.

Very truly yours,

Tom Guyer
18452 Warren Creek Hwy.
Presque Isle, MI 49777
tguyer@guyerrose.com



7. Letter to the Board of Trustees and Other Interested Parties

November 6, 2015     | Category: Letter Received ...             Author: Nancy W. Hamilton

* By Email To: All Members of the Presque Isle Township Board of Trustees and Other Interested Parties.

Re: LaFarge Rezone Request of 19 Acres from Forest & Recreational (FR) to Extractive Heavy Industrial (1-2).

Dear Trustees and Interested Parties:

The Township Homepage carries the following message from Mr. Devers, Supervisor:

Local government administration is never the efforts of one person. It is the culmination of time, talent and sweat equity of its citizens who are elected, appointed or simply volunteer. Administrators of government have a responsibility both statutory and fiduciary to ensure those efforts are never overlooked or wasted.

The same Homepage also contains the Township Mission Statement which states:

Our Mission To protect and enhance Presque Isle Township's cultural, ecological, and recreational amenities for residents and visitors and to balance the protection and enjoyment of the natural beauty of our township while expanding opportunities for our community. We work together for the common good of the Township and to promote it as a destination of choice for tourists, an attractive locale for homes, and for environmentally friendly businesses.

These words are a powerful reminder of the objective and goals of our very special community as well as your obligations and duties as members of the Board of Trustees. In keeping with the saying "to whom much is given, much is expected," Presque Isle Township has the privilege of unrivaled natural resources and beauty and each and every one of us, and particularly you who have volunteered to serve on the Board, have the duty of stewardship to protect those resources. In short, please do not let the words and sentiment expressed above ring hollow as you consider the next step concerning the Lafarge rezoning application that is before you or for that matter any future similar requests by Lafarge, which are no doubt coming.

You are by now well familiar with the arguments and sentiments of those hundreds of citizens (voting residents and non-voting taxpayers like myself) who are opposed to the rezoning. You have received (1) hundreds of signatures opposing the rezoning, (2) innumerable complaints about noise, blasting, wells going dry and other complaints related to the quarry operations, and (3) the Study Reviewing the Effects of the Presque Isle Quarry on Local Hydrology prepared by Dr. Hyndman, PhD of Michigan State University, a scientific study by an acclaimed and accredited professor of one of the State's finest universities which concludes that the quarry has already reduced surface watershed and groundwater levels in the area of Lake Esau and Lotus Pond thus affecting the water levels not only of the lakes but also shallow drinking water wells.

The expansion of the quarry occasioned by the rezoning will, without doubt, increase these declines, including Grand Lake. You also know that the rezoning application is in direct conflict with the Master Plan and inconsistent with the Future Land Uses and Map. You have also heard complaints about the negative impact of the quarry creep on property valuation and sales due to the concerns of the lakes' water levels. It was reported that citizens buying property near Lake Esau and Lotus Pond were to be blamed for their predicament because they knew the quarry was there when they purchased. But, they also knew, because the Township represented to them in the Master Plan that no further areas were anticipated for quarry expansion and thus the quarry buffer would be maintained. Please do not turn that worthy representation into a lie.

Furthermore, as the quarry creeps closer to Lake Esau, Lotus Pond and Grand Lake it will negatively influence property sales resulting in diminished prices and properly taxes —the life blood of the Township. This is not something that requires expert opinion, it is a matter of common sense and will result in an economic disaster to the community should it occur.

The concerns against the rezoning are not speculative or conjecture. They are real, validated, pervasive and corrosive. Indeed, these dangers threaten not only the vitality but the existence of our community and constitute "very serious consequences" that negatively affect the public welfare. Lafarge, on the other hand, submitted no factual information in support of its original application nor to my knowledge has it sought to amend that application. While Lafarge has stated a denial of the application may cost jobs in the area, I believe the dangers listed above when weighed in the balance stand to cause far more harm to the community at large.

Finally, again to my knowledge, Lafarge has not provided any scientific opposition to Dr. Hyndman's report or findings. Indeed, I have not heard that Lafarge has denied (nor could it) that its mining operations have, in fact, irreparably damaged Lotus Pond, Lake Esau and Lake of the Woods as well as False Presque Isle. Think about it. No one can bring back Lake of the Woods. Which brings me to one more point which I hope will foster future discussion. As noted in the Master Plan, "a reclamation plan should be developed by the quarry owner in partnership with the Township. The plan should strive to protect lake levels, capitalize on new geographic features, including new lakes, and attract low density residential development that respects the natural environment." Master Plan at p. 56. This issue will not go away quietly into the night.

When all of the above is taken into consideration, your vote should not be a close call. As Mr. Devers stated, you have a responsibility both statutory and fiduciary to ensure the efforts of those who went before you in drafting the Zoning Ordinance, the Master Plan and the Mission Statement, as well as the concerns of the citizenry, "are never overlooked or wasted". Please do the right thing. Say "no" to the rezoning application. The future of Presque Isle Township is in your hands.

Sincerely,

Nancy Wells Hamilton
1401 McKinney, Suite 1900
Houston, Texas 77010
(713) 752-4200 * fax



Editorial Note:
The above letter was received unformatted due to electronic transmission issues. Every effort has been made to format it here so as to preserve the author's intent.





6. Letter to the Planning Commission and the Board of Trustees

October 29, 2015     | Category: Letter Received ...
            Author: Presque Isle Alliance for the Protection of Watershed and Natural Resources

Editorial Note:
The attachment to the following letter has been sent to each member of the Presque Isle Township Board of Trustees and Planning Commission in regards to the application from Lafarge for the rezoning of a land parcel in the vicinity of Lake Esau, Grand Lake and Lotus Pond. A request was received to publish it on this website.



Dear Supporters,

Attached you will find a copy of the letter recently sent to the Planning Commission and the Board of Trustees of Presque Isle. This letter was drafted by The PI Alliance attorney, Jeff Jocks. It clearly outlines all the reasons why both of these groups should oppose the Lafarge rezoning request and vote no. I am forwarding it to you so you can also understand why the right decision is a "NO" vote.

The Planning Commission will meet, discuss and vote on November 2nd at 7 pm at the Township Hall. The Board of Trustees will meet, discuss and vote on November 9th at 7 pm at the Township Hall. It is very important that the public attend these meetings and let their voice be heard. Some of our neighbors have already left for the winter so it is critical that each of us, that are still in Presque Isle, attend these meetings and speak up.

The PI Alliance has provided a current, scientific hydro-geological study which contains the facts about the damage mining has caused to our lakes. It is critically to stop the expansion of Lafarge now!

Please stand with your neighbors and let your voice be heard.

See you on November 2nd,

Deborah Henley
President
Presque Isle Alliance for the Protection of the Watershed and Natural Resources
501(c)3 organization
P.O. Box 161
Presque Isle, MI 49777

Click to download PI Alliance Letter re Lafarge Rezoning Application PDF document(14 pages — 2,511KB).



5. 10 Points You Should Know About the LaFarge Rezoning Application

May 10, 2015     | Category: Letter Received ...
            Author: Presque Isle Alliance for the Protection of Watershed and Natural Resources

Important Presque Isle Zoning Issue:
LaFarge is asking to rezone forest and recreation land into industrial land for expansion of their quarry in Presque Isle.

10 Points You Should Know About the LaFarge Rezoning Application


  1. Lake of the Woods has disappeared due to Quarry operations.

  2. The Lake Esau watershed has already been greatly reduced in size, and we believe this has been caused by the Quarry operations. Millions of gallons of water are pumped into Lake Esau each year by the Quarry to maintain its current water level.

  3. Lotus Pond has been substantially drained and is in dire straights, and again we believe this is a likely result of losing large portions of its watershed to the Quarry. There is a pump in place to replace the water into Lotus Pond, but LaFarge is not pumping into Lotus Pond. It would be very expensive to run electricity to the pump.

  4. Water quantity and water quality are major concerns for the community, and these issues are also arising elsewhere in the township.

  5. Wells have been reported going dry and wetlands between the Quarry and Grand Lake are no longer noticeable. The Quarry has likely altered local underground aquifer systems. A hydro-geological study hasn't been completed in 25 years, and we believe it is appropriate to do so now before making a big decision on rezoning.

  6. The Quarry operations have mined to a depth of 160 feet below Lake Huron and 150 feet below the bottoms of Grand Lake, Lake Esau and Lotus Pond.

  7. According to the Presque Isle Master Plan approved a year ago, water, vegetation, and geology play a critical role in the welfare of the Township, and the Board and Zoning Commission are charged to protect the Township's natural environment. The rezoning specifically violates the Master Plan's establishment of recreational and forest uses as a priority in this area, and an understanding that mining expansion is not needed nor desired.

  8. Lafarge has not provided the Township a Comprehensive Site Plan. A Comprehensive Site Plan, required by the Township Zoning Ordinance, includes maps and written analysis, identifying, describing and quantifying, at a minimum, existing vegetation, water courses, drainage patterns, wildlife habitats, soils, wetlands, floodplains, woodlands, tree lines, rare and endangered habitats, any other features uniquely affecting the site and approval by outside agencies.

  9. Under Michigan law, the current Forest/Recreation zoning of the property is presumed reasonable. Mining/quarry operations are not a preferred use of the property.

  10. The Presque Isle Alliance for the Protection of Watershed and Natural Resources is a Non-profit being formed to help protect water rights and natural resources in a balanced manner.

For further information contact: dhenley5@speednetllc.com

Aerial view of quarry and impact zone



4. Zoning Clarification Points

April 30, 2015     | Category: Letter Received ...     | Author: Deborah Henley

Editorial Note:
The following letter has been sent to each member of the Presque Isle Township Board of Trustees in regards to the application from Lafarge for the rezoning of a land parcel in the vicinity of Lake Esau, Grand Lake and Lotus Pond. We have been requested to publish it on this website.



Dear Trustees,

As I am sure you are aware, there have been several newspaper articles about the Lafarge rezoning and other statements and documents that I believe need clarification.

Presque Isle County Advance April 23, 2015 — "Lafarge would like to start removing the overburden this summer and getting it prepped in case the need arises for some of the 'sweet' stone." Idalski has continually said he needed this stone now to mix in with other stone to meet the needs of his largest customer. He said if he did not get the rezoning request he might have to lay off 30 to 34 of his employees because he might lose his largest customer. The key words here are "in case the need arises." My question is — What is the truth? Is there really a current customer that requires this particular "sweet" stone?

Presque Isle County Advance April 23, 2015 — Idalski said, "We want to stretch the life of it as long as we can because it is the last area that we know of on the property that is viably minable." The key words here are "viably minable." At the Planning Commission meeting and in PI Advance April 16, he stated that after the 19 acres was mined, they would then mine closer to the primary and the plant office (south side) where there was better stone. In other words, it is cheaper now to mine the 19 acres rather then moving the office to get to better stone. So is this just a cost saving request at the expense of the property owners? Is this the only area on all of Lafarge's property that this stone is available? This rezoning request is not an example of being a good neighbor. It is an example of what is the cheapest thing to do with total disregard to their neighbors.

From the Planning Commissioners Handbook by Michigan Municipal League, 2006 — "Failure to consistently follow the (Master) plan may discredit its use as a defense for actions that may be challenged by property owners or developers. Likewise, consistent and vigorous use of the (Master) plan will lend credibility to the community's attempts to implement controversial decisions on rezoning or other zoning actions. While the courts of the State of Michigan do not recognize the absolute authority of the Master Plan, they do lend much more credibility to actions supported by careful planning than those that appear to be taken arbitrarily against an individual property owner." PI Master Plan clearly states that the property owners do not desire any expansion of mining, therefore, if this rezoning request is approved, it is in direct conflict with the Master Plan. In the Master Plan dated June 11, 2014, Section 5-D Future Land Use: Extractive Mining states: "No further areas are anticipated to be needed for quarry expansion, other than land currently zoned for that purpose." If, less than five months after the Master Plan was finalized, Lafarge is requesting that more land be rezoned, what will stop further rezoning to extractive heavy industry if this request is granted and the precedent set?

The Alpena News, April 21, 2015 — "Underground water geology should keep lake waters from seeping into the quarry, Idalski said." Key word — should. There is no factual report that supports this statement. Information dated 1990 is not relevant 25 years later when the mining area has become significantly larger and repeated ground blasting has caused almost daily vibrations. (365 days X 25 years = 9125 blasts.) How can it be that over 9,000 blast vibrations have not changed the underlying geological structure in the last 25 years? Think of the damage that one earthquake can do.

Presque Isle County Advance, April 23, 2015 — "Last Thursday, township officials walked portions of the parcel that is covered by trees." In the Planning Commissioners Handbook, page 7, states —
"§17 Visiting the site is often a critical step in the decision making process. Even if you have lived in the community all of your life, individual sites take on a new personality when a specific project is to be built.

Some precautions should be used. Site visits should always be made individually rather than as a group. Meeting on site (even with less than a quorum) raises several concerns.

A site visit by a majority of the membership of a decision making body must be advertised under the Michigan Open Meetings Act and steps must be taken to insure that the requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) are met.

Practically, it is hard for the visiting members to avoid talking among themselves about the proposal. These side discussions, however, can violate the spirit as well as the letter of the Open Meeting Act."

It is my understanding that three members of the Planning Commission, one Trustee, the Zoning Administrator and two Lafarge employees walked the requested rezoning site. Also there was a determination that wetlands and endangered species were not present. When I purchased property in Presque Isle with the intent to build, I obtained a wetlands survey by a certified individual. I do not believe anyone in the above group is certified and can make any determination regarding wetlands or endangered species.

Michigan Zoning Enabling Act 125.3205 (4) — " A person challenging a zoning decision has the initial burden of showing that there are valuable natural resources located on the relevant property, that there is a need for the natural resources by the person or in the market served by the person, and that no very serious consequences would result from the extraction, by mining, of the natural resources." I interpret this to say that because Lafarge is requesting the rezoning, they are responsible for proving no serious consequences will result. If is my belief that only a geo-hydrology study will prove that Presque Isle's lakes, residences and wells will not be further affected by this expansion of mining. The following questions need to be answered:

• What is the water table elevation in the deposit?
• Which way is the water flowing through the deposit?
• What aquifers are present?
• Will the mine be wet or dry? That is, will it be dewatered?
• How deep are the wells on neighboring properties?
• Do they get their water from this deposit?
• What is the likelihood for impact on these wells? It will be greater if they are in the same aquifer that the deposit is.
• Are the surface-water bodies nearby that might be at risk?

Filling the Gaps: Environmental Protection Options for Local Governments, by DEQ, NOAA and DNR, 2003, Part 1 — 13 — "Appellate courts have ruled that MEPA (Michigan Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act) applies to local planning and zoning decisions that have or are likely to have the effect of polluting, impairing or destroying the environment, unless there is no feasible or prudent alternative. Courts have also noted language in the zoning enabling acts that communities must not ignore the obligation to consider the impact of proposed zoning decisions on the "conservation of natural resources. Unfortunately, most local government officials are not aware that they have an obligation under MEPA to make decisions that prevent pollution, impairment or destruction of the environment unless there is no feasible alternative." The key words are "likely to have the effect, have an obligation". The Board of Trustees is obligated to consider that Lafarge's expansion of mining is likely to have an effect on the surrounding lakes.

I ask each of the Board of Trustees to seriously evaluate the above points before reaching any conclusions. Please require Lafarge to get a geo-hydrology study so you can make a truly informed decision based on current up-to-date information and honest substantiated facts.

Respectfully Submitted,
Deborah Henley



3. Handling of Lafarge Rezoning

April 15, 2015     | Category: Letter Received ...     | Author: SP

Editorial Note:
At the February 2, 2015 Planning Commision meeting, a request was submitted by LaFarge Corporation to rezone approximately 19 acres of Forest & Recreational (FR) to Extractive Heavy Industrial (I-2) to allow continuation of its mining operations. This parcel is located on the northwest side of their existing quarry in the vicinity of Lake Esau, Lotus Pond and Grand Lake. The application has resulted in considerable local opposition.



So once again our township officials have turned a deaf ear to 200+ property owners who voiced their opposition to the rezoning of property owned by Lafarge. Lets start at the beginning.

The end of October Linda Taylor, Zoning Administrator and local realtor, was given the necessary application from Lafarge to rezone 19+ acres which lies very close to Lotus Pond, Grand Lake and Lake Esau. Linda held the application until the February meeting of the Planning Commission. Linda stated she was out of town in November, ok, so what is the excuse for December and January. In the eyes of many, this appears to be a direct attempt to push a rezoning request through when most of the property owners who are directly effected are gone for the winter.

On the night of the February meeting, there were many residents who were in the audience and expressed their concern. So to satisfy the residents, a committee was formed to check into the rezoning. The meeting was held in February with no notice in the paper or on the township website or even on the door of the township. When a member of the PC was asked about the open meetings act, the person was told it was not in violation. So although they squeaked by on legalities, it certainly smacks of unethical, in my eyes.

We now move to the people who were away for the winter banding together, doing research and writing a petition. At the next PC meeting, on April 6th., this petition of 200+ names along with a room full of upset residents were ignored and Bill Yaklin, acting chair, called for a vote. The rezoning passed by a 4 to 2. The request goes now to the county for their approval. If the county takes no action then it will be passed and it will go back to our township board.The petition continues to grown day by day and there are now well over 200 signatures. As people return from the winter, they are upset and astonished at our township officials.

After the PC meeting, I called Supervisor Mark Devers and voiced my complaint in how the rezoning had been handled. He told me there would be no vote taken until Lafarge had given him, in writing, an engineering study with time for him to read, understand, and the board had time to understand. He told me he had instructed Lafarge of this but had not received the engineering study as of our phone conversation; he was not at the PC meeting. Our other supervisors have always attended all meetings pertaining to the township. Apparently Supervisor Devers did not think this was important enough to attend and he gave me no excuse as to why he did not attend.

On Monday night, the hall was once again packed with people upset over the rezoning of Lafarge. There were many good questions asked and there was not one person, other than Lafarge employees who were there, who vocalized an agreement with the rezoning. Trustee Morrison said he had talked with many people both for and against. Well Trustee Morrison, give us the number or the names. The petition holders were more than happy to turn over names, addresses and phone numbers. We expect the same from our township officials. When I read my letter, quoting my phone conversation with Supervisor Devers, he now had the "story" the slide presentation was the engineering study. Of course he never said if he had a hard copy or if he had studied the document. The one thing he kept saying is he would not put up with threats, or bullying. Well Supervisor Devers, I have news for you, Lafarge has threatened to stop the pumping into Lake Esau. This in my opinion is a threat and a bully tactic. What do you say to them?

Where do we go from here? Many of us are not giving up on this situation because it adversely affects all our property values in the township. We have several avenues we are exploring. But you as a property owner have the right to have your voice heard. I urge you to call the county Planning Commissioners (you can find their names and phone number on line) and voice your opposition. You can also write letters to the editor of the Presque Isle Advance. You can call all our board members and voi ... {Note: balance of letter lost due to technical issues}



2. Restore Responsible Government ...

About The First Week of October 2010 | Author: Uncertain

Editorial Note:
The following letter was mailed or hand delivered to numerous addresses within the Presque Isle community. It has been reproduced here in its entirety without altering the content. Formatting has been adjusted to improve readability as the original was somewhat crudely set up. Footnotes have been added to clarify or refute some of the statements made.

RESTORE RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT TO PRESQUE ISLE TOWNSHIP
RE-CALL SUPERVISOR POKORSKI


The function of the Township Supervisor is to chair meetings and manage Township business in a fair, open and responsible manner. During his first 22 months in office Supervisor Pokorski has caused the voters to question his motives and abilities.


  1. He has taken the voters rights away by making unilateral decisions without the participation, input and approval of the Board of Trustees.

    1. Supervisor Pokorski disposed of Township assets, in the form of wood products, valued at $7,000 without Board approval.

      1. In October 2009, a forest products contractor, removed trees from the New Lighthouse Park and Old Lighthouse Park, which were commercially processed, and the products were sold. There was no motion or approval by the Township Trustees to dispose of the Township assets. Supervisor Pokorski who authorized the contractors work was not present to supervise the work. There is no written documentation between the contractor and the Township. His actions caused the Presque Isle County Prosecutor to request an investigation by the Michigan State Police.1
    2. Supervisor Pokorski has called special meetings of the Board of Trustees, at very short notice, to make important decisions and some Trustees were not notified.

      1. Pokorski has sent e-mails on Sunday for special meetings at 9 am on Monday. Trustee Morrison was not notified2 of the meeting to interview applicants to appoint a new trustee.
    3. Supervisor Pokorski expended Township funds far in excess than approved by the Board of Trustees.

      1. The Board approved an amount not to exceed $7,000 for cemetery improvements. He authorized over $10,000 in work and then presented the bill to the Board expecting approval & payment without any documentation for the increased cost.3
      2. He spent the Supervisor's mileage budget in the first 7 months of the 2009/2010 fiscal year and then continued to request mileage reimbursement despite the budget over run. Although, advised in February by both the Clerk and the Treasurer, that extra funds needed to be transferred, he neglected to address the requirement until the end of the fiscal year.4
    4. Supervisor Pokorski on numerous occasions pressured the Township Clerk to issue checks for payments that were not previously approved by the Trustees.5
  2. He makes inaccurate and mis-leading claims.

    1. He claims the tree cutting at the Lighthouse Parks was completed at no cost to the taxpayers.6

      1. To date, in addition to the numerous volunteer hours, $5,000 of your tax dollars have been spent to clean up the mess and make our parks presentable for public use.7
      2. In a statement made to the MI State Police, the vendor that cut the trees admitted that the wood products were valued at $7,000 and that he did not have any written agreement with the Township. He was authorized by Patrick Pokorski to remove the trees.8
      3. The Township Board was forced to approve $2,000 to remediate a DNR violation that occurred when Supervisor Pokorski instructed the tree removal contractor to place stumps and brush on the shore of Lake Huron. Violation Notice File # 09-71-0016-V.9
    2. He claims the re-call effort is politically motivated by his opposition for the Office of State Representative. when in fact, many of the recall supporters are voters that elected him to the office of Supervisor.
  3. He lacks the leadership skills needed to manage the Township in a fair, open and responsible manner.10

    1. In his first 22 months in office he has called 16 special meetings of the Township Board. These meetings are secretive, announced only by a notice posted 18 hours in advance on the Township door and often held during the day, when citizens are working. These frequent meetings, where very important decisions have been made, including the appointment of the clerk and trustee, have been at an additional cost to the taxpayer and in a manner that prevents public attendance.
    2. Between July 09 & Dec 09 he requested reimbursement for 3,678 miles, an ave of 613 miles per month
    3. Agendas for the Township Board meetings are not available until a few hours before the meetings are held making it impossible for the Trustees to prepare for the meeting and make informed decisions.
    4. Since taking office, a high priority, on his agenda numerous times, was to establish policies and procedures for Township government. He is yet to produce a single policy or procedure for Township Board approval.
    5. In Sept 2010 he asked Trustees to approve 4 sets of minutes that were more than a year old.
Please vote to recall Patrick Pokorski on November 2nd
11You deserve fair, open and responsible representation!

Sponsored by the Citizens to Re-call Patrick Pokorski, Frank Swartz and Barry Schatz co-chairmen.
For further info write PO Box 100 Presque Isle, MI 49777

Editorial Comments:

1 The Prosecuting Attorney's Office has determined that the claims of wrong-doing against Mr. Pokorski were unfounded and there was no evidence of illegal actions on his part.

2 By his choice, Trustee Morrison did not have email service. A telephone call was placed to his number and a message left regarding the special meeting. The notification failure was with Trustee Morrison, not Mr. Pokorski or Township staff.

3 In fulfilling his duties of Sexton, Mr. Pokorski discovered surveying and road placement errors relating to the newly developed section. In order to properly complete the project, additional expenses were incurred for re-surveying and relocation of the roadway. These errors occurred while the previous Sexton was responsible.

4 Business related travel and attendance at a Board authorized MTA training session put Mr. Pokorski approximately $1,200 over budget. The Board of Trustees authorized this expense prior to expenditure of the funds. For the months of April, May & June of 2010, he paid for all of his mileage and office supplies out of his own family funds.

5 Untrue.

6 The cutting WAS at no cost to the taxpayers. To have contracted the cutting alone would have cost approximately $10,000. To have it done in exchange for the wood products harvested was a good deal. When the possibility of cutting-in-exchange-for-wood was discussed by the Board in the summer of 2009, they stated that it was a "no brainer" — does that not sound like approval?

7 The phase following the cutting of the trees (the so-called cleanup) would be required no matter what route was taken. The investment of resources to create the "new image" can be minimal or extensive, depending upon your tastes. It is unfair to tag those costs to Mr. Pokorski.

8 The $7,000 figure (and that number may not be accurate) represents all wood products harvested. A significant part of the harvest originated from the Presque Isle Harbor Association property and not from the township.

9 This pile was placed immediately next to an existing pile that annually resulted from maintenance operations in the area of the Old Lighthouse. At the Board of Trustees meeting in August of 2009 when asked about the existing pile, Peter Petalia, the Parks and Recreation Committee Chairman stated: " Members felt that there was no issue as the pile is where it always has been and will be addressed as soon as the snow falls just the same as it always has been."

10 Supervisor Pokorski has demonstrated leadership by getting out into the community and attending local functions and promoting the Township. The volunteer base has expanded due to his efforts and he often rolls up his sleeves and works with them on projects. He has actioned stalled issues such as the well at the Township Hall and the expansion of the cemetery. Unfortunately he is often hobbled by the Board that cannot make decisions and constantly throw roadblocks in front of his efforts.

11 We most certainly agree that you deserve fair, open and responsible representation. You are getting that with Patrick Pokorski. The problem is that many don't recognize it because it has not existed within the township for so many years.

One Last Comment: According to Michigan State law regarding recall votes, the Statement of Misconduct of an elected official does not have to be truthful and there is no requirement for independent verification of the accuracy of those claims. It is VERY important that every voter personally evaluate the issues and the claims made. If in your concience you believe that the elected official failed to reasonably fulfill his/her responsibilities of the office, then you should vote accordingly. If, however, you believe that the elected official acted in an appropriate manner and to the best of his/her abilities then you should also vote accordingly.



1. What is Happening ...

About The First Week of November 2009 | Author: Unknown

Editorial Note:
In October of 2009, the hot button issue of tree cutting at the 2 lighthouses and cemetery surfaced. The following letter was anonymously mailed to selected taxpayers in the township and found its way to the local newspapers as well. It is reproduced below as written with links added to various editorial footnotes at the end. Note carefully the tone and wording of the letter. One cannot help but wonder whether the concerns of the author(s) relate more to politics than trees.

What is Happening to Presque Isle Township?????

Acres of trees have been cut at both the New Lighthouse Park and the Old Lighthouse Park. It has been estimated the clear cut at the New Lighthouse Park is about 4 to 5 acres and the swath of trees cut at the Old Lighthouse Park is about 1.5 acres.


Our township resources were not sold for market value;1 they were given to a wood processor in exchange for his labor to remove them. The processor received all of the wood for free2 and in turn, the township has 5 to 6 acres of cleared land that must now have the stumps removed, leveled, filled and seeded all at a cost to the township residents. There will be a new area for parking at the New Lighthouse Township Park; but did we need 4 to 5 acres to park cars?3 What is the benefit at the Old Lighthouse Park? We were told that it was to improve access for ambulance and fire trucks. Then why were trees cut all the way back to Grand Lake Road where there is plenty of room for any type of vehicle? The only explanation4 is to harvest the wood resource. Trees to large to hug were taken unnecessarily.


The third area cut is Presque Isle Harbor Association property next to the cemetery. We are told that a parking lot5 is planned for this parcel. Who will be liable for for activity on this Association property? The township does not have any land right or insurance coverage for use of the property. Tree removal in this area has eliminated privacy while visiting loved ones or holding memorial services.


We want to know who is responsible for this action. The minutes6 from the Township Board meetings for the past year show no motion or approval for the removal of the trees. Further more the clerk, treasurer and two trustees say they never made a motion nor did they vote in favor for disposing of the Township assets. They were all unaware7 that the trees would be removed until after the removal. They are still unaware of the details; such as the value of the disposed resource and who did the removal.


It appears that the Township Supervisor arranged for the removal and disposal of our Township resources without Township Board approval. This amounts to circumventing the public and legislative process as set forth in the State of Michigan statutes for the administration of Township government. The Supervisor then called a special meeting of the Board to ask them to approve funds to remove stumps, grade and fill the property. This was clearly an attempt to prevent the public from knowing the cost of this project and to prevent the public their right to comment and provide input.


While some residents might not find the removal of the trees objectionable, we believe, all residents should be concerned about the deliberate circumventing of the legislative process and the denial of our residents rights to hear about and comment on the disposal of Township assets. We elected 5 Township officials to serve us. We believe that all 5 should make such important decisions.


If these issues concern you, please attend the Township Board meeting on Monday, November 9th at 7 PM at the Township hall If you cannot attend please call or send a letter or e-mail to our clerk, treasurer or trustees voicing your concern.


Karen Fournier, Clerk    595-6242 Betty Tadajewski, Treasurer    595-2223 
Lyn Morrison, Trustee    595-2989Cynthia Paavola, Trustee     595-32308  

Concerned Citizens9

Editorial Comments:

1Due to the recession, the market value of raw wood products is extremely depressed. The wooded areas in question consisted mainly of scrub — small, sparse and under-nourished with considerable diseased and damaged trees. The market value of the wood most likely was much less that the labor cost for its removal.

2 No, it was not free. The previous sentence stated that the wood was in exchange for labor. Here, "free" only means that no money was passed.

3No, we do not need that much parking. It never was about parking. The large area in question is primarily to reclaim the view of the lake that is historically documented in photos from earlier years. This unobstructed view of the lake was essential for the lighthouse keeper to monitor the lake as conducted his daily duties.

4Not the only explanation. Has the author driven this access road in traffic situations. Very unfriendly setting for large rigs and those unfamiliar with the surroundings. Intimidating for tourists.

5You were told wrong. No parking lot was ever considered.

6 These same minutes also do not show that there was an open discussion regarding possible tree clearing at the New Lighthouse. Several members of the attending public have verified this fact. Perhaps Township minutes are lacking in completeness?

7Check the Parks and Recreation report of the August 10, 2009 Board of Trustees Meeting. Also, perhaps these people should get out more. There was open discussion (including the time-frame) amongst the general public at 2 different events held at the New Lighthouse in 2009 — the Arts and Crafts Show and the Township sponsored Labor Day Picnic. Too bad several of the trustees did not see those events to be worthy of their attendance.

8Does our Township Board not consist of 5 people? Looks like the authors have not accepted Pat Pokorski as being part of the Board of Trustees.

9Who are these people? Those paying close attention have probably figured it out.

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.
... Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!