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Village council member resigns unexpectedly

October 23, 2013 - Lake Orion Council member Mike Toth's service to the village ended at the October 15 council meeting after he announced his resignation in his closing comments.

"After speaking with our previous village manager Paul Zelenak over the summer, I've realized that I've become jaded to this council's system," Toth said at the end of the meeting.

"I'd like to devote more of my time to groups and organizations that I feel are more willing to change and do what's right for the greater good of the community and to make the tough decisions," he said.

Toth dropped off his formal letter of resignation to the village Monday, October 21. For his resignation to be officially accepted, it will be voted on at the next council meeting October 28.

"I just don't see that the village council is making the decisions for the community as a whole, and I felt that I became ineffective as a council member because of my relationships with the council members, so I wasn't able to persuade anyone else as to what I thought was the right path," he said.

Toth disagreed with how the village managed the dispatch agreement with Oxford.

"I think Oxford is the right choice to handle our dispatch, but I feel that not going out for bids was just not the way Lake Orion has done things in the past. Specifically we do everything by the book, for the letter of the law, for the charter, but basically this time they did a no-bid contract," he said. "Oxford's price was good, they probably would have had the lowest price, but that's not the way the village used to do things, and I disagreed with that completely. That would just be one example," he said.

Council members were surprised by Toth's resignation at the meeting.

"I didn't know, it was kind of out of the blue," Village Council President Ken Van Portfliet said. "I could only speculate that it's for multiple reasons and multiple considerations. I'm sorry to see him go. I valued to see him as a member, and we will carry on."

At the close of the meeting Village Manager Darwin McClary said, "I definitely appreciate your service both on this board and on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee. I'd like to talk to you some more Mike if you have got the time, so you and I can sit down. I'd like to hear more about your ideas and suggestions so that we can continue to move in a positive direction."

Toth's term was scheduled to end in November 2016.

After Toth's resignation is accepted, the village will have 30 days to appoint someone to take his place until the next regular village council election in November 2014.

Voters will elect a council member November 2014 to fulfill Toth's unexpired term from 2014 to November 2016. In 2016, there will be a regular election, and under the village's charter, the top three voters get a four year term, and the person who finishes fourth gets a two-year term.

To advertise for Toth's position, council is going to follow procedures that they followed in 2004, advertising the vacancy in The Lake Orion Review for one week. Council will decide between applications.

"Whether they select someone from the applications or whether they hold a special meeting for interviews, it's up to the council for what type of process they want to follow," McClary said.

Toth plans on applying to the Parks and Rec advisory board to become an actual member in lieu of his previous position as a council member liaison.

"The parks and rec genuinely believe in what they're doing. They don't get any credit for it or accolades for it, the members do a much better job than I do, and I'd like to stay with them to try and catch up," Toth said.

"I wasn't happy, I didn't enjoy myself. I didn't hide my feelings any more. On camera I think it's fairly obvious. Again, I hope someone can take my position that fares with my views to advocate for change and continue to make the tough decisions but who can be a better politician than I was, to move the village forward and hopefully make it relevant to the future. I still want what's best for the village but couldn't provide that service anymore," Toth said.

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