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Keiser's Role A column by Trevor Keiser


Tractorgate



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January 25, 2012 - The story started out as a supervisor in Independence Township (Dave Wagner) "exceeding his authority by giving away township property" AKA a broken down tractor to its original owner who donated it to the township some 25-30 years earlier.

This led to angry township board members wanting to spend tax dollars on Oakland County Sheriff investigators as well as private investigators to find the "missing tractor" and if the supervisor had committed a crime. Despite recieving letters from the orginal donor stating he recieved his tractor back and had it "properly disposed of."

The story ended with two sheriff investigations and an Oakland Prosecutor's office coming up with the same conclusion "insufficient evidence of a crime being committed." The prosecutor's office also pointed out the tractor was never even township property because they never voted on the acceptance of the proposed donation of the tractor, as required by law.

What happen in the middle you ask? The answer: A man by the name of H. Wallace Parker who owns a tractor that looks similar to that of the township's gets township employees driving back and forth and investigators at his property taking pictures trying to determine if that's "their tractor."

Who was the middle "hatchet man?" A trustee (Neil Wallace) who took matters into his own hands by picking up the phone giving out a house address and asking township employees to drive by to check the tractor on the property.

Since when does a trustee ever have the power to direct a township employee to do anything? Since when does an employee listen to someone who is not their boss?

Surprising since this is the same trustee who has scolded the supervisor in public meetings by saying "it's the board who makes the decisions."

Well if that's the case, then shouldn't "the board" have been immediately informed a similar looking tractor was seen and a special meeting called of how to handle it? I guess we won't know since Mr. Wallace refused to be interviewed by the police and doesn't return e-mails to the news seeking answers. It raises the question what does he have to hide?

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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