Source: Sherman Publications

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Wagner picks Mike Clark as deputy

November 23, 2011

Supervisor Dave Wagner's responded to the Townsihp Board's superintendent appointment with one of his own.

He appointed Mike Clark as his new deputy supervisor, effective Nov. 15.

"The township board, which controls the compensation for the deputy supervisor, chose a very limited compensation plan for Mr. (Rick) Yeager," Wagner wrote in a letter to Clerk Barkara Pallotta. "Due to this limited compensation, Mr. Yeager has been hindered in his ability to fulfill his statutory obligations during the term of my extended disability."

He also sent a certificate signed by Oakland County Clerk Bill Bullard validating the appointment of Clark.

The appointment was in response to the Trustee David Lohmeier's proposal to make Rick Yeager a "finance guy" and appoint Bart Clark as superintendent, Wagner said.

"I think (Mike) Clark is an excellent choice," Wagner said. "I had two or three people who were interested, but they all needed to be paid and the board wasn't going to fund anything regarding our deputy supervisor. I had to find somebody who was willing to go in and check on stuff and keep me informed and let me know what's going on in my absence because I plan on being back the first part of the year."

Clark said he does not work for the board, but "serves at the pleasure of the supervisor."

"But I do work for every resident of this township," Clark said. "In that case, I would like very much to work with the board as opposed to not working with the board."

Residents Nanci Anderson-Bereznicki and Rick Gutowski said Clark does not represent them.

"You, the board, represent me," Gutowski said. "The township board, that's what the people empowers to do what's right for the township."

Trustee Neil Wallace called Wagner's appointment of Clark "the height of irresponsibility."

"It puts someone presumably in charge who does not have the best interest of the township at heart," Wallace said. "He (Clark) has proven over and over again that he has a personal, political agenda that is to his own personal advantage and that has been going on for far too long."

Treasurer Curt Carson said he was "deeply disappointed" in Wagner.

"I don't think the people of Independence Township deserve what has happened here tonight," Carson said. "In all due respect to Mr. Clark, I don't see how this kind of a situation would work because of the personality conflicts."

Pallotta agreed.

"I think some of the people Mr. Wagner has surrounded himself with are not in the best interest of this township or for him," she said. "His health is a priority right now and I understand he is getting better, but I don't want him back in our office until he's 100 percent."

Pallotta also noted she was willing to wait to Jan. 1, but because of Wagner's appointment of Clark, she felt "forced to make a decision" as it related to appointing a superintendent.

Trustee Larry Rosso thought the board gave Wagner a good option at the last meeting, to resign and receive his lifetime healthcare benefits early.

"My hope was 50/50 chance he would accept it, especially in the position he finds himself," Rosso said. "Obviously he's chosen not to do that with Mr. Clark showing up here tonight, announcing what he stated."

As the clock ticks down to the Dec. 1 deadline, Wagner said he still hasn't decided.

"They're telling me I can't run for any office period, which is as illegal as can be. That's what my attorney (Larry Barnett) is looking over right now," he said. "They've never done this to any other employee ever."

Wagner noted he doesn't want to retire.

"I do want to work," he said. "There is a possibility that I may want to run again if my health was back at 100 percent."