Heise makes campaign for supervisor official
Oct. 14, 2015 PLYMOUTH EAGLE.
Plymouth Michigan News
State Rep. Kurt Heise, speaking before a meeting of the Plymouth Concerned Citizens last week at the Plymouth District Library announced his plans to seek the office of Plymouth Township Supervisor in 2016.
Heise, who said he felt there are major leadership and financial problems facing the township, called for improved transparency and accountability. In a 30-minute prepared talk, Heise laid out what he described as a 90-day Trust and Transparency Plan aimed to salvage a political culture he characterized as one of wrongdoing.
Highlighting his past experience and education Heise said, “My job will be to work for you– I’ll bust my butt every day….we’ll make sure we have leaders in office who can put politics aside,” he told the large crowd at the grassroots citizens watchdog group.
Heise represents the 20th House District, which includes the City of Northville, Northville Township, the City of Plymouth, Plymouth Township, and eastern Canton. He is serving his second term and due to term limits will not be able to seek re-election in 2016.
“Lansing has been a tremendous experience for me, but local politics is my passion…you’re being asked to hire the CEO for a $14 million job, that’s what Plymouth Township is.”
Heise hopes to replace cur- rent Supervisor Shannon Price who was appointed to the job in April following the resignation of former Supervisor Richard Reaume. There was a failed recall effort against Reaume and three other trustees at the time of his resignation. Price was serving his second term on the Wayne County Commission at the time of his appointment to the super- visor’s job which Heise characterized as a “set-up.”
The appointment of Price was reportedly brokered by township Treasurer Ron Edwards and members of the local Republican Party Committee. Immediately following his appointment, Price appointed his former aide at Wayne County and local party chairman Mike Mitchell as the new township parks and grants director. Price was paid $61,000 annually in the part-time Wayne County job and now makes $111,000 as supervisor.
“If they had selected (Chuck) Curmi or (Bob) Doroshewitz, (current trustees who sought the office) I wouldn’t be standing here today,” Heise said. If you want change, you’re going to have to vote in the August 2016 Republican primary.”
Heise said the first thing he would do if elected is to change the recently implemented township Ethics Ordinance.
“I will eliminate the parks director position…grants can be written by anyone, police, fire or even the supervisor,” he said.
“The leaders in this town are obsessed with recreation. McClumpha Park is (like) the Wayne County Jail with a grandiose pavilion,” Heise told the crowd.
Criticizing the elimination of the sidewalk and street repair programs, Heise focused on the violation of environmental laws at the construction site of the new parking lot in the park, calling it an “alien landing strip that cost $5,500 per parking spot.” Heise was director of the Wayne County Waste Water and Environmental Department for more than six years.
Heise then said he would demand a forensic audit of the township-owned Hilltop Golf Course that is operating at a $460,000 deficit.
“The township let go $500,000 this year to sustain it…is this something we want?” he asked.
Heise referenced the numerous lawsuits and litigation in which the township is involved, citing $20 million in unfunded liability with $2.8 million owed to the City of Plymouth for fire department legacy costs.
“As for DeHoCo (Detroit House of Corrections land improperly sold to the township). In my 25 years as an attorney, my experience tells me we’re going to lose that suit. We lost on a summary disposition lawsuit, we’re going to lose our support. We don’t even know the half of it.”
Speaking of the Department of Justice investigation and audit of the police department drug forfeiture funds (prior to the release of the report), Heise said he hoped the township was exonerated.
“If not, somebody’s going to lose their job and it’s not going to be Edwards or Price.”
Heise detailed specific plans, which brought spontaneous applause from the audience.
Calling it a “shakedown,” Heise said, “I’ll end the fireworks VIP party.”
“I want to repeal the gag order between Plymouth Township and Plymouth City. They (town- ship officials) don’t like PARC, because it’s not Ron’s (Edwards) idea.”
“I’m going to sell the $50,000 snow making machine…It’s not a snow-making machine, it’s a lawsuit machine.”
“We need to have regularly scheduled public study sessions to improve transparency and accountability. Let’s have the board meetings on public cable, live,” Heise emphasized.
“I want to open the Lake Pointe Fire Station…the only reason it was closed was because Ron (Edwards) was getting even,” Heise said to rousing applause from the audience.
Heise, 49, has lived with his wife, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Catherine Heise, and two daughters, Kate and Claire, in the township for more than a decade.
Heise practiced law for 25 years and currently teaches law classes as an adjunct professor at both Eastern and Wayne State universities. He is also the principal sponsor of 29 House bills that have become law. His resume lists $4 million in road improvement funding he has secured for the area. He spent nine years in Dearborn Heights government where he handled all elements of municipal govern- ment, environmental law, ordinance drafting, contract negotiation, labor relations and intergovernmental relations.
“What I bring to the table is real experience in government,” Heise said.