Trustee’s request for ethics probe rejected

Nov. 30, 2014  PLYMOUTH EAGLE.

Plymouth Michigan News




Don Howard

Staff Writer


There will be no ethics investigation of Plymouth Township Trustee Bob Doroshewitz, who is currently facing the threat of a recall petition filed by Township Supervisor Richard Reaume.

The question of the ethics probe prompted jeers, scoffs and public outcry from audience members during the regular township board meeting last week along with shouted warnings regarding decorum from Reaume. Despite the 270-page meeting informational packet and 15 items listed under new business on the agenda, the ethics probe of Doroshewitz, which he personally requested, occupied the majority of the meeting discussion.

Doroshewitz wanted the board to conduct an independent ethics investigation of himself along with “any other trustee or township employee” that led to Reaume filing a recall petition naming him as a target. Pending recalls of six of the seven current board members was the impetus for Doroshewitz’ request for an ethics probe. Reaume filed recall petitions against Doroshewitz, Mike Kelly and Chuck Curmi after a grassroots political activist group filed recall petitions against him, Treasurer Ron Edwards, Clerk Nancy Conzelman and Trustee Kay Arnold. Reaume’s petition against Curmi was denied due to unclear language by the Wayne County Elections Committee, while the other two were approved. Reaume conceded to the propriety of the language in the petitions against him, although Edwards, Conzelman and Arnold appealed the deci- sion. That appeal was denied by Circuit Court Judge Robert Columbo last Friday.

Doroshewitz’ motion for the ethics probe was defeated by a 6 to 1 vote, after much heated discussion.

Reaume called for township attorney Kevin Bennett to render advice and asking him to dictate how to correctly state verbiage to amend the motion language “…so as to postpone it indefinitely.”

“With respect to ethics considerations in general, the board does have the policy to order an investigation in ethics. However it would have to be for a proper purpose from a public perspective not for a proper purpose from an individual perspective,” Bennett said. Doroshewitz said he crafted the motion to explore the issues surrounding another cantankerous board meeting which took place last May 13 when Treasurer Ron Edwards accused him of unlawfully collecting unemployment compensation funds being paid by the township. State officials later stated Doroshewitz’ actions lacked any evidence of wrongdoing.

“What I’m trying to focus on is that May 2014 meeting, said Doroshewitz. There were things said about me. I took exception. I considered them slanderous.”

At that raucous meeting, Edwards stated vehemently that he had access to Doroshewitz’ Linked-In account and found he filed for unemployment causing the township to pay out $720 on his behalf. Doroshewitz angrily denied the allegation.

“You’re accusing me of a crime,” he heatedly retorted and threatened to file a civil lawsuit naming Edwards and the township as defendants.

“I’m going to sue you and I’m going to sue this township…you slandered me.” Doroshewitz said repeatedly after the allegations at the May meeting.

At the meeting last week, Reaume, after regaining his composure, said it appeared Doroshewitz was trying to use township resources to conduct an ethics probe.

“I should ask for an ethics investigation?” Reaume exclaimed. Reaume appeared upset after resident, Mary Ann MacLaren, questioned his con- duct earlier in the meeting.

MacLaren said she wanted to know whether township assets were being used to compensate Miller Canfield for the legal defense of the trustees facing recall by the citizens group. MacLaren said she thought the use of the Miller Canfield firm to defend the personal issues of the four officials in the recall appeal was a conflict of interest and a misuse of township funds. Miller Canfield has been retained in the past to provide legal representation for the township.

“All I wanted was some answers and the truth to come out,” MacLaren said after the meeting.

Other business at the meeting included the approval by a 6-1 vote of the $13.9 million 2015 general fund budget and a 45-minute slide presentation by Patrick Fellrath, township engineer describing in great detail a new $233,000 street sweeper. The board unanimously approved the purchase. The funds for the new vehicle will come from the recently approved $1.9 million recreation bond sale.

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