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Posted: 01/29/14

Oakland Board introduces
its new township manager

Observer Special Writer
      The Oakland Township Board of Trustees recognized former Oakland Township representative to the Older Persons Commission, Dr. Pierre Atallah, with a special commemorative plaque at the beginning of their meeting Jan. 14.
       Dr. Atallah has lived in Oakland Township for more than 30 years. He was appointed the township's senior representative on the OPC Governing Board from December 2012 and was named the board's chairman soon after. He left the board at the end of 2013 due to increased workloads in his profession as a cardiologist.
       In his brief tenure, he contributed tremendously to the OPC.
       "OPC was in somewhat of a turmoil prior to last December. Under Dr. Atallah's tutelage, it really smoothed out," said Township Supervisor Terry Gonser.
       Dr. Atallah thanked the board for recognizing his work and reflected on his work for the OPC.
       "We did achieve a lot in one year. We have more membership, (and) more services made available to our seniors," he said. "All in all, everybody felt very positive, everybody participated in contributing a lot, and now we have a search committee that is trying to find a successor to Marye Miller (OPC's executive director, who is retiring this year) . . . (who) helped it grow and be what it is today, a model for other OPC's throughout, not just the United States, but globally. I encourage all the people of Oakland Township to really take advantage of (the OPC)."
       The board also introduced Ann Capela as the new township manager.
       "She's been here a week, and everybody is really pleased that she's here," said Gonser.
       Prior to becoming township manager, Capela worked at Wayne State University at the school's Office of International Students and Scholars. She has worked in public administration most of her life.
       "It's coming back to my first love," she said of her decision to come to Oakland Township.
       Township Trustee Mike Bailey updated the board on the next steps Environmental Consulting and Technology will take to restore the Paint Creek Mill Race.
       "They're going to traverse the stream and take an inventory of the stream banks firsthand and assess the stream conditions. I like what I see," he said. "These engineers are hands-on kind of people. All of them are very enthusiastic about this. I'm very happy that they're on board."
       Township Trustee Maureen Thalmann questioned the need for two attorneys to work with Oakland Township. Steve Joppich works with the Parks and Recreation Commission, while Daniel Kelly works with the Board of Trustees.
       "I'm not sure that the residents are aware that they are paying double for attorney coverage," she said. "I think it's very unusual for a department within the township to have its own attorney, and I really don't think the taxpayers know that they are paying twice for attorney coverage."
       The board also announced it was looking for an alternate for the Zoning Board of Appeals as the original candidate selected had declined. Alternates would only be needed if a member could not make it to a meeting.
       "If anyone knows anyone that has an interest in serving as an alternate on the Zoning Board of Appeals, we'd certainly welcome your name," said Gonser.
       In other business, the Board of Trustees:
       • Awarded auditing services to Plante Moran after interviewing three different CPA firms.
       • Approved a site plan review from The Myth Golf Course to build an accessory building on the premises.
       • Awarded Community Development Block Grant Funds to Oakland Livingston Human Service Agency and HAVEN, a domestic violence shelter in Pontiac.
       • Approved a resolution approving an interlocal agreement with Oakland County to provide hazardous material recycling services to township residents and appointed Maureen Thalmann as the official representative for the township.
       • Approved the Board of Review Resident Appeal by Letter policy.
       • Approved the Board of Review Hardship Guidelines.
       • Approved a request that the Parks and Recreation Commission submit a modified version of a caretaker's contract to the Board of Trustees for review.
       • Approved an easement for the Orion Road Bridge project.

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