Idea to postpone contract negotiations dropped

February 14, 2020

Bloomfield Township Trustee David Buckley introduced a resolution on Monday, February 10, to postpone contract negotiations until the new board of trustees is sworn into office in November after the general election but pulled the resolution after other trustees pointed out the flaws in his argument.

Buckley read his statement into the record, which said that "...it is patently unfair, fiscally imprudent and unjust to strap the new board of trustees with decisions made in haste by the outgoing administration which would subject all employees and all taxpayers to unsustainable financial burden going forward."

Contracts are set to expire March 31, 2020. Buckley stated he brought up the issue at this particular meeting after not receiving response from a message sent to township supervisor Leo Savoie regarding an update on the upcoming contract negotiations. Savoie questioned why he hadn't just called him if he hadn't received an email response.

Buckley's proposal also stated that "...as a showing of good faith by the current elected officials and department heads in the meantime, the tax-funded company cars being enjoyed by said persons, despite the financially troubled times being experienced in Bloomfield Township, shall be relinquished immediately and sold in an independent and transparent procedure at auction to the highest bidder from the public."

From the get-go there was disagreement amongst the board.

"I can't support this at all," said trustee Neal Barnett.

Multiple trustees had issues with the language Buckley used in his resolution and said it was riddled with opinion. A few board members noted that his resolution suggested an entirely new board would be in place come November, which many didn't agree with, as some could run for re-election and be re-elected.

"I guess I have problems with your likely 'we'll be a new board'...likely somebody could die, likely somebody could move, but likely that the whole board is going to turn over. I don't know that. And that is not something substantial you put in a resolution," said clerk Jan Roncelli.

"The key word is entirely new board," added Savoie.

Trustee Dani Walsh asked if there was room for negotiation about the issue and said that she thinks it would be a waste of over $100,000 being spent on a study where the results aren't scheduled to come back to the board until June. Said study being done compares Bloomfield Township employee benefits to other communities which are similar. Further, union contract negotiations must be done by the expiration.

The conversation also veered off  into some of Buckley's more controversial social media remarks about his fellow board members, both past and present, before getting back on track. A few of said comments being discussed had been brought up earlier during the evening's public comments, where it was noted that Buckley had erroneously maligned former township supervisor Dave Payne, now deceased, and former township clerk Wilma Cotton, on the social media site NextDoor.

After much debate, Buckley eventually removed his resolution.

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