Devine is a Notre Dame University grad with a degree in psychology, a law degree from Detroit College of Law and is in private practice. He was the Bloomfield Township Treasurer from 2000-2016, and an Oakland County Commissioner from 1995-1999.
The supervisor is required to support the Constitution of the United States and the state of Michigan. Free Speech is the most crucial right being smothered by the current administration. MCL 42.10 lists 15 duties of the Township Supervisor, all important but most relevant to the current election: Enforce all laws and township ordinances; prepare and administer the annual budget; and efficient administration of all township departments. As township treasurer, I worked with former supervisor Payne to achieve our AAA bond rating by prudent investments and strategic planning. That rating is vulnerable now due to policies of the current board which is why I pledge to develop a Resident Focused Strategic Plan like the one that lapsed in 2014. As a Certified Public Finance Administrator (CPFA) and a municipal law expert, I am experienced in employing best practices to formulate balanced budgets and long-range financial planning for Bloomfield Township.
I pledge to fully investigate the pros and cons of the concept through the Resident Focused Strategic Planning process with the new board of trustees and the taxpayers as the first order of business. I believe my experience and skills make me the best suited candidate to serve as township supervisor but I would embrace the concept and find the most efficient way to implement it if that is the direction the new board and our residents choose to go.
I do not favor higher taxes. Through the development of a new Resident Focused Strategic Plan, we will prioritize the exemplary services most crucial to maintaining and enhancing our community driven by the needs and desires of the taxpayers. Efficiencies can be explored in that process through the public discussion of the Plante Moran study done last year and the Comprehensive Compensation and Staffing Study that has yet to be completed by the current board although commissioned in January 2020 in the wake of the defeated SAD Tax Request in August 2019.
I have participated in updating Bloomfield Township’s master plan over the years. It is a different legal instrument than a strategic plan and will have to be integrated into the thought process of the new board of trustees with full involvement of our residents. It is the backbone of our community’s essence in maintaining the beauty and value of our residential properties. We will take our direction from the new Resident Focused Strategic Plan to determine which areas of the plan or which ordinances need to be revised. I will form a new advisory committee comprised of experts in all areas dealing with real estate and residential property rights in the process of developing our new Resident Focused Strategic Plan to assist the updating of the Master Plan.
REUNIFYING THE COMMUNITY
The last few years of my tenure as treasurer were marked with constant personal attacks upon me generated by the current supervisor because I opposed his policies. Since then, he broadened his personal attacks on any trustee or resident courageous enough to question his policies. He just sued certain residents and a social media platform called Nextdoor to silence dissent. The root of the problem stems from refusal to provide verifiable documentation in a timely manner (if at all) to the board and our residents so that discussions devolve into angry arguments rather than cooperative efforts to solve problems. I pledge to only present agenda items that have been fully researched, documented and shared with our residents and board members well in advance of meetings where action is required. Board meetings will allow for respectful involvement by the trustees, residents and employees without fear of retribution.
I pledge to re-prioritize residents as job number one again. We will re-open Township Hall with a five-day work week and prohibit free luxury cars for elected officials and department heads. I pledge to straighten out the water and sewer department’s poor business practices involving exorbitant and unfair billings to resolve the issues called out by Judge O’Brien in the lawsuit lost by the current administration. The case could have been settled for $2.5 million but is now costing the taxpayers over $12 million in damages, interest and attorney fees. I pledge to provide full financial transparency and encourage respectful public participation in all we do before decisions are made. We will establish free online access to all accounting records in real time to track revenues, expenses, debt and all water, sewer and road projects.
WHY VOTE FOR YOU
I have the patience and desire to respectfully listen to all participants in the discussions required to lead the township board and our residents as we navigate the future in these troubled times. My experience and track record of honesty, integrity and success involving the appropriate management of Bloomfield Township sets me apart from my competition. I grew up here and raised my children in Bloomfield Township. We need to work together as a community to ensure a bright future for generations to come.
Savoie has a bachelor's degree in business, with an economics minor, from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He is the incumbent township supervisor, a position he has held since 2011. Prior to that he was a Bloomfield Township Trustee, 2004-2011.
The duties of the supervisor’s position are both internal and external. Internal duties are concerned with the operations of the township. The main internal responsibilities are human resources and finances. Although we are confronted with new challenges currently, our finances have only grown stronger since I became supervisor. We at Bloomfield Township have risen to financial challenges over past years through great diligence and with success. This is due to intensive attention to detail and my deep understanding of best practices. Interaction with the public is my number one priority. Externally, I am very effective at communicating with the public and other municipalities. I have been and will continually be available for the residents. I give every resident my cell phone number and encourage them to call me first. Based on my strong financial background and my strong skills in other areas, I am the best candidate for supervisor of Bloomfield Township.
The concept of a township superintendent, although unusual, is not a foreign idea. The difference between the two is, a superintendent works directly for the board of trustees while the supervisor works directly for the residents in conjunction with the board of trustees. A superintendent is equivalent to a city manager. The superintendent is subject to the board of trustees directives and not those of the residents. I have seen numerous instances over the years where a city manager has been removed by the new commission coming in when in fact that manager was doing an outstanding job. As an elected supervisor, I have the ability to act quickly and decisively to meet the residents’ needs and deliver quality services. Over the past nine years, I have worked tirelessly 60 to 80 hours a week for the residents and will continue to do so.
Bloomfield Township has always balanced its budget and remains a top rated community in the state and nation. We have monitored the budget closely since the COVID-19 pandemic began. We have been cognizant of financial constrictions due primarily to a decline of state revenue sharing. Last fiscal year our main general fund operations were under budget by $3,378,000. This allowed us to fund long-term retiree pensions and healthcare obligations that were ignored in the past. In the past 12 months, we successfully reduced our unfunded liability for retiree health care by over four percent. This is because of a stringent plan for savings as well as changing healthcare programs. Long term, we will closely monitor all aspects of the budget. Based on current analysis, we believe our expenses will not only meet our revenues, but there will be no need to utilize reserves. We will continue to offer quality service to the residents.
I am extremely familiar with our master plan and zoning ordinances. I sat on the zoning board of appeals for years long before I became an elected official. The master plan is required to be updated every 20 years and reaffirmed every five years. The master plan went through a complete update in 2007 and was re-affirmed in 2012 and 2017 by the planning commission and the board of trustees. I feel the master plan is very comprehensive and reflective of a residential community. In the past there have been some rezoning requests that have been contrary to the master plan. The township has been very protective of the master plan. The only way to consider a rezoning that has been contrary to the master plan has been to go through the entire public process of changing the master plan first to insure public input has been received and considered.
REUNIFYING THE COMMUNITY
Overall, I feel the community is unified. The vocal criticism is coming primarily from a very small group of individuals that have their own political or personal reasons to attack most board of trustees members and the employees. This same group has been using social media to attack the operations of Bloomfield Township and individuals personally. There has been no fact checking on individuals’ posts, so this small group keeps spreading their falsehoods with reckless abandon. Fortunately, a number of residents are fed up with these false, negative and unwarranted attacks and have been responding back. I get emails and letters every day from people who are pleased with the operations of the township and the quality services we provide. I will continue to do what is right and to the best of my ability to get the correct facts out there so the voters can make a well-informed decision.
The top three priorities are public safety, infrastructure and finances. The number one function of government is to protect the citizens. This protection comes from both our police and fire departments. We live in a relatively safe community. That does not happen by accident. Our officers follow every lead to apprehend individuals who have broken the law. Our fire department is extremely important to the protection of our residents. EMS runs dominate the activity of our fire department. Last year we had over 6,000 EMS runs which is a 100 percent increase over the last five years. I fully believe we as leaders have an obligation to provide the best fire/EMS and police protection available. Infrastructure also has to be a priority. We have seen the devastation caused by municipalities that fail to upgrade their water and sewer systems. I have, and will continue to, expend the time and resources necessary to protect the residents of our community. Finances were covered above.
WHY VOTE FOR YOU
Why elect me? My proven track record. I have balanced the budget every year and funded long-term liabilities that have been ignored by administrations for the past 50 years. My opponent has a lifetime pension and lifetime healthcare from Bloomfield Township. I will receive none of these as municipalities cannot sustain themselves with the kind of benefits my opponent afforded to himself. My opponent has been erratic in his behavior and in his decision-making process, to the point other municipal and county leaders were reluctant to work with him. In his previous role as township treasurer, he spent very little time in the office and ignored his number one priority – investing the township's money. In fact our current treasurer has increased investment returns 600 percent while not increasing any risk. Bloomfield Township cannot afford to have him back. Re-elected, I will continue to face the challenges of the supervisor's position with the same proven work ethic and broad skill set that I have brought to job for the last nine years. My main goal has been, and will always be, to keep Bloomfield Township the special place our residents have always known it to be.