HOLLY TOWNSHIP, Michigan – Trustee Janet Leslie is in favor of the Board of Trustees reviewing its policy on how to add an item to an agenda, and asked that the matter be discussed during Wednesday’s monthly meeting.
On April 27, Leslie made the request to discuss the topic of procedures and policies for adding items to the agenda to the May meeting agenda. Prior to the meeting, Lambert denied her request. During the May 16 meeting, Leslie asked board members to amend the agenda to include the topic. Her motion was seconded by Lambert, and passed unanimously.
In addition to the April 27 request, Leslie said she made two other requests to Lambert in March and April to add an item concerning a township property dispute to the agenda. Making the request in writing two weeks before the meeting, she was unsuccessful. Her request concerned the property at 1031 South Holly Road, which is in dispute. Not all of the board members had the same information on the property, Leslie said.
The only written policy the board has reads that agenda items must be requested five days before a meeting, Supervisor Jesse Lambert said. Board Secretary, Clerk Karin Winchester, then prepares the proposed meeting agenda for the supervisor.
Leslie asked whether the board would like to make a specific policy on the matter, and if not, why.
Trustee Steve Ruth said the township should “definitely try to tie up loose ends.”
Treasurer Mark Freeman said the board conducts Holly Township's business, and items that should require the board's action should be on its meeting agendas. If an issue doesn't need board action, then it shouldn't be on the agenda, Freeman said. Freeman said 95 percent of the township's business is done administratively during business hours, and that only 5 percent of Holly Township's business takes place during board meetings.
With recent controversial issues, people have wanted to add some issues to meeting agendas, Winchester said. These should be handled administratively first.
Winchester said the issue had been discussed in closed session.
Resident Timm Smith, who is involved with the property dispute at 1031 South Holly Road, told the board during public comment that he asked for the issue be on the agenda. It wasn't included, although he talked to Winchester about it. He asked the board to intervene on his behalf and help him with the dispute over the land.
Smith said his case is now lodged in the Michigan Court of Appeals. "It's been impossible to get on the board agenda," he added.
The board reviews its policies and procedures, and the last amendments were in 2011, Lambert said, adding that he is in agreement with reviewing the policy and procedures on adding items to a meeting agenda, whether it's prompted by a controversial issue or not.
"I am all for looking at it," he said. "It's good to policy to update your policies."
On Wednesday, he had information on a few other communities' policies and procedures. Lambert said he would gather information from more municipalities for Holly Township to consider, and he will work on reviewing the township's policy.