One way, bias issues in parking

Clarkston News Editor
Clarkston’s Parking Committee met with city engineer Gary Tressel to determine the direction for a new one-way Buffalo Street, north of Waldon Road.
“The recommendation from the city engineer is one way from Waldon towards East Church,” said City Council member Rick Detkowski, also a member of the committee, at the Feb. 26 meeting.
The engineer also recommended removing 2-3 spots on the east side of the road to improve safety for residents using their driveways, Detkowski said.
City Council voted 5-2, Feb. 12, to make the road one way from Church to Waldon road.
Detkowski said he will bring a formal recommendation from Tressel to the next meeting. If approved, the city would need to issue a traffic control order and provide a grace period for drivers to get used to the one-way change, before enforcement can take place, he said.
Detkowski said another issue brought up by residents is a conflict of interest by Council member Sharron Catallo.
“There are properties on Buffalo owned by a council member, and the council member voted on it,” Detkowski said. “It keeps being brought up to my attention.”
“What does that have to do with it,” Catallo asked.
“How can anyone vote on anything – everyone has property somewhere,” said Council member Jason Kneisc. “To get a stop sign on Holcomb, Rick, you and I can’t vote?”
City ordinances prohibit conflicts of interest, which means “business of the city in which the city official has a private financial interest separate from that of the general public, including private financial interests of the city employee or city official, or any member of the immediate household of the city official or city employee.”
“I don’t see the economic issue here,” said Council member Eric Haven.
Mayor Steven Percival said removing parking could affect the value of Catallo’s property, a rental home.
“It seems like a set up doesn’t it,” Catallo said.
Percival said employees at local restaurants, including those owned by Catallo’s son, Curt Catallo, park on the streets.
“I have no financial interest in the restaurant,” Catallo said.
“Why was the restaurant even brought up,” Kneisc asked. “It’s kind of rude, to be honest.”
“Don’t call me rude about this,” Percival said. “People are bringing it up.”
“I still think Sharron has a conflict of interest because her son owns those restaurants,” said Council member Sue Wylie. “If it was my kid, I would vote for my son’s financial interest.”
“I think my children are way old and have been on their own for a long time,” Sharron Catallo said.
Percival said Catallo’s verbal confrontation with resident Lorry Mahler, Jan. 8, for which Catallo publicly apologized, indicated bias when it comes to her children.
“I have been up here long enough to know right and wrong – I have recused myself before,” Catallo said. “We’re talking about parking.”
“Which benefits the restaurants,” Percival said’
“There are other restaurants,” Catallo said.
“We are way off the reservation,” Kneisc said.

3 Responses to "One way, bias issues in parking"

  1. Mike Fetzer   March 8, 2018 at 8:36 am

    Sounds as if there at least two council members either too stupid or too arrogant to recognize conflicts of interest or appearances to that effect in determine whether it is appropriate to vote on an issue. They could seek legal guidance, except for the fact that failures to release documents attendant to public business makes many folks question whether ethics are even a concern for local government…

  2. Cory Johnston   March 8, 2018 at 9:43 am

    Everyone in the city government, including the council members, are supposed to read and sign off on the city’s conflict of interest policy every year. What they all seem to ignore is section 33.05 SEEKING PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT which states:
    “No city official or city employee shall use or attempt to use his or her city position to secure or attempt to secure any privilege, exemption, advantage, contract, or preferential treatment for himself or herself or any relative as defined herein.”
    Even if this hasn’t occurred, there is a wide spread public perception of bias and favoritism as evidenced by comments from the public and council including two law suits now in the Michigan Court of Appeals. One of those is an attempt by the city to withhold information from the public. This perception is just as detrimental to maintaining trust and confidence in our local government as the real thing. The fact that the council discusses these issues but does nothing about it only makes it worse.
    The city’s policy gives the council the power to correct the actual and perceived favoritism and bias but they so far have refused to do it.

  3. mike fetzer   March 8, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    Unfortunately, the political heavyweights who once advocated morality and family values now look the other way when leaders engage in conduct and words we’d be embarrassed for our own children to exhibit and mouth. “Draining the swamp” has come to mean merely “add more muck”, a ploy to give ugly creatures more slime and cover in which to lie and hide…

    Nothing will change until voters demand it. Anybody encouraging their kid or grandchild to grow up to be like Donald Trump?


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