Rep. Yaroch: Township board members, officers must meet their duty

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Legislation inspired by situation involving Macomb Township Trustee Dino Bucci

A plan co-sponsored by state Rep. Jeff Yaroch, of Richmond, to demand attendance of board members and officers at township meetings was advanced today in a vote by the House Local Government Committee.

House Bill 5950 was introduced after Macomb Township Trustee Dino Bucci was indicted by a federal grand jury in November 2017 on 18 counts of conspiracy, bribery, embezzlement, extortion, mail fraud and money laundering. The charges are in connection with public contracts in Macomb Township, part of an area Yaroch represents in the Michigan House.

Bucci, who worked for the Macomb County Department of Public Works until 2017, has refused to resign and has not attended a Macomb Township Board of Trustees meeting since the indictment.

“When we’re elected, our fundamental duty is to show up,” said Yaroch when testifying in support of the bill on May 16. “You have a responsibility as an elected official to appear when your board meets.”

Despite not attending meetings for five months, a taxpayer-funded compensation package is still available to Bucci. The proposal under consideration would allow township governing boards to vote to compel a member to attend meetings and conduct themselves in an orderly fashion. If the individual in question still refuses to attend, they could be cited with misconduct in office and removed by the governor.

City councils, school boards, county commissions and charter township boards currently have measures in place addressing attendance and orderly activity in some form. The plan looks to close the loophole for general law townships such as Macomb.

“We’re trying to bring that consistency and interpretation across the board so general law townships, including growing ones like Macomb Township, can function properly with their boards of elected officials performing their duties and meeting the basic expectations extended to them when they are elected,” Yaroch said.

HB 5950 moves to the full House for consideration.