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Candidate Q&A: White Lake Treasurer Candidate Mike Roman

Mike Roman (R-White Lake) is running for White Lake Township Treasurer in the Aug. 7 primary election.

To kick off election coverage, White Lake-Highland Patch has sent out a survey to candidates running for office in White Lake and Highland. The following is the Q&A response from White Lake Treasurer candidate Mike Roman. Roman, a republican, will be facing off against incumbent Jay Brendel in the August primary election.

Patch: How long have you lived in White Lake?

Roman: I have lived in White Lake Township for 14 years with my wife and two sons 9 and 14, both in Huron Valley Schools.

Patch: What community and civic organizations are you currently involved in?

 Roman:

  • I established a free after school sports program for students at Brooks Elementary School   2007 -2009
  • I served as a District Parent Council Representative for the Huron Valley School District 2007-2009
  • I traveled to Lansing with former Huron Valley School Superintendent Jackie Johnston to meet with State Representatives to lobby for fair school funding for Huron Valley Schools.
  • Brooks Elementary School - volunteer work with Special Needs students 2008-2009 school year.
  • Carl’s YMCA little league baseball coach 2004-2005.
  • Member of the Oakland County Republican Party.
  • Member of the Huron Valley Optimist Club.
  • I assisted the White Lake Citizen League with its 2010 budget.

Patch: What drew you to run for Treasurer?

Roman: As a 14 year resident of White Lake Township, I plan on being here for the rest of my life. I believe the Township faces many financial hurdles in the future and needs a Treasurer/Trustee with a financial management background. For me, this is an opportunity to share with the residents of White Lake Township, all of the financial management and Accounting skills that I have developed in the private business sector.  

Patch: What personal and professional experiences make you qualified to hold that position?

Roman:

  • I have been a Michigan CPA (Certified Public Accountant) since 1987 and worked in private industry throughout the Tri-county area since.
  • My financial experience includes 15 years in Business Management, Corporate Accounting and Finance, and Investment portfolio accounting/analysis.
  • As a former Oakland County business owner, I was President of All American Financial Corporation (a licensed Michigan Mortgage Lender/Broker) for 7 years.

Patch: What is the most important issue facing the township and what do you intend to do about it during your term in office?

Roman: Bringing transparency to the residents is the most important issue facing White Lake Township. Examples of two major issues, and how I would handle them are as follows:

  1. Many residents are not aware that as of 12-31-2011 the Township has not yet started to fund post-employment  benefits (most of which is healthcare for Township retirees). The annual required contribution would be over 1 million dollars. Although the Township did fund current premiums of $203,018 for 2011, the unfunded balance grew $895,482 in 2011. As of 12-31-2011 the cumulative obligation stands at over $3 million and will continue to grow substantially year over year without a funding plan. As Treasurer, I would create a simple standard report for residents to make them aware of the situation, and outline options for funding solutions. One of the options for residents to consider is having retirees begin sharing in this ever escalating cost which is very common in private industry.
  2. Many residents are not aware that as of 12-31-2011 our Township had over ten million dollars in savings that were not FDIC insured. As Treasurer, I would FDIC insure most, if not all of this.

Patch: In recent years there has been discussion about contracting either police services or dispatch services with the county. Do you think the police department should be turned over to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department? Why or why not?

Roman: I believe the residents of White Lake Twp. have clearly supported keeping Police/ Fire services right here in White Lake Twp. I believe that outsourcing these services would only dilute the quality and take away control.

I strongly support the Police and Fire Department tax renewals.

I oppose the tax increase proposal for the Fire Department as the cash on hand for the Fire Department is in excess of $6 million. A tax increase is not justified.

Patch: What is your vision for White Lake Township, where do you see the township in 10 or even 20 years, and what does the township need to do now to realize that vision?

Roman: My vision for White Lake Township is to keep it a family oriented, financially stable, quiet place to live. In order to do this we need to do 3 things:

  • We need to support our Police and Fire departments.
  • We need to support Huron Valley Schools.
  • We need a long term financial plan (made available to all residents) in the form of a 5 year rolling budget. This budget could be used as a benchmark to measure actual spending efficiency. With metrics then in place, White Lake Township residents would have a tool to measure the effectiveness of our elected officials. Elected officials could then be held accountable.
Gerry S July 20, 2012 at 01:03 PM
I rarely even notice the campaign signs along the road but yours, with the CPA after your name really caught my eye and I couldn't wait to read what you had to say. About a month ago Brooke Tajer ran an ask the candidates article and she chose two of my questions: What are the most important issues affecting the township and What is your vision for the future? As citizens I think it is important that we ask these questions of our leaders. That is what good leaders do. They find a solution to our current problems and have a vision for our future. Your answers to these questions are exactly what I was looking for when I originally posed them. Furthermore, your involvement in the community and dedication to your family are outstanding. It is my hope that the citizens of White Lake will see the obvious benefits of having a licensed CPA hold the office of Treasurer and I wish you the best of luck in the upcoming election..
Laura Vogel July 20, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Excellent, Mike. I look forward to your insight being put to use for the benefit of the citizens. As to the millages, I am curious as to why it was decided to move the police and the fire department's budgets/funding "offline" (for lack of a better word) from the general fund and to special millage funding only. It seemed pretty clear from that last twp meeting that the citizens consider police and fire protection to be the most important thing that their local government can provide to them. If that is the case (and I'm not disagreeing), then why are we asking citizens to pay an additional special tax to fund those essential services? Put another way, why are we allowing services OTHER than police and fire to be funded using general/unrestricted fund dollars, and correspondingly why are we essentially holding police and fire services hostage to the whims of whether millages get renewed/passed/increased/whatever?
Peggy Miller July 20, 2012 at 07:57 PM
We definitely need to consider this unfunded liability when determining whether or not to retain 911 dispatch in White Lake. I do not believe that the 'only $50,000' annually 'savings' quoted to the public took into consideration the retirement benefits of those positions. I like transparency!!
Laura Vogel July 25, 2012 at 12:09 AM
The Center for Michigan had a recent article highlighting this financial "cliff" that many municipalities face falling off over. I appreciate the benefit that a CPA can bring to the role of township Treasurer. see http://bridgemi.com/2012/07/guest-column-unfunded-legacy-costs-big-trouble-for-local-governments
Elmore August 01, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Fire was for years funded out of the general fund, creating a problem with directing monies directly to both the fire and police dept. when tax payers wanted to see where exactly their milages were going....fire to fire, police , library, etc. Most public service depts. are funded with their own separate milages, I learned this thru years of actually attending board meetings and it was a process that started at least 6 years ago as I recall. Seems a lot of folks have a lot of questions they maybe could have know about if they had decided to become informed before they bought campaign signs....
Laura Vogel August 08, 2012 at 11:45 AM
Congrats, Mike!
Steve Coates October 16, 2012 at 02:14 PM
I have ALWAYS found Jay Brendel to put, White Lake first. He has given us many years as a upstanding Trustee, and a good 1-1/2 years as treasurer. I can see no reason to start all over just because a guy has C.P.A. behind his name??? My family and I will be writing-in Jay Brendel for Treasurer, on election day????

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