Mr. John Tuinstra should resign from the Dorr Township Board before he costs every citizen of Dorr Township a good bit of money.
Let’s talk about the actions of elected officials and the impact they have on us all. When a person is elected to office they become our agent, our representative; we become obligated to pay for their infractions of civil tort laws if broken in the name of the people.
Mr. Tuinstra, a trustee on the Dorr Township Board, illegally recorded three members of the Dorr Township Planning Commission and at least three private citizens using a clandestine recording device. He did this acting in the name of the people of the township. Tuinstra has admitted to the unlawful act, dismissing it as a mere oversight.
The citizens of Dorr are on the hook for damages if a civil suit arises from Mr. Tuinstra’s illegal actions. Court costs and damages could be in the tens of thousands of dollars that Dorr Township just doesn’t have to waste. It’s incredibly childish to open every taxpayer in Dorr to liability for illegal actions.
Mr. Tuinstra, who listed his superior educational accomplishments in correspondence to the Planning Commission, wishes the people of Dorr Township to accept that he is just too irresponsible to remember he was recording a group of citizens after a meeting was over and he had departed the building. The recording device was placed in an area that it took an unusually tall person, six feet three, to notice, and then only when coming from a side door not normally used during meetings.
Past conflicts in the township will lead anyone to suspect Tuinstra was attempting to prove that a violation of the Michigan Open Meeting Act was occurring after the Planning Commission meeting was adjourned. Trustee Terri Rios, a confederate of Mr. Tuinstra, has attempted on a number of occasions to remove Bob Wagner, sitting chairperson of the Dorr Township Planning Commission. This unlawful wiretapping action appears to be an ill-advised and unlawful extension of that effort.
Members of the Dorr Township Board are out of control, and at least the two trustees involved in this outrageous violation of the constitutional rights of the citizens of Dorr Township must resign. The actions of the two trustees named in this unlawful act will cost us all; you as a taxpayer in Dorr will be required to pay for their violation of your rights — how fair is that?
The investigative time line in this case leads us to conclude the guilt of Mr. Tuinstra:
A. A complaint is made by Trustee Rios, brand new Planning Commission member, stating the very successful Planning Commission chairperson for more than 40 years is (in her opinion) incompetent.
B. An effort is made to charge the Planning Commission for a violation of the Open Meetings Act.
C. A vote by six of the seven members of the Township Board to remove the Planning Commission chairperson is taken, resulting in a tie.
D. An emotional public plea from Trustee Rios to remove the Planning Commission chairman is presented.
E. A second vote is taken and the chairman of the Planning Commission is reappointed 4-3, resulting in harsh words to be passed between the Dorr Board factions.
F. Private citizens just like you and three members of the Planning Commission are illegally taped by Tuinstra, an ally of Trustee Rios, in an apparent attempt to persecute the Planning Commission.
G. Tuinstra states he did nothing wrong, but admits to planting the tape recorder, and says victims of his illegal taping and those angry that he illegally taped them, “they need to be big enough to get over it.”
Washington is not the only swamp that must be drained. Demand their resignations or open your wallet to pay your hard-earned money for their arrogance. Any of the six illegally recorded victims can file for damages or file criminal charges.
Violating the Fourth Amendment rights of citizens is the most dangerous of all. No one, even elected officials, are above the law.
The good citizens of Dorr should attend the next Township Board meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30, and demand Tuinstra resign. We in Dorr are mad as hell and we are not going to take it any more.