by DREW HOWARD
At their latest meeting on Monday, January 8, the Rochester Hills City Council unanimously approved a “large but needed” purchase order that will go toward repair work for the Hamilton Relief Drain Project.
Allan Schneck, director of the Department of Public Services in Rochester Hills, explained to the council that the Hamilton relief drain in Oakland County requires “immediate attention” due to continuous erosion in the area. The council approved a blanket purchase order of $843,046 that will be made to the Oakland County Water Resources Commission.
“It’s a large expense, but it’s definitely needed,” Council Member McCardell said before displaying a photo of the drain site. “You can see all this erosion undercutting the bank, and there’s a structure in the close vicinity – it seems like a very important project to do.”
Mayor Barnett and council members began the meeting with a moment of silence out of respect for Deputy David Hack, who remains in stable but critical condition after being struck by a car outside Rochester Adams High School on January 4.
According to Hack’s wife, Christine Wojcik Hack, the deputy suffered multiple broken bones in his neck, upper back, shoulders, and face and head, as well as a brain injury. She noted in a Facebook post on Tuesday, January 9 that her husband has begun responding to simple commands, and has even “opened his eyes on his own several times.”
“He remains in critical condition this evening at Ascension Crittenton Hospital, and I would encourage the council and those in community to continue keeping Deputy Hack and his family in their prayers,” Mayor Barnett said. “It remains a serious but stable situation.”
Later, Council Member Susan Bowyer gave residents a heads up on a construction project that will replace a bridge located on the Paint Creek Trail between Dutton and Silverbell roads.
Bowyer noted that the entire trail between Dutton and Silverbell roads is expected to be closed from late spring to the end of summer due to ongoing construction. She added that the bridge will be made with weathering steel, and could last up to 100 years.
The meeting took an uncomfortable turn during public comment when one resident addressed Mayor Barnett’s “lewd” and “inappropriate” behavior in a video posted on the city website back in 2012. The video, which has since been deleted, reportedly shows the mayor pretending to perform a “strip tease” in front of female city employees.
The concerned resident said her complaints about the video were not addressed, and that the city needs to do a better job at documenting and handling complaints. She also expressed frustration over a recent video in which Mayor Barnett suggests that Madonna had an affair with Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.
“This concerns me how you document complaints about your employees, or if you just make exceptions for the mayor,” the resident said. “What the mayor does doesn’t just reflect on my business in Rochester Hills, but also my church in Rochester Hills and other houses of worship. He represents our students, seniors and more. We need him and all city employees to adhere to the highest moral standards, and a good start is to take the Madonna video off your website.”
Mayor Barnett disagreed with the resident’s comments.
“I’m proud of my reputation, and as it relates to the particular comments that were made by the woman that spoke here earlier, I certainly don’t agree with them, not in the slightest,” Barnett said. “What I do agree with her in is that the issues being talked about in Hollywood and politics and business offices and around water coolers all around the county are important, because they’re giving a voice to people who didn’t have a voice before.”
Mayor Barnett’s Madonna video, titled “Carpool Karaoke with Madonna,” can be found on the YouTube channel “RochesterHillsTV.”
The Rochester Hills City Council will hold its next meeting on Monday, January 22. You can watch all of the Rochester Hills City Council meetings in full on the YouTube Channel “Council Meetings – City of Rochester Hills.”