By Jessica Mathews /

Issues with the special assessment district process is prompting Green Oak Township to hire new bond counsel and move in a different direction.

The board met virtually Wednesday night and approved the Dejarol and Marcella Road Paving SAD. At the end of the meeting, it was stated that the township has had some difficulties with the SAD process for a while and a variety of issues related to bond counsel. That includes notices going out at improper dates the township has had to resolve and a public hearing that had everyone in attendance but had to be canceled because the notice didn’t go out correctly.

Supervisor Mark St. Charles said he, the clerk and treasurer all work as a committee when it comes to the SADs and didn’t want to blame anyone, but says there have been a lot of issues. The township looked at replacing the bond counsel a year ago but promises of improvement were made – which he says happened for a short amount of time but then slipped back into the same old ways. It was said to have hit a tipping point recently with items related to Wednesday’s approved SAD.

Clerk Michael Sedlak said problems began several years ago when bond counsel decided to sell or merge from longtime firm John Axe & Associates and Axe then working with Clark Hill PLC, which is the township’s current bond counsel firm. Sedlak said they expected some “teething problems” at that time but they’ve only worsened. He noted that public notices were being published without approval and with the wrong information. Sedlak said that with the first public hearing for Dejarol, they had to hand-deliver the Zoom meeting information to residents because it wasn’t in the notice – which creates confusion for residents and a tremendous amount of work on their end.

Sedlak said they worked hard to try and get the message across but it really reached a critical point with for the public hearing just held when it took six tries back and forth to get the information correct - and his deputy still had to spend the better part of three days getting things taken care of.

St. Charles clarified that Axe has been with the township for a long time and this was nothing against him as he holds great respect for him – it’s the lack of staff and administrative support that he gets from the firm. He said he’s had around 35 emails in the last two weeks going back and forth regarding notices, dates, times, publications, etc.

Following the board concurrence, interviews will be taking place with different firms.