Lakewood Village President Paul Serwatka continues to be one of the few elected officials willing to give his take on his government’s activities over the internet.
His latest missive is below:
Bringing you up-to-date on recent activities of our village & village board – there are 4 items I want to call to your attention.
Lakewood Text Sign-Up
1 – A Reminder – One of the many new & improved services we are implementing in our village – the Lakewood Police Dept. has recently started a new program called “TextCaster.” TextCaster provides effective day-to-day information about public safety, traffic issues, community events, and emergency communication to Lakewood residents.
A number of residents have already signed up for these text reports and have found them to be quite useful. Most recently this was used to alert residents that garbage pick-up would be delayed until Saturday, due to the snow.
It’s a FREE service. It takes about 30 seconds to sign-up and you can sign-up by simply clicking on here..
RECOGNIZING VILLAGE CLERK – JAN HANSEN
2 – I have spoken quite a bit about performance based compensation of employees vs. the typical past practice of annual 3% raises for everyone regardless of performance, as well as big (usually secret) bonuses that had been typically awarded to upper management every year, also regardless of performance.
In January, I recommended that our board recognize the “above and beyond” work and attitude of our Village Clerk, Jan Hansen.
In July of last year, throughout our flood crisis, Jan stepped up, taking on additional roles, working evenings & weekends alongside me, to help facilitate all of the efforts from responding to resident needs, to helping coordinate with FEMA, the Red Cross and others, to deploying Port-O-Potties, Semi-Tankers, and on and on…
Subsequently, after the departure of our former Chief Administrative Officer, Jan again stepped up and worked many additional hours, evenings and weekends with me, in a myriad of capacities, to keep things running in the village for the 2 and-a-half month interim, before welcoming our new CAO, Jeannine Smith.
I simply could not have made it through this time without the efforts of Jan Hansen.
In acknowledgement of Jan’s stepping-up & going “above and beyond” on behalf of our entire village, the board supported my recommendation, and PUBLICLY, in an open meeting, moved to award Jan a $5000 performance bonus. Jan has been our village clerk for approximately 18 years and this is the first time she has ever been recognized for her efforts.
Surplus Police Cars
3 – A Stark Contrast in Administrative Practices – I’ve had a number of residents inquire as to the number of Police Squad Cars our village owns. I had discussed this awhile back with our Chief of Police, Mike Roth, who assured me this was among many things on his list of items to be addressed.
At our last village board meeting, Chief Roth recommended the sale of two surplus police squad cars – to be sold at public auction, based on the Kelly Blue Book value for the vehicles for their age, condition and mileage. Chief Roth’s recommendation was supported by the board and the vehicles will be sold at public auction.
I believe it is worth noting the stark contrast in the protocol followed here as compared to the past practices of our former manager and administration. In one notable example of past practice from last year, under our previous manager and administration, that has since come to light – A police squad car less than 5 years old, with only approximately 40,000 miles, was (arguably prematurely) replaced with the purchase of a new squad car.
As we later learned, this village owned squad car was sold – not at auction – but, to a private party. It sold for $5000 and while it was not sold at public auction, it was purportedly an “arms length” transaction. We later learned that the Kelley Blue Book value for this vehicle was approximately $14,000. Add to this – after this purported “arms-length” sale to this private party, this squad car subsequently came to be owned by the individual who was, at that time, our village Finance Director.
None of the parties involved in this transaction remain employed by our village and I am confident that these types of activities will no longer occur under this administration.
COMING SOON: THE HAWKS NEST PUB & EATERY
4 – This item really warrants two headings:
1 – REVIVING REDTAIL
2 – HAWK’S NEST PUB & EATERY – COMING SOON.
1 – Reviving Redtail – In January, the board (minus one trustee) approved the renovation of Redtail Golf Club. (Trustee Rich Ritchie, the sole opposition of this much needed renovation, has vied for building a brand new Golf Club & Police Station on Redtail property, since being elected to the board in May 2017.)
Besides drastic imporvement to the obvious “drab” aesthetics and deferred maintenance of Redtail’s clubhouse, this interior and exterior renovation will cure; non-operational and leaking windows, deteriorated/rotted and leaking siding, faulty gutter/downspouts, non-operational HVAC systems, broken plumbing and bathroom fixtures, damaged & non-operational electric, as well as a number of building and health code violations within the clubhouse.
In truth, much of this work is many, many years overdue, and is a clear indication of substantial neglect as well as a lack of “pride of ownership”. Whatever the reason, it is blatantly obvious that the success and vitality of Redtail was NOT a priority for our past administration!
The Reviving Redtail Renovation, as well as the coming Hawk’s Nest Pub & Eatery is being spearheaded by trustee Phil Stephan with my full support and occasional assistance. IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE that this entire project will be funded with funds generated entirely by Redtail operations, to be used for Redtail purposes!
No property tax dollars or other monies from our General Fund are being used for this essential renovation.
2 – Hawk’s Nest Pub & Eatery – Coming Soon! – Mark your calendars for this April 8th – Noon to 4:00 and come join us for the Grand Opening of our new Hawk’s Nest Pub & Eatery! (You will be notified again, You can be sure!)
The Hawk’s Nest will be a brand new, family friendly Pub & Restaurant, Featuring: All New (limited) Menu Selections, New Beverage Selections (alcohol and non-alcohol), New Service-Oriented Management and Equipment, and an All New Customer-Oriented Approach to Business.
As with the transformation of the rest of our village administration – The Transformation of Redtail and the introduction of The Hawk’s Nest Pub & Eatery promises the end of “Business as Usual” at Redtail and marks the beginning of the Redtail Revival.
The success of this renovation, the restructuring of golf club management & staff, and the coming new Hawk’s Nest Pub, promise the generation of revenues never before achieved from Redtail – the ultimate goal being the ability to allocate a portion of these revenues to our General Fund and offset a portion of what would otherwise be property taxes paid by residents.
I promise to to provide updates as we move forward. In the meantime, I hope you will share this newsletter with other Lakewood neighbors and help spread the word of our efforts..