The third installment of Lakewood Village Trustee Paul Serwatka’s report on the last Board meeting:
Final Report on October 11 Village Board Meeting
Concluding my report from our October 11, 2016 village board meeting, the third issue I wanted to bring up is as follows:
President Smith Presents Her “Board of Trustees’ Principles”
President Smith had previously sent all trustees a copy of her drafted “Board of Trustees’ Principles,” to be introduced for discussion at this meeting.
[I wanted to attach a copy of these Principles, or copy and paste them here – as I have previously – for you to see, but, in attempting to do so, I surprisingly discovered there have been some new encryption & blocking mechanisms placed on our board packets that no longer allows me to do this! I knew nothing of this prior to this moment. I won’t comment on this yet, but, I will be looking closer into this issue.]
You can, however, view these Board Principles by scrolling to page 126 of the board packet located HERE.
Without spending too much time on these, I wanted to share some excerpts from some of these “principles”, that I highlighted in my copy, along with a few of my thoughts:
Principle 1 – “…. we will prepare diligently for every board meeting…” (I felt this was particularly ironic, following the Consent
Agenda Meeting Minutes incident that had just occurred.)
Principle 2 – “We will strive to maintain the lowest possible tax rate…”
Principle 3 – “We will define a clear vision and strategy…. with input from our residents…”
Principle 6 – “We will welcome and solicit public input and debate…..”
Principle 7 – “We will strive to achieve the highest level of transparency in all matters…”
Principle 8 – “We will rely on our professionally trained Village Clerk to keep an accurate record of meeting minutes and will refrain from distributing other versions of what transpired at meetings…..”
These Principles concluded with an affirmation paragraph for each of the members to sign and agree to uphold:
“We the undersigned agree to uphold these principles to the best of our abilities…..”
Board Member’s Thoughts & Comments
Trustee Santowski essentially stated that he agreed with each of these principles. He felt it was important that we be reminded of these from time to time, that they demonstrated the behavior that we, as trustees, should follow, and that he looked forward to signing his name to them.
My comments were somewhat different. They were essentially as follows:
– I think these principles, in general, sound absolutely wonderful! (*With the exception of #8)
– I believe these are principles that every elected official and every governing body should live and govern by.
– But, I believe that talk is cheap! It’s actions that matter!
– The actions of this board are a direct contradiction to these principles!
– Talking of transparency while intentionally working against it is a lie!
– Talking of accountability while working to escape it is a lie!
– “Good Government” doesn’t come by talk or drafting board principles – It comes by just doing what’s right, by being open and honest!
– Transparency doesn’t come about by drafting these principles. It comes by simply being transparent!
– I believe it’s an insult to the intelligence of the residents of Lakewood, that a board so openly and intentionally defiant to these very principles would be having this public discussion and signing their names to them.
– I believe it belittles residents, that a board that has repeatedly proven, again and again, to knowingly and intentionally act in direct contradiction to their best interests, as well as these very principles, would expect anyone to believe that by signing their names to them, that they intend to govern by them.
With regard to Principle #8, in particular, I commented:
- Anyone who has ever read Meeting Minutes knows they are of NO substantive information whatsoever.
- To assert that a “professionally trained” clerk is automatically objective, impartial, transparent and in no way succumbs to the express orders of those who decide on her employment, once again insults the intelligence of residents.
- I will continue to send my communications to residents and will NOT be signing my name to these Board Principles
Of the board members present, (I neglected to mention, in Parts 1 and 2, that trustees Davis and Furey were absent from this meeting.)
I was the only trustee who did not agree to sign these principles and I WILL continue to send these communications to all of you!
Again, I hope you’ll share this report with other Lakewood neighbors and encourage them to subscribe as well!