Report on 7-11 Lakewood Meeting and an Update

A communication from Lakewood Village President Paul Serwatka:

Reporting on our recent 7-11-17 village board meeting, there are two items that I wanted to call to your attention, along with just a bit more information as to my 7-13 update.

(Update) Termination of Deputy Manager, Andrews

If you received the update that I sent on Thursday 7-13, then you know that Deputy Manager, Shannon Andrews is no longer employed with the Village of Lakewood. I am not currently at liberty to go into detail, but I can now tell you that she was officially terminated, effective 5:00pm on July 13th.

Item 1 – Finance Director

At our 7-11 meeting, the board voted to amend the ordinance pertaining to the selection and hiring/firing of the village Finance Director.

Similar to our recent ordinance amendment pertaining the selection and hiring/firing of our Chief of Police, this ordinance as it existed, allowed for the selection and hiring/firing of the Finance Director to be at the SOLE DISCRETION of the village manager, with no approval required from the village board whatsoever.

This was a cause for concern for myself and other board members, including some from our previous board as well.

We often felt that information being provided to the board was not as objective as it could have/should have been. We felt, at times, as though information was presented with bias and as such that we were being “steered” in a specific direction/to make a specific determination.

I believe that shifting this scope of hiring/firing authority to the board members, as a whole, will serve to help assure that information provided to the board is, in fact, objective and unbiased.

Item 2 – Discussion – Trustee Accountability, Abuse of Tax Dollars

Without going into too much detail at this time, the board addressed an ongoing problem with the public, factual misrepresentations that have been made by appointed trustee, Jason McMahon, as well as the inappropriate and abusive taxpayer funded legal expenses that trustee McMahon has now incurred.

At the forefront of trustee McMahon’s recent factual misrepresentations were the repeated, written, public statements that:

– The dissolution of the Lakewood TIF “will cost EVERY Lakewood home — a 12% INCREASE in our Lakewood property taxes”.

– “Dissolving the TIF will place approximately $220,000 in TIF expenses on Lakewood residents”.

– Paul Serwatka, and the board, are “usurping Illinois statute and village ordinances” and “does NOT have the authority to accept the resignation of our police chief” – “does NOT have the authority to appoint a new police chief”

All of trustee McMahon’s assertions were addressed, at length by deputy manager Andrews, and our village attorney. But, trustee McMahon persisted.


In pursuit of validating his assertions, trustee McMahon went so far as to engage our village attorney to the tune of $800 in taxpayer legal fees and burdened our staff with tens of hours of quite cumbersome research, (before it was called to my attention and I put an end to it) again, alleging that I as President, along with our current board, have “usurped Illinois Municipal Code and village ordinances”, by accepting the resignation of our former Chief of Police and by appointing our new Chief of Police.

Also part of trustee McMahon’s assertions was that our village clerk, Jan Hansen has been serving unlawfully for more than a decade and that our village has been operating under the wrong form of government since 1933.

During our 7-11 discussion, Deputy Manager Andrews and our village attorney, Michael Smoron, clarified – line by line – each of these assertions and were explicitly clear in stating that each of these assertions were, in fact, false.

As a board, we then asked only that trustee McMahon issue a statement correcting his misrepresentations and that he reimburse the village the $800 in legal fees that we believe he inappropriately incurred.

Suffice it to say, trustee McMahon angrily refused both of our requests.

The board will be addressing this issue, formally, at our July 25th village board meeting.

This aside, I can assure you we have been working toward, and making progress on, MANY very positive things and I am most looking forward to sharing them with everyone in the upcoming weeks.


August 6th, Noon – 3:00pm

Turnberry Lakes Club (TLC) is hosting their 2nd Annual Lakeside BBQ

Enjoy some complimentary food, Libations, Kids Fishing Lessons, Boat rides, and see the impressive and ongoing transformation of the Turnberry Lake Shore at 9601 Turnberry Trail (Just across from Turnberry Country Club)

See the link below for complete details!



Report on 7-11 Lakewood Meeting and an Update — 9 Comments

  1. Sometimes your mentors/ backers/ escapees don’t tell you the whole story.

    I’m sure a certain beat cop in Springfield MO would agree.

  2. McMahon is the poster child for why We need a RECALL process in Illinois.

  3. At the end of an otherwise civil Board meeting on June 11, 2017, Paul Serwatka chose to conduct a kangaroo court proceeding during the Board comments.

    This surprise interrogation of our Village Manager, Village Attorney and myself was nothing more than a political stunt.

    With regard to the cost of dissolving the TIF:

    – Paul Serwatka has chosen to paraphrase my words and not use the entire contents of my post for dramatic effect. The original post was subject to discussion during which I conceded the wording could have been more clear and the original Facebook post was amended.

    – I stand by my statement that dissolving the TIF will forgive a $220,000 inter-fund loan from Lakewood’s general fund to the TIF district. While the expense may already have been paid, it is shown as a receivable on our financials. Dissolving the TIF forced Lakewood to write off the loan and eliminates any possibility for repayment.

    With regard to the Police Chief:

    – My statement with regard to usurping authority is a moot point. Based upon Paul Serwatka’s public comments, my understanding was he accepted Chief Rawson’s resignation. This was not true. The resignation letter was handed to and accepted by the Interim Village Manager per our ordinances at the time of resignation. Paul Serwatka attempted to claim credit for political gain.

    – Paul Serwatka has since amended Village ordinances giving him the power to appoint the Chief with the advice and consent of the Board. He also took the power of supervision from the Manager and gave it to himself. This apparently gives him the power to fire the Chief at will. A dangerous power for a resident.

    With regard to Village Attorney costs:

    – Attorney Smoron stated publicly during the June 27, 2017 Board meeting, he would look into the questions I had asked at no charge. It would be shocking to me if he did not honor his word and sent the Village an invoice.

    – My understanding is Village staff was asked to find the original Village charter. It was found framed, hanging on a wall in Village Hall. How did that take “tens of hours of quite cumbersome research”?

    With regard to the Village Clerk:

    – I did not state the Clerk was serving unlawfully. IL municipal code states appointed positions may not serve a term greater than that of the President. However, it also states certain positions cannot be vacated until a suitable replacement is appointed. This is to prevent important positions from becoming vacant. My intent was to understand why they believed the rule applied to the Clerk but not the Village Manager.

  4. Mr. McMahon: Please don’t this personally, but can you spare us your snivelings?

    IMHO, you, sir, are one of the big reasons Lakewood got to be messed up so bad. Let Mr. Serwatka try and undo all the damage you and the ‘special people’ perpetrated!

  5. Doesn’t the Village Attorney represent the entire board?

    If so, whether you agree with a question asked or not, as an attorney he is obligated to provide legal advice (and is entitled to charge for the same).

    It’s a slippery slope you’re on to claim the publicly-funded village attorney works only for (and therefore owes a duty only to) the Village President.

    In an ordinary setting, probably not a huge problem.

    In an environment when the entire form of government is being changed from a manager form of government over to a strong mayoral form it should cause everyone some concern – even those who think the current president is a good guy (he won’t always sit in that seat).

    Strong mayoral forms are simply fiefdoms waiting to be seized.

  6. Patrick in Cary,

    Lakewood’s form of government was not being changed.

    It was being carried on exactly as it had been for the entire history of the village.

    Lakewood is currently, as it always has been, a “President/Trustee” form of government.

    Not “Strong Mayor.”

    And it was never a “Managerial” form.

    The board was simply amending a single ordinance re: hiring the police chief.

    This authority had always been with the board.

    In 2014, it was given to the manager alone.

    This ordinance was amended to return this authority BACK to the ENTIRE board as a whole.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *