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.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS!
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!