This didn’t come until the end of last week’s Lakewood Village Board meeting during Trustee comments.
Rick Ritchie read the following:
Village of Lakewood Trustee request for a Special Session
Concerns of suppression of members of the board by President Paul Serwatka
It is with a great deal of disappointment and concern that I am reading this statement to the board and residents concerning President Paul Serwatka.
During the campaign, the message that was shared with the Tax Fighter team, written in Paul Serwatka’s newsletter and Paul’s Tax Fighter website stated to those reading that this was an election to insure transparency and a board that came with their own mind and opinions to better the community.
Those words did resonate with all of us however, that message never became a reality and there is little to no input, by most board members, that is accepted by President Serwatka which cannot be in the best interest of Lakewood.
A request had been officially made during the report portion of the agenda during the Village of Lakewood board meeting on Oct 24th to add a line item on the agenda for the following meeting slated for Nov 14th to discuss and possibly censure President Paul Serwatka.
The President, when the request was made, can be heard on the audio recording saying “Okay”.
He did not object nor did he poll the other Trustees and ask for their input.
Although President Serwatka did not ask for anyone else’s input, he did state to the NW Herald (easily found on their online paper) that no other Trustee supported the request when it was made.
The actions taken since the election have continued to show President Serwatka attempting to control the board’s decision making and has spent little time managing the Village needs outside of the flood issues.
At that time, a suggestion was made on how to approach the mitigation of the flood and future concerns, this suggestion received no feedback or discussion and certainly is not the only input that received no consideration.
Similar to the vote that was thrust upon us after Shannon Andrews was fired with little to no discussion with most board members, the board was refused the opportunity to review ANY resumes’ or speak to any other candidates other than the one that President Serwatka determined was the correct talent for the position.
There is no justifiable reason for this and is a continuation of his efforts to stifle the board.
There had been requests by at least 3 Trustees to be a part of the screening process for the new administrative head of the Village but none were allowed.
This has become common place and for this reason, along with others that will be discussed when we have the chance to have our voices heard, I am calling for a Special Session to be held at 6:30PM prior to our next meeting on Nov 28th.
The law allows a board or council, when a President or Mayor refuses to allow items to be added to the Agenda, for a Special Session to be called with 3 Trustees voting in favor.
In a Special Session, only the items that are on the agenda can be discussed and the agenda is controlled by the board, not the President.
There will be two items on the agenda for discussion and vote:
The first item is a simple discussion and vote for an ordinance to ensure that no sitting President can keep information from being shared with the community by refusing to allow Trustees the ability to have agenda items added.
If a Trustee asks for an item to be added and there are objections by any board member, it goes to a vote.
A majority vote would then determine whether the item has merit and if a majority vote is received, the item is included on the agenda as requested and the President cannot deny the request.
The second item is to discuss and possibly censure President Paul Serwatka.
Statements that were made by the President to the Herald why this has been brought up seemed to be an attempt to distract and mislead the residents.
The discussion at the next meeting will shed light on the validity of the censure grievances and why it is imperative that President Serwatka modifies behavior if we are to be productive for the Village.
At this time, I ask, by raising of your hand, if you agree that we should call a Special Session and that these two-line items be included in the agenda.
This meeting IS open to the public and I encourage residence here tonight to attend and share with anyone you believe has the same concerns some members of this board have.