Well, it’s really a village, the Village of Lakewood,
At the meeting of the Lakewood Village Board scheduled for May 26th, the agenda calls for another censure of Trustee Bryan Younge.
This time it is for an email he says his son managed to send announcing a meeting a week before the email was sent.
After receiving the email Trustee Ryan Berman replied,
This is not permitted per the open meetings act. Please remove me from this distribution.
Younge explained, “Sorry guys, my kid accidentally sent this. You can ignore.”
Make sure you include most recent. See below. It points out:
- It was an accident
- I direct everyone to immediately ignore
- Sent by my child
- Called for a meeting that was a full week in the past
Here is information about how to view/participate in the meeting through written public comment. At the last meeting, spoken comments were taken.
(I tried to copy and paste the information so you could just click on it, but, unlike last week, the information, including the lengthy Zoom sign-in information is locked this week, so you’ll have to copy it down and type the gazillion letters and numbers yourself to view the meeting.)
This locking of the agenda so linking to the meeting could, of course, be a mistake. If it is, and access is desired similar to last week, then when you go to the Village website or click here, you should be able to copy and paste the long access code to Zoom sometime after people get to work on Tuesday.
One other thought comes to mind.
One hundred people signed in for the last meeting. A commenter suggested that might be the upper limit for a free use of Zoom.
When I linked to my article about last week’s meeting to censure Younge, and referred to Trustee Jason McMahon’s censure, he rightly commented that I should have also linked to the censure of Village President Paul Serwatka. So here are links to both actions.
- Rick Ritchie Calls for Censure of Lakewood Village President Paul Serwatka
- Lakewood’s Serwatka Censured by 5-1 Vote, 10% Tax Levy Cut Consideration Postponed Until Monday
And, while we’re talking censure, here is the statement that Bryan Younge was not allowed to make during or after last week’s meeting:
First of all, I want to welcome all of our residents and visitors who have taken time out of their evenings to join this zoom call.
I realize there are many issues that the village staff and officers need to address…flooding, roads, taxes, COVID, parks and recreation, repairs, safety issues…
There is so much to get done in so little time and a very tight budget.
We are all experiencing an unusual amount of angst, uncertainty and in some cases, loss of health or even life.
We miss our families, our friends, our normal way of life.
There is so very little time and space in any of our lives to add more stress or things to do or things to worry about.
I myself have four young kids, the youngest of whom is fighting leukemia and is off to the hospital the day after tomorrow for a blood draw in a critical point in his treatment.
I work in the hospitality industry which has been completely flipped upside down and I lead a team across the country who look to me for encouragement and signs of stability Or any words that will help them sleep at night.
I don’t have time for extra hobbies, but I have somehow made time in my life to be part of this community and try to make things a little better than they were yesterday.
Much of my family is actually on the call now, and they too are curious about the drama that has been heating up lately.
They are worried that my involvement will sour relationships that we already have and expose our family and our name to all sorts of misinformation.
But the matter at hand is bigger than any of us.
This all started when I was asked to look into a simple altercation between two of our staff and one interview led to another interview which led to 27.
During these interviews and with all of the documents that I have collected it is clear that we have a serious issue to deal with at Village Hall.
I don’t have any animosity towards anybody and I don’t have an agenda.
I’m only doing what I am doing to help.
I’m not doing it for power or fame or to be a hero or to be part of some petulant pissing match.
There’s no money in it.
I have no future political aspirations of any kind.
Believe me, I wish none of this was going on.
It has created a strain inside my own family and I personally have lost a lot of sleep worrying about the things that are going on that which I’m hoping to help get resolved, or at least improved.
None of this is about me.
It is about the treatment of our staff and making things right by them. Making things right by the police that protect us.
Figuring out a way to re-cultivate the work environment and make changes so that Village Hall is a place where people are excited to get up in the morning and go to work.
A place where the best ideas are formulated and a place where residents can go to and have an enjoyable conversation with the people who live there.
Right now, the staff is struggling to keep smiles on their faces.
They are doing their best to serve us and also to get by.
None that I’m aware of received a cost-of-living increase in pay.
At the very least they deserve dignity, respect, and a feeling of safe haven.
They don’t need to feel they have to cower inside of the police quarters in fear of physical safety.
They don’t need to undergo constant verbal abuse.
They don’t need to see affliction or acts of assault or be demeaned and lied to time and time again.
They deserve so much more than that.
Phil appointed me to this position A little less than a year ago, my intent from the very beginning Was to help make the community better.
As a trustee I have a responsibility to our residents but equally as important to the employees.
Right now the trustees are their only voices.
As a board we have failed them over the past few years, and over the past three weeks I’ve come to the realization that we as a board have a calling beyond simply yaying or naying an ordinance here or an expenditure there.
It’s about our people, and as I’ve gotten to know them over the past couple of weeks (I wish it were under different circumstances) they are such an amazing group.
I just love them all and If there’s one good thing that comes from all of this I know we will be friends for life.
To see the way they have been treated and the added stress and frustrations they are going through in day-to-day life even before the coronavirus started is simply heartbreaking.
I can’t get into the details of the investigation but I can say the conduct that I am learning are being carried out by certain people within our community is abhorrent.
Yes, I did direct Phil and Jeanine to follow protocol and go through dispatch involving police matters rather than texting them into harms way.
Yes I did follow village council to the T and get board approval to temporarily revoke Jeanine‘s access to her computer (we actually never got that far) because she has been known to destroy documents.
And yes, I have been speaking with staff and the village attorney during the course of this investigation Which I was asked to do by our village president.
If I am to be censured for those things, I will gladly accept it.
And I would most definitely do it again.
But note I am simply acting in the best interests of this community and I’m just hoping that at the end of all of this, I will have made some sort of difference for the positive, no matter how many times somebody tries to stop me.
Look, we are dealing with i’ll sorts of crap right now.
Flooding has everybody on high alert.
That’s a lot of work and a lot of stress, many of us well be up through the night dealing with these matters.
But these matters can’t be dealt with effectively if we are to rely on a village staff that is resentful of their jobs, or us.
There’s so much hard work in front of us… I know I would be hard-pressed to put in one minute of extra work for a group or class that has no respect for me as a person.
The staff and residents deserve leadership that is inspiring.
That brings out the very best in people.
A leadership that doesn’t discriminate based on sex, discriminate based on race, discriminate based on mental health.
Leadership that doesn’t bully or hold secret meetings on how to slant the rules.
We need leadership that unlocks talent, draws out the very best in people and motivates them to step up in times of crisis like right this very minute.
We deserve leadership who are honest, care for our law enforcement personnel who protect us with their own lives. Who don’t steer resources for personal benefit.
Who don’t sneak around the rules and break the law.
We can’t have trustees summarily threatening the livelihood of employees.
We can’t have leadership baiting people into fistfights.
The things that are going on right now are simply mortifying and yes, we will get to the bottom of it.
In our employee handbook we have 25 fair and clear work rules, violating any one of which are grounds for immediate termination.
We are dealing with an issue where more than half of those rules have been broken by one individual alone. [Emphasis added.]
If the status quo with these things Is acceptable to our residents, then I’m not the right trustee.
I get the sense from the people that I have gotten to know and know well in the village that the measures we are looking into can in no way be tolerated.
I can’t be associated with discrimination of any kind.
I can’t be associated with a group that cultivates or even condones a hostile work environment.
I can’t be associated with a group that neglects our police, giving them the equipment and the tools they need to protect our lives.
I wouldn’t tolerate any of this as a trustee or a resident.
There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes at Village Hall that we shouldn’t be dealing with even for one minute.
But sadly, we are.
At a point the public will know and understand all the underlying issues and what is being done to deal with them.
I really do hope that the board steps up and does the right thing, even if it means some sacrifice in the near term.
I’m certain we will get through it, even though the timing for it all could not have been worse.
While I am tempted to sling adjectives over what this censorship agenda is actually about, I will limit it to one word: obstruction.
I am new to politics and I honestly don’t know what being censored means or if that I even care, because all of this boils down to an investigation and some serious matters that is still ongoing and is making everybody incredibly nervous.
If anything I’m glad to know that I am drawing fire away from our village staff for the time being as they truly are on edge and are desperately hoping for change for the better.
I’m hoping our staff isn’t silenced.
Now or ever.
I hope our residents stand up and be aware of the culture that cancers this village and demands that it be healed.
And not a month from now, not a week from now, but now.
As for the staff, me personally… I don’t plan on letting them down anytime soon.