Instead of watching last night’s swan song of the Phil Stephan-controlled Lakewood Village Board meeting, my wife and I continued watching a fourteen season Canadian series called “Heartland.”
It’s full of horses and while one episode we saw last night did have an Indian shooting his gun to scare away wild horses he thought might infect his ranch’s “cutters,” that may have been calmer than the Village Board meeting.
This is the budget meeting, I believe (lots of dead time at the beginning):
Here is the Board meeting, I think (lots of dead time at the beginning):
Here’s what one resident saw and heard:
In a last-minute attempt to recover some ground, both in terms of reputation and due process, the board held a one hour budget workshop just prior to the Final board meeting.
According to the meeting notification, the workshop was to be open to the public for participation.
However, during the meeting, participation was blocked.
This is disconcerting considering that there were multiple mistakes.
Furthermore, the treasurer was not even present at the meeting.
During the ensuing board meeting, the president and board’s total loss of control over process was evident.
A number of residents during public comments voiced disdain for the conduct of the board and the vile natured response by certain board members (namely Ryan Berman and Doug Urlich) to the residents who have voiced their concerns and wanted answers to questions.
The attitude seemed more like retribution for the decisive electoral sweep that occurred earlier in the month.
Multiple residents were cut off and muted during public comments, prompting others to yield time to those that were silenced.
Public comments were kicked off by Michelle Hartwig, President Phil Stephan‘s next-door neighbor, who demanded that the board investigate the behavior of the president, namely threats he made to her daughter to chief Todd Richardson with a baseball bat.
She expressed concern for Stephan threatening to shoot her dog with his gun, and the use of the N-word towards her daughter when music was being played loudly.
Unsurprisingly, Stephan denied all of it, noting that the source of the information was a police officer that was placed in the Brady list (a lie).
Other residents pointed out concern and distrust over the way the board operates, particularly with respect to hiding information, destroying documents, lying to the public and falsely accusing residents and staff of crimes on nearly 100 instances without any evidence.
Not one public comment participant voiced support or even a neutral position during the entire 30 minute flurry.
Commenter Joseph wrote,
The circus is finally leaving town. Unfortunately the ulrich berman sideshow remains.
Their behavior as elected officials, last evening, was beyond atrocious.
It was an embarrassment.
They do not have the best interest of the village.
How they acted was completely unacceptable.
But of course, Pam, Brian, and David cowardly stayed silent.
Phil and the board, again, showed their true colors.
Commenter “You can’t handle the truth” wrote,
Wow last night Zoom meeting.
It really showed the true colors of Phil.
The lies he spewed.
Couldn’t just be man enough to own it. ( I guess he has short term memory. )
At this point going forward we already see that the old board (Doug and Ryan) will be disrespectful, and just down right confrontational.as usual.
Way to go Trisha for standing up and sweeping the trash out..
You and and next new three are exactly what this Village needs. T
The residents saw that and that’s why the former ones are OUT..
next year the others will be following suit..
this Village has had enough of the old board..
Doug, and Ryan enjoy this last year.
Next year you will definitely be Gone… like a
Commenter “The Johnsburger” wrote,
Phil Stephan should be tarred and feathered.
Derek LEE, too,
“Algonquin Resident” wrote,
After a year of hiding from residents and blocking resident comments and feedback, Phil Stephan ends his short-lived office in hiding with his tail between his legs.
At least he was consistent.
Consistently shameful but consistent none the less.
“Jack be nimble” added,
The board should not be forced to be around strangers and the attendees should not be forced to be around each other.
Not that big of a deal.
Always a conspiracy.
If you listened to the meeting, add your observations in the comment section, please.