2012-04-28 / Editorials & Letters

Mayor, council president called ‘bullies’

Editor:

After listening to the tape of the April 23 Buckeye Lake Village Council meeting, the quick summary is: the mayor and the council president are both bullies and our water rates are too high! I recommend that residents take whatever action is necessary to get our water rates reduced.

The two bullies conspired to force a vote on the council floor on an issue that was still under consideration in the Finance Committee. The issue is the newly proposed $45,000 water supervisor position. Finance Chair Kaye Hartman strongly objected, but President Hayden announced that Mayor Baker had made a decision. She asked him what he wanted to do. Baker instructed, “You’re going to HAVE to vote on it,” he told council. “Quit draggin’ your feet on everything all the time.”

After Hartman protested, Baker stated, “I’m getting tired of messin’ with this thing. You guys have been kickin it back and forth to committee all over the place. Let’s vote on it and get it out of here!”

Hartman stated, “I’d like for it to go on record that I don’t think this is a legal vote. According to Roberts Rules of Order, when something is referred back to a committee, that committee works on it and then it gets passed out of committee to the floor of council not just because the council president or mayor wants it…There’s a procedure that we’re supposed to go through and I do not think that we went through the proper procedure. For that reason, I don’t feel it should be voted on. It was not handled properly clear up to just now. You’ve handled the whole thing, in my opinion, wrong. And I just want that to be on the record. I think according to Robert Rules of Order, we were out of order and even if the vote goes through tonight, I would say it’s not valid…I think it’s just bullying something through that you want done.”

Baker responded by saying, “The chair has a lot of power up here to determine how the rules are determined. You had every opportunity to hold a finance committee – you’ve had two weeks. In my opinion you waited too long. Don’t ever say we did something illegal.” Council member Peterson responded, “No, Rick, WE’RE the council!”

Hartman said the Finance Committee had plans to work on a compromise with step in- creases for the position. Her committee also wanted to review every village employees’s salary. Hartman complained that forcing the legislation back to council prematurely does a disservice to the legislative process and to the village.

Hartman said, I’m truly sorry the way things went tonight and they’ve done some public relations damage to the village and a disservice to employees and this could cause a rift between council members and administration and I’m sorry for that. And as you can see as evidence of the other issues that came before council tonight, we just stagnated… we just stopped and that could just be an indication of what’s left to come. Up until now we’ve had a very cooperative and good working relationship between council and the administration but obviously tonight showed you that that’s not happening right now.

I would hope that that would not happened but it did. I don’t know what (difference) two weeks would have made and maybe the damage that’s been done… I’m sorry but I do not think it was handled properly.”

At the end of the meeting, Hartman made a good point in contrasting the statement of the mayor and the Village Fiscal Officer Vince Popo. She said the mayor thinks we’ve drug our feet and not done service to this issue, but the fiscal officer who was one of the authors of the $45,000 proposal said it was only a starting point of discussion and he has no idea how it got to the floor of council so quickly.

Last week, Baker sternly warned council members during a committee meeting that he would not tolerate the legislative branch interfering with his administrative duties. How interesting that he made that comment last week but this week he thinks nothing of bullying and interfering with legislative (council) authority. For some reason, the major is awfully anxious to get this done. But Hartman wanted to make sure it was handled properly. If the village has so much money in the water fund to spend so recklessly, we are obviously paying too much for our water. Let’s get the rates down to more reasonable levels and let residents decide how to spend it.

Peggy Wells
Buckeye Lake

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