LAKEWOOD, IL. (ECWd) -
It appears, from two recent letters written by Lakewood, IL. Village President Paul Serwatka, that he is usurping the powers, rights, and responsibilities of a couple of village trustees by attempting to remove them from office. Hopefully, the village's attorney will inform the village president that he cannot do this.
Their next village board meeting is Tuesday, June 12, 2018.
Trustees Jason McMahon and Patrick Rexroat were both appointed to vacant Trustee seats, and for the remainder of those vacated terms of office.
There is no provision in the Illinois Municipal Code for removing an elected (or appointed to an elected office) village trustee - and especially by village presidential proclamation. We assume the Village Police Department is not going to assist this village president in these civil rights violations.
A vacancy can only occur under the same conditions as an elected Trustee:
- death or disability (Village Board declares the vacancy)
- abandonment or other cause (Village Board declares the vacancy)
- guilty of disqualifying criminal offense (Plea agreement or finding of guilty by a Court)
- election declared void (by a competent tribunal)
- owing of a debt to the municipality (after a lengthy written timeline and process)
It is our understanding, Village President Paul Serwatka is moving out of the village, and this is the only way for him to back-door the appointment of his chosen replacement - by getting rid of enough dissenting trustees...
We attempted to talk to Village President Serwatka, but he did not answer his phone and did not return our call at press time. Serwatka is a member of the "Lakewood Tax-fighter and Better Government Project."
We suggest Trustees McMahon and Rexroat attend the next meeting and take their usual and rightful seats at the village board meeting as they have in the past.
Last December, the Village of Lakewood Trustees censured Serwatka (read it here), but much like this lack of authority for removing village trustees, those same trustees lacked any authority for censure. Censure is left to the voters.
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