Council: Walbridge mayor is AWOL too often
Written by DEBBIE ROGERS Sentinel Staff Writer
Saturday, 22 December 2012 09:03
WALBRIDGE - Too many missed meetings means the mayor should step down, some village council members believe.
At Wednesday's meeting, council president Ed Kolanko said the Ohio Revised Code dictates that the mayor should attend three-fifths of the meetings.
His research over the last two years found that Mayor Dan Wilczynski missed more than that, Kolanko said.
"The mayor has not attended 60 percent of the meetings during that time," he said.
Kolanko asked Solicitor Brian Ballenger to take this information under advisement and make an opinion about whether Wilczynski should forfeit office.
Ballenger declined, saying he had a conflict of interest and council would have to allocate $5,000 for a separate legal opinion.
"Obviously, I work for the mayor, for you," he told council. "I will get an outside opinion."
Wilczynski, who was at Wednesday's meeting, said he has been forthcoming about his absences, which are due to work.
"I have been out of town 19 1/2 weeks this year. I told people when I ran it would be 20," the mayor said.
Kolanko said he stood by his research and council's minutes.
The vote to seek the outside legal opinion passed with four votes: Kolanko, Jan Sawaya, Sue Hart-Douglas and Fred Sloyer. Voting against the motion were Pat Fox and Nathan Eikost.
In a later interview, Kolanko said the mayor's absences affect council business. He cited the rushed discussion of the 2013 budget at Wednesday's meeting. Texts and e-mails weren't sufficient to answer all of council's questions.
"It's no mystery I think the mayor should be there more," he said. "We all took an oath of office to follow the laws of Ohio and the Ohio Revised Code. If any of us are not in compliance of those laws, that's what happens."
He said the $5,000 fee for legal advice is unfortunate.
"I wish we didn't have to go down that route. From my perspective, it seems relatively clear what the rules are. But that's our solicitor's advice, and we need to follow what that is," Kolanko said. "At least that kind of puts it to bed, one way or the other."
The mayor has missed meetings this year on Dec. 5, Oct. 17, Sept. 19, July 18, June 6, May 16, May 2, April 18, March 7, Feb. 20, Feb. 15 and Jan. 18. He attended regular council meetings on Wednesday, Nov. 7, Oct. 3, Sept. 5, Aug. 15, Aug. 1, June 20, April 4, March 21, Feb. 1, Jan. 23 and Jan. 4.
Wilczynski has said the village runs just fine without him there and he has a handle on Walbridge business through cell phone calls, e-mail and texts.