Walbridge council not happy with absent mayor
Written by DEBBIE ROGERS Sentinel Staff Writer
Thursday, 07 June 2012 10:31
WALBRIDGE - The mayor's chair was empty again at Wednesday's council meeting.
Dan Wilczynski, who was criticized during the re-election process last year for missing too many meetings, missed his ninth council meeting this year.
According to minutes kept on the village website, Wilczynski has missed nine council meetings, some special, this year. He missed Wednesday, May 16, May 10, May 2, April 18, March 7, Feb. 20, Feb. 15 and Jan. 18.
He attended meetings on April 4, March 21, Feb. 1, Jan. 23 and Jan. 4.
Wilczynski, reached by phone on Wednesday night, said the village is running just fine without him there and he has a handle on Walbridge business.
"It's real simple. With technology today, cell phone and e-mail and texts, I'm in almost constant communication," he said. "We probably talk once every-other day on whatever issues need to be discussed."
Most of council is disgruntled with his absenteeism.
A motion to excuse the mayor when he is gone - a routine housekeeping item that means nothing officially - is always voted down by council members Sue Hart-Douglas, Jan Sawaya and Fred Sloyer.
Sloyer said the mayor's seat should be Wilczynski's priority.
"This is his job," he said after Wednesday's council meeting. "That's the reason I vote 'no excuse.'"
Council President Ed Kolanko is acting mayor when Wilczynski isn't there, and runs the council meetings.
"I think it's more beneficial for the village if the mayor was here more," he said. "It's a difficult situation."
Hart-Douglas, after Wednesday's meeting, said she recently saw the Pemberville mayor at a Wood County Park District grant informational meeting.
"The mayor here, I haven't seen since March," she said, adding that the two do regularly text message each other. "He campaigned to be here. As a resident I feel short-changed."
But Wilczynski said he didn't deceive anyone about his work responsibilities when he was up for re-election.
"When I ran for the election last November I was very honest with people - my new job is going to keep me out of town about 20 weeks a year," he said.
Wilczynski expects his work will slow down the second half of the year and he will be in town more.
"The meetings, the council meetings, are such a small, small part of the job of running the village. It's not really as important as some people might portray it to be," he said.
Wilczynski estimated that he puts in an average of 60 hours a month on the mayor's job.
He also addressed his absenteeism at a forum before the November election.
With his former engineering business, Wilczynski missed about half of the council meetings, which are held twice a month. He's since gone to work as a safety and operations risk auditor for BP that he did say would call him away from town 20 weeks a year.
Wilczynski added that he donated his $7,200 annual salary back to the village in 2010.
"I think things are actually running well in the village. I think that's because we have the right team in place," he said Wednesday.