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Trustee’s comments stir ire in Fredonia

Comments made in a recent OBSERVER article by Fredonia Trustee Roger Britz were met with sharp responses by Mayor Doug Essek and Trustee James Lynden at Monday’s Board of Trustees meeting.

“The quote that the village is down a mayor is incorrect,” Essek began. “I’ve been able to conduct business, do many of my duties remote. I was not able to attend the Dec. 14 meeting due to COVID and double pneumonia. However, I was watching the YouTube video and responding to many of the issues with the department heads and personnel during my quarantine time.”

Essek took a moment to thank Lynden for running the meeting and then stated that the Dec. 28, meeting was canceled due to lack of quorum. “I want to make it clear to the board and village residents that I was able to communicate to our residents, department heads, trustees and many of my constituents every day except the day of my surgery as a result of my heart attack,” Essek said. “I spoke to many of them while in the hospital and since. The village hall is just a building — with technology we’ve been able to move to a more technologically way of doing business. Thankfully I’ve been able to use these advances during my sickness and recovery to stay on top of business of our village, stay in touch with those whom I need to.”

According to Essek, he has visited village hall during past weeks if needed physically to be there. “I can assure you the statement that the trustees run the village and the mayor is really nothing more than a figurehead is incorrect,” Essek noted. “Decision making is done by the trustees when presented resolutions to discuss and pass. The village is run each day by a team of dedicated employees, department heads, trustees and yes the mayor who work together to get the business completed.”

Lynden echoed many of the same sentiments put forth by the mayor.

“This article is inaccurate and misleading and contains demeaning remarks,” Lynden said. “Individually, the Board of Trustee members cannot direct any department. The committees the trustees are assigned are for the purpose of collecting and sharing information with the board. Without two of the five trustees and no legal guidance and with the notice of the possibility of the executive officer, the mayor out of commission at the time, we were not necessarily managing OK.”

According to Lynden, on Dec. 19 all of the trustees received legal documentation that determined the vote to appoint Heidi Powell as trustee was invalid.

“The majority of the board vote is three of the five board members. The vacancies still count toward the total,” Lynden said. “This information was received well before and contrary to Britz’s article of Jan. 9, that was misleading and confusing to the public. Mr. Britz, you were describing yourself as the trustee, the ‘he’ that doesn’t know their role, you were directing your comments of insult to me. The context of your comments was demeaning considering the length of service to the village that I have committed my time.

See FREDONIA, Page A5

“You claimed that we don’t have a lot of pressing issues, that is not at all the case, we have many issues to address. We need to move forward attending to our duties with transparency and accuracy.”

At this time the board is still down two trustees and legal counsel. The other trustee is EvaDawn Bashaw.

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