Who’s making the rules in Fredonia?
The front page headlines of the July 31 OBSERVER in bold type stated, “Gard goes unfiltered: Village attorney critical of trustees (Roger) Britz, Essek in report.”
At the July 29 board of trustees meeting “village attorney” Dan Gard spoke for just over four minutes telling the public about an incident that happened back in March. Apparently Mr. Gard thinks that it is his job to find ways around the village charter whenever the mayor wants to do something without the board of trustees approval. The street department supervisor found a vehicle he thought he had to have immediately. So rather than tell him to go back to the dealership and ask him if he could hold the vehicle for a few days until the board could act on the purchase, Mr. Gard said go ahead and write the check and ratify the decision at the next board meeting.
The village treasurer wrote the check for $9,300 and one of the trustees OK’d that decision. If the board of trustees decided at the next board meeting they did not want to spend that money at that time and rejected the resolution, who would be responsible for recovering that money for the unauthorized purchase?
One trustee, the “village attorney,” the treasurer and the mayor have no legal right to spend $9,000 that belong to the taxpayers without the board’s approval.
If that was the case any one trustee could authorize any purchase as long as the mayor, treasurer and “village attorney” were willing to go along with the purchase. There would be no need to bring up any purchase to the board ever until after the purchase has been made.
Mr. Gard goes on to tell everyone of his superior intellect and scolds Doug Essek for daring to question the “village attorney’s” wisdom concerning civil service law.
Mr. Gard, your job as village attorney is to give the Village Board and the mayor legal advice to make sure that they follow the laws of the nation, state, county and village. We have a village charter that specifies who can spend taxpayers’ money and to say that we had to buy this vehicle right now or lose it does not justify finding a way around the law.
Mr Gard has overstepped his authority on several occasions since being appointed “village attorney” because this mayor wants to do things her way on her schedule by her rules. Maybe because the elections are coming and Mr. Gard, “the mayor’s attorney and watch dog,” doesn’t want the people to know the truth about the way she runs the village with an iron fist. She has managed to replace the former village attorney, two street superintendents with her people and she has managed to get rid of the village administrator entirely so she could take over his job and take control over the village.
She has determined punishment for village employees when she has no authority to do so and every time someone questions her authority, one of her guard dogs, that sit on either side of her at board meetings, come to her defense.
Mr. Gard, you are supposed to be the village attorney, not the mayor’s personal attorney. It is not your job to argue with or to try to show up village trustees at public meetings. Mr. Gard seems to take pleasure arguing with trustees at workshops and board meetings because he knows that his education as an attorney gives him an advantage when it comes to arguing points of law. It is time for Mr. Gard to start acting like a village attorney and stop defending the mayor’s illegal activities.
Dale Ricker is a Fredonia resident and candidate for village trustee.