For the second time in two months members of Walbridge Village Council have not excused the absence of Mayor Dan Wilczynski from their meetings.
A motion to excuse the mayor, who was out of town on a business trip, from Wednesday’s meeting didn’t pass as it drew the support of only 3 councilmembers and was opposed by 3 members.
Voting to excuse the absence were Nathan Eikost, Pat Fox, and Ed Kolanko, council president. Fred Sloyer, Sue Hart-Douglas, and Jan Sawaya voted to not excuse.
Last month, Sloyer, Sawaya, and Kolanko voted to not excuse the mayor for missing the Feb. 15 council meeting. Fox and Eikost voted to excuse him.
Mayor Wilczynski’s private sector job and travel requirements have become more of an issue in this Wood County village of late in part due to the recent hiring and abrupt resignation of an administrator – a position responsible for overseeing village operations such as the street department.
Except for Ken Gilsdorf, who was hired recently for the position but abruptly resigned after less than two months on the job, the village has been without an administrator for well over a year.
Kolanko, who assumes the responsibilities of acting mayor during the mayor’s absences, said after the Feb. 15 meeting he was frustrated with the mayor not informing him of his business travel and when the mayor will miss meetings.
Explaining his vote Wednesday to excuse the mayor, Kolanko said the mayor did inform him he’d be out of town and miss last week’s meeting.
“In this instance he did provide that to me,” Kolanko said.
Mayor Wilczynski during a candidate forum last October conceded his job took him out of town often and he missed on average one council meeting a month. But he said a new job would require less travel.
Some residents have attributed the vacancy of an administrator to problems with street repairs and related maintenance.
There could also be legal ramifications.
Cecil Adkins, a resident and former member of council, read a letter from the office of the Ohio Attorney General, which he contacted about the vacant position.
Kevin McIver, chief-opinions section, writes that an administrator must be appointed once the position has been created.
“Section 735.271 (of the Ohio Revised Code) makes the appointment of a village administrator mandatory, once that position is established. There is no exception to this requirement, unless the village legislative authority abolishes the position of village administrator. A court proceeding could be instituted against a mayor and village legislative authority that fail to carry out their responsibilities under this statute,” his letter says.
Mayor Wilczynski said Thursday he’s begun the process for hiring a new administrator and has submitted a job description and recommended a pay rate for the position to Sawaya and Kolanko, who chair council’s human resources and finance committees respectively.
He’s recommending a salary of $10,000, which was the same salary he initially proposed for the post when Gilsdorf was hired. That figure was later unanimously raised by council to $14,400 after hearing a recommendation from the human resources committee the responsibilities of the position warranted a higher salary.