Friday, 13 April 2012 00:00
Ever since our village purchased the St. Paul’s School for boys in 1993, a tension has existed between the residents who feel strongly that the school building must be preserved and those who believe that the building can be restored only if it is done in a fiscally prudent manner. This friction over St. Paul’s is reflected on the village board of trustees. One group of five trustees wants St. Paul’s restored only if it can be done without a heavy burden on taxpayers.
The remaining three trustees—including Mayor Donald Brudie—apparently place more importance on the building’s beauty and historical significance than on the cost of restoration.
Since Mayor Brudie took office a year ago there has been a marked increase in the friction on the board of trustees. Unfortunately, instead of trying to bring the two sides together, the mayor’s management style has deepened the schism on the board over the St. Paul’s School.
Every year, at the village’s organizational meeting in April, the mayor nominates trustees to serve on various boards and commissions. Traditionally, the mayor rotates the chairperson’s position annually on the most important boards and commissions such as finance and on the police and fire departments. Not this mayor. This year, the two trustees who consistently vote with the mayor on St. Paul’s were given the lion’s share of the most important appointments. In response to the mayor’s failure to appoint all of the trustees equitably and fairly to the various boards and commissions, the full board of trustees refused to ratify the mayor’s appointments.
Mayor Brudie’s attempt to run the village unilaterally, with input only from the trustees and residents who agree with him, may indicate that the time has come to write the epitaph on the Community Agreement. Maybe it is time for the direct election of mayor.