Stalemate, silence persist over treasurer appointment

Sunday Times Newspapers

TAYLOR — With the city administration in “lame duck” mode with stalemates on employee contracts, public service negotiations and a still-empty treasurer’s office, City Council Chairwoman Cheryl Burke said that a waiting game is being played by some to see if Mayor Jeffrey Lamarand is recalled from office in November.

“It’s like we’re in a lame duck session,” Burke said of the council’s failure to appoint a replacement for Treasurer Wayne Avery, who resigned more than four months ago.

Divisions among the elected panel were visible when a replacement for Avery was temporarily made. On Aug. 18 councilwoman Jacklyn Molner was named to the post, the two-month delay given to council concerns over Molner enhancing her pension and retirement benefits. (If appointed, Molner pledged to waive any increase to pension benefits she earned after 14 years on council.)

The appointment was supported by John Delo, Rick Sollars, Dennis Stapleton and Suzanne Weycker. Three days later Lamarand vetoed the appointment, noting that Molner neglected to resign from her council post and city charter prohibits elected officials from holding two positions.

City charter also stipulates that a vacancy is filled by a majority vote of council. In September a roll call vote was taken and Delo, Sollars and Stapleton repeated their support for Molner. Weycker was absent, and a majority vote of the council was not reached.

During the council’s Oct. 4 meeting attorney John W. Martin, corporation counsel for the city, urged officials to name a treasurer. Martin noted that while the city charter does not define a time period for such an appointment, the intent is clear. Burke opened the floor to nominations, and was greeted with silence. No motions were made and the matter was closed.

The issue was not raised at the Oct. 18 council meeting Barring any decisions made Tuesday at the final council meeting prior to the No. 8 general election, Burke said the stalemate is inviting even more problems for the troubled city.

“They’re violating the charter, absolutely,” Burke said of the council’s indecision. “They want to vote for Molner, but they’re stalling and waiting for the recall.”

Prior to accepting the nomination, Molner took caution to ensure that she would not receive enhanced benefits, but has heard nothing further regarding the legality of the appointment and veto.