STRYKER VILLAGE COUNCIL … On January 17th, 2022, the confusion caused by some council members not getting their names on the November ballot was brought to a close when four Stryker residents were sworn in by Mayor Joe Beck. From left to right, after the Mayor are Nick Wlasiuk, Dave Benner, Vicki Cameron and Dusty Potter. (PHOTO BY REBECCA MILLER, STAFF)
By: Rebecca Miller
The January 17th, 2022 meeting of the Stryker Village Council began with a wrapping up of the problem caused by four council members forgetting to get on last November’s ballot.
With legal advice, it was agreed to take Letters of Interest to fill the four seats. During December 2021, six people, including the four members and two other Stryker residents, turned in Letters of Interest for the four seats.
There were a few options on how the four recipients could be determined, with one being that the remaining two council members, Sean Ingram and Kim Feehan, would appoint them.
At the January 17th, 2022 meeting, Mayor Joe Beck gave these two an opportunity to share their intent concerning the four open seats.
Ingram said that he and Feehan had discussed the situation and agreed that as “neither one of us were elected either, we were both appointed to fill vacancies, and that just felt a little awkward for us to be taking on the responsibility of an elected official. “
“We determined it would be best to pass it back to the mayor. He is the one person in the room who was elected by the people and so that would be the most direct expression of the people’s will.”
Ingram also said that he felt it was not fair to the Mayor, and that no matter what decision he makes, it would not be popular with everyone, so he thanked him for taking on this difficult task.
He expressed his confidence that the process the Mayor chose was done well. Feehan added her thanks, saying that she feels he has been ”very fair, putting his personal feelings aside” in his decision making process, as he has shared with them over the phone.
Mayor Beck also made a statement, saying, “I had a conversation with all six individuals who submitted their Letters of Interest, asking the exact same questions across the board.” He based his decisions on their answers.
“There were no wrong candidates,” but based on the interviews he has chosen to appoint two returning members Vicki Cameron and Dave Benner along with new members Nick Wlasiuk and Derrick (Dusty) Potter.
These four joined the mayor at the front to be sworn in and take their seats, leaving the President’s chair open to be filled after council voted for that position.
The two members who are not returning at this time to the council are Sam Farmer and President Lee Armstrong. Following Roll Call, Council voted to place Vicki Cameron in the position of President.
Kevin Whitlock, of Barber, Kaper, Stamm, McWatters, Whitlock & Maloney, was present to express his interest in filling the position of Village Solicitor which was left vacant by Katie Rakes.
Village Administrator Al Riegsecker introduced Mr. Whitlock, saying he lives just north of Stryker and he recommends him to council. Mayor Beck said that Whitlock would not be voted on that night, but would introduce himself and explain the possible contract with the village.
Whitlock explained that his office is in Wauseon, he has a West Unity home address, but is in the Stryker District and has one child that attends Stryker Schools. He graduated from Hilltop in 1990. Their office currently represents the City of Wauseon (Mr. Tom McWatters).
He is interested in becoming the solicitor for Stryker. This is his second career as he worked at Sauder Woodworking straight out of Highschool, and has been practicing law since 2008. Council asked a few questions and held a short discussion with Whitlock. “Collectively we have a lot of experience in this area,” of covering councils, he shared.
Next on the agenda, council voted to accept the minutes of the previous meeting, and the Finance Report of January 14, 2022. Clerk Beth Rediger explained a few details, mostly for the understanding of the new members.
Mayor Beck announced the Committee members for the coming year, with the first name listed being the chairperson, as: Service: Potter, Ingram, Wlasiuk; Safety: Benner, Potter, Cameron; Finance: Cameron, Benner, Ingram; Health: Wlasiuk, Feehan, Benner; Welfare: Feehan, Potter, Cameron; Judiciary: Ingram, Feehan, Wlasiuk; Records Commission: Mayor, Village Solicitor, President of Council, Fiscal Officer and Citizen – Patsy Mealer; Planning/Zoning Commission: Terry Woolace, Mayor Joe Beck, Jason Leupp and Patsy Mealer.
Finance Committee meeting was scheduled for the next week, at 5:30 p.m. on January 24, 2022, to discuss the potential adjustment to the wage scale for the police department and a few other PD needs, with a Special Council Meeting scheduled immediately following, at 6:15 p.m., to be announced in the papers.
In Legislation, Council voted to approve an ordinance to make a contract with Attorney Ryan Thompson for income tax matters.
Police Chief Steve Schlosser began his report by inviting Sgt. Jordan Williams to join him up front. Sgt. Williams has been with the department for a while and was promoted to Lieutenant at the meeting. Chief Schlosser and Mayor Joe Beck put his new pins on him in the presence of council.
Schlosser then welcomed the new council members and congratulated Cameron on being chosen to be President. He commended them all and encouraged them to step into their positions as the leaders of Stryker.
He reported that he has accepted a Letter of Resignation from JR Treace which went into effect on January 2, 2022, and that Ptl. Steven Graziani has a conditional offer of employment from the City of Bryan PD and is in the final stages of the hiring process.
Schlosser said, “While we wish the best of luck to Steve in this process, his departure will leave an unprecedented void in our schedule, which is the reason for the special meeting to be held on the twenty-fourth.” He stated that the moving in to part time positions and then on to full time positions elsewhere is “what we do.”
The Complaint/Report Comparison for December 2020 and 2021, as well as totals for the years, was presented to council with a few explanations from the Chief. 2020 held 664 total events and 2021 held 667. In December there were eight traffic warnings, no citations and four adult arrests.
Village Administrator Al Riegsecker reported that he and Rediger had met with several Insurance agents concerning quotes for liability renewal. The compost dumpster is put away for the winter and will return in April.
Rediger mentioned that the project coming up for Johnson Avenue Waterline replacement will be covered by some covid money and a grant.
They also hope to get the water tower painted, with a projected cost of $72,000, which will most likely be covered by another round of COVID money coming in for the village.
Cameron said she would like to open it up to the school students to compete for a design for the water tower, but Riegsecker and Rediger said it gets very “pricey” to paint other than the village name in block letters.
Rediger recommended that they have an engineering firm bid it out for liability reasons. Mayor Beck mentioned that the village owns one of the two towers in the village, but maintains both. The one by the school is owned by the village.
Council President Cameron asked if they could brainstorm sometime on some ways to communicate better with the older population.
Council member Ingram again thanked the Mayor for making the best of a bad situation. Cameron and Riegsecker welcomed Rediger back from her family emergency schedule and commended Emily Clemens for covering so well while Rediger was out.
Mayor Beck also thanked Mrs. Clemens for her coverage of the office. He mentioned that it would be good if the village were to provide a laptop, to allow Rediger to do some of her work from home.
He also commended the two council members, who were replaced, for the good work they did while on council, welcomed the two new members and reminded all members to get their names on the ballots when they need to do so.
He also announced that he has asked for Rediger and Patsy Mealer to continue as representatives for Stryker with WEDCO (Williams County Economic Development Corporation).
With no further business, the meeting adjourned.
Rebecca can be reached at email@example.com