Bristol Village Board votes to reduce trustee seats

The Bristol Village Board on Monday night voted 4 to 2 to reduce the number of trustee seats from 6 to 4 over the next two years.

However, the motion, made by Trustee John McCabe, was contingent on a legal review finding no problem with the procedure used by the board.

To make the reduction work, the board will not fill the trustee seat vacated by Mike Farrell, who won the village president election earlier this month. Then in the 2013 spring election, there will be one less trustee seat up for election. Consequently, until April 2013 election, the board will actually have five supervisors.

McCabe said the change, which he began advocating for before his recent run for trustee, will save about $11,700 over the next two years and will reduce work for the office staff in keeping touch with fewer trustees.

“Bristol has always been a smaller community,” McCabe said. “With the economy being so bad, it would be nice to show we’re saving some money.”

Trustee Carolyn Owens, who seconded McCabe’s motion, called the additional two trustee seats unnecessary. She pointed out that the town — before becoming a village in late 2009 — long had five board members (four supervisors and the town chairman).

But the smaller board was just as strongly opposed by Farrell and Trustee Bill Glembocki.

Farrell said the larger board offers the opportunity for more creative thinking when the board is faced with problems. He also said a smaller board is more vulnerable to open meetings violations if board members talk about issues with each other outside of a meeting setting.

“I think this is a mistake,” Farrell said.

Glembocki warned that the smaller board could be more easily dominated by one outlook on an issue — what he termed a “power play,” a situation he claimed previously led to the town ceding land to be annexed by Kenosha.

“”Hopefully with seven people it won’t happen again,” Glembocki said.


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