Silver Lake dissolution referendum survives procedural challenge from village president

silver-lake-VHQuestions from village President Sue Gerber about the procedure followed by those seeking a dissolution referendum in Silver Lake apparently will not stop the vote from happening.

Gerber said the signatures for the dissolution were presented as a direct resolution petition instead of under the provision of the state statue governing the dissolution of a village.

The group gathered over 400 signatures on a petition asking the village for a vote on whether it should be dissolved. The signatures were certified as a dissolution petition by village Clerk Terry Faber last week.

Gerber said Wednesday that the petition was presented incorrectly, and questioned whether it was valid.

“I don’t agree that it should be accepted as it was,” Gerber said.

But village attorney Linda Gray said she advised Faber to certify the petition because Gray’s research suggested that the intent of the petitioners was clear — to hold a referendum on whether the village should be dissolved.

“People knew what they were asking the  board to do and they expected it to go to referendum,” Gray said.

Consequently, the referendum will be held Nov. 4, Gray said.

Gerber’s position received no support from other board members (Trustee Chris Willkomm was absent and Trustee Pat Dunn was absent for the second consecutive meeting. Note: I initially forgot to include that Trustee Willkomm was absent as well. Sorry about that. — DH).

Trustee Michael Decker argued in favor of proceeding with the referendum, pointing out that about double the amount of signatures were gathered for the  dissolution referendum as the earlier contracting services with Salem referendum that also will be on the November ballot.

“To me this is a simple decision,” Decker said. “To me that’s a problem solved — put it to referendum have an up or down vote ….”

If two-thirds of the voters opt for dissolution, the village government will have six months to wrap up its business after which the area now in the village will become part of the town of Salem.



  1. Confused Citizen says:

    Well, once again our illustrious “leader” does not want the people to speak! She’s already quashed comments “outside of public comments” at the village board meetings, now she does not want citizens to have a right to vote on an issue? The Save Silver Lake Rescue folks were ADAMENT that “the people be given a voice in the matter”. Viola…a referendum on the ballot. “Let the people decide”. The Queen was all for letting her minions express their opinions on that issue. Now she disagrees with her own legal counsel. I think our village president’s repeated attempts to deny our villagers a voice in our own future will continue to STRENGTHEN the RESOLVE TO DISSOLVE MOVEMENT. The group couldn’t BUY free advertising like the kind she provides! I would urge citizens to attend village meetings, see FIRST HAND what kind of shenanigans are going on. Check out ALL THE FACTS regarding the resolution to DISSOLVE, then make an informed vote on November 4th. If you seek change, fine. If you prefer the status quo, fine. But it should be OUR decision to make, not Sue Gerber’s!

  2. Embarrassed SL resident says:

    This here lies the problem with silver lake, over 400 hundred signatures to dissolve which tells me that the people of silver lake do not approve the direction this village is heading and the way the board has handled things ( I would love to see an approval rating of this board my guess it’s embarrassing low). Sue does not care about he people of silver lake if she did she would be concerned about the 400 signatures and want to listen and work with their concerns, if she doesn’t agree with someone she will fight it tooth and nail there is no compromise with her and that has cost the village dearly.

    I agree she inherited a mess but what she did with that mess tells of her integrity and made it worse by tenfold. My family nor I signed the petition as I was not in total agreement with it, but I have not heard of any benefit of staying a village and now it’s starting to gain my support for it. I am just tired of the drama I am tired of a board not caring for the citizens and I’m tired of the board caring only for themselves and the group they support

  3. Resolve to Dissolve supporter says:

    I was so proud of several of our residents that challenged Sue regarding the legality of the petition and that she was once again shown how “biased” she is.

    I do object to the information provided by this column regarding Mr. Dunn’s absence. Mr. Dunn has a job as a fire investigator and there are numerous times he has to be out of state to investigate a fire that caused either personal harm or destruction of property. Mr. Wilkomm was NOT at that meeting either yet that was not pointed out.

    What difference does it make that a member is not there….why point it out in a column that is dedicated to a history making change in Silver Lake? I’m very disappointed that this was even included.

    1. @Resolve to Dissolve supporter: I made a mistake not including Trustee Willkomm’s absence. I now have added it to the story. It should have been there from the start. It was just a mistake, not any kind of statement. I apologize for the lapse.

      I point out who is absent in these situations because I think it is pertinent to say who was there when I say that no one objected etc. I also usually include a statement about absences when there is a big vote and I have said what the vote was and the number obviously is less than 7.

      Sometimes board members have had very poor attendance so when someone starts missing more than one meeting I have tried to note that. Otherwise, how do people have a way of knowing who is showing up?

      Again, sorry about the error

  4. Step right up says:

    That’s right folks step right up. In town for just a limited time,
    your Silver Lake Village Board.
    See the queen and her minions.
    See (or don’t see) your elected board members.
    Only 10 months left.

  5. Ughh says:

    Seems president Gerber is trying to move Silver Lake in the same direction as the rest of the United States. Citizens keep quiet, you’re not important. Its called dictatorship!

  6. Bernard Punsley says:

    Mike Decker NAILED it! Let the PEOPLE decide. Yeah or nay.

  7. Salem Sitizen says:

    I have been watching what has been happening in Silver Lake for several months now….the issues they face are FAR GREATER than the fire and rescue problems. I have also been studying the “Resolve to Dissolve” movement, and I must admit, as a Salem resident, I find it pretty intriguing. I think Silver Lake has many assets that would benefit Salem, I think we could work together in a “win-win” type scenario. If the “Dissolve” vote fails, I think we could still work with Silver Lake to address some of their problems. Either way, the issues they face will continue to haunt them until adquetely addressed.

  8. Legal Issues says:

    A sample dissolve petition with proper wording is available on the internet. Would have been too much trouble to just submit the proper petition and solve the questions people have now about what the signers really meant?

    The right to vote on dissolving is guaranteed in the state constitution. But why did these people choose to muddy the waters and file under the wrong statute?

  9. Daydream Believer says:

    @Legal issues…….nice try! Explain exactly HOW using a different petition form would “solve the questions people have now about what the signers really meant”? If people signed a petition without knowing what they were signing, HOW is that the fault of the person collecting the signatures? This was a fairly SIMPLE petition, “guaranteed in the state constitution”(your words, not mine.
    If ANYONE is “muddying the waters”, it’s our village president(she does not believe the petition is legal, despite advice from our paid legal team that it is). If the right to vote to dissolve is guaranteed by the constitution, why is she trying to block that right for our citizens? Over 400 citizens signed the petition. They want their voices heard. The board and our president continue to attempt to STIFLE those voices! DISSOLVE NOW!

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