Paddock Lake Village Board deadlocks on appointing trustee

The Paddock Lake Village Board Wednesday deadlocked on appointing someone to fill a vacant spot on the board.

The vacancy was created by the death of Gary Kaddatz on Dec. 31, 2019.

On Wednesday, village President Terry Burns moved to appoint Richard Fish to fill the vacancy. Fish is a former trustee who was not re-elected in 2017.

Also under consideration was Bena Ahlberg.

After the motion, a lengthy discussion took place about the possibility of appointing a member of the Paddock Hooker Lakes Association to the board since there are already three members of the group on the seven-member board. Current Trustees Scott Garland, Barb Brenner and Robert Spencer are PHLA members.

Ahlberg is a member of the group; Fish has been in the past, but currently is not, he said.

Burns referenced an opinion by village attorney Jeff Davison that appointing Ahlberg would create a need to give public notice of any meeting of the PHLA as it could include a quorum of the Village Board.

Burns said he motioned to appoint Fish chiefly due to his extensive municipal and engineering experience, but also cited Davison’s opinion, which he said to his experience the board has never contradicted.

Trustee Kathy Christenson challenged the idea that Ahlberg’s affiliation with PHLA should be a disqualification for being appointed to the seat. She pointed out that Ahlberg — or another PHLA member — could be be elected to the board with the same effect.

“In the community we serve every single person could be a part of that association,” Christenson said. “It’s not a valid enough reason to dismiss someone.”

Trustee Scott Garland, an officer of the PHLA, said about half of the village is eligible to be a member of the PHLA.

Burns said in his opinion there’s a difference between the public voting to put someone on the board with the PHLA affiliation through the election process and the board making an appointment with knowledge of the situation.

Though it was not addressed in Davison’s opinion, Burns said he also is concerned about having four PHLA members on the Village Board due to the appearance that a quorum of the Village Board — controlling the spending of public funds — also would be affiliated with the same private association.

Voting for appointing Fish were Burns, Brenner and Walter. Voting against were Christenson, Garland and Spencer.

Fish’s appointment failed with the tied vote. Burns said the board will consider the issue again next month.


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