Everything isn’t sunny in Lakewood.
Village President Paul Serwatka is working to forcibly remove Trustees Jason McMahon and Patrick Rexroat from office.
Serwatka sent them a notice titled “IMPORTANT: Removal from office effective immediately.”
The notice reads, “Continued actions to undermine and obstruct the productive efforts of this board, due to your actions and efforts to knowingly put the village of Lakewood at both legal and financial risk, and due to your ongoing refusal to work cohesively with all fellow board members for the betterment of Lakewood, I, as duly elected president of the village of Lakewood, believe the best interests of the village demand your removal from appointed office, effective immediately.”
In the notice, Serwatka said he has “authority granted by the Illinois Municipal Code” to remove them.
Serwatka also is demanding the trustees return their village-owned iPads, badges and all village property in their possession.
“The last three or four meetings have been peaceful, fine. After the meetings everybody shakes hands and, you know, talks and hangs out for a little bit. The board has actually been pretty smooth the past month and a half,” McMahon said, adding that he believes Serwatka doesn’t have the authority to remove him. “He always has to have a villain. There always has to be a villain, and it’s been so quiet.”
McMahon was appointed by former President Erin Smith in January 2017 for a term to expire in May 2019. Rexroat was appointed by Serwatka in June 2017 for a term to expire in May 2019.
Both trustees would have to run for re-election to keep their positions after their terms expire.
“They are going to continue to go against the initiatives that we try to work on,” Serwatka said. “They try to embarrass me and show that they have control.”
McMahon also expressed concerns that Serwatka no longer resides in the area.
“I think he’s leaving, and this is his last-ditch effort to throw Pat and I off the board so he can put a couple of yes men in place – they can elect Phil [Stephan] to be the president when Paul resigns, and then put a new person in Phil’s old trustee place, and they’ll have the majority of the board back. They’ll have four trustees and a president and do whatever they want,” McMahon said.
Serwatka said he still resides at his Turnberry home in the 9800 block of Palmer Drive, and that his critics are spreading misinformation.
“I’m still here,” Serwatka said. “We bought another home. We haven’t moved. We’ve moved furniture out. Quite honestly, we don’t know what we’re going to do. If my wife has her way, she wants the new home to be our permanent home. We were looking for sort of a second vacation home. My wife loves it. She doesn’t want to leave there.”
Serwatka said the new home isn’t in the area, and he “may or may not” sell the Turnberry home.
“When I make that decision, I will tell everybody,” he said.
Serwatka said he’ll talk about the trustees’ removal during a Village Board meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at
7900 Redtail Drive. The agenda calls for appointing Donald Miller and Thomas Lentz as trustees.