Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Separation of Powers and Influence

Frank Rollason, NBV Manager, decided that the commission cannot be trusted to get the unfiltered advice of the Planning & Zoning Board and so stood up to tell them and the village staff that regardless of how they voted last night, he would be making the recommendations to the commission.  

There is a request for a cosmetic variance from a homeowner regarding some new construction.  It looks small and reasonable but  it does not comply with code.  P&Z can recommend for or against  the variance.  It goes to the commission and they decide, taking the advice into account but not bound by it.  

The village planners recommended against approval.  As the board opened discussion on the item, a time when the public and board might explore the  reasons for this recommendation, Rollason came to the podium and told the board that he would be recommending approval of the variance to the commission.   

That was out of line.  The planner reports to the village manager and when the boss contradicts his employees in public, the smart employee shuts up.  Who wants to lose their job over a stairway?   

The board itself is well aware that the village manager has gone after other board members personally for failing to please him and while I don't think they were intimidated by him, his actions shut down meaningful discussion.  They will never know why the planner recommended against approval.  

In our poor form of local government, most of the power lies with the village manager.  The idea is that the commission hires a village manager as the CEO and lets him run it.  There are certain issues that are reserved for the commission e.g. zoning and taxes as well as general legislation.  The commission appoints boards to advise them on zoning, taxes and policy.  These boards are independent of the village manager. 

Frank Rollason has decided to blow that off.  He took apart two boards, Business Development and Youth Services, because... well, he doesn't explain.   Last night at Planning & Zoning, he sent a clear message that he runs that one as well.  

Rollason should pay more attention to his job and less to being the big shot where he doesn't belong.  Maybe if he did, we wouldn't have had three tries to get the budget legal and he would have given the commissioners the true cost of expanding the village hall.  

Kevin Vericker
March 19, 2014


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