April 11, 2012 - The Leonard Village Council shrank in size Monday night as the body voted to eliminate two trustee positions, reducing it from seven to five members.
Council will now consist of four trustees and one president, who will meet once a month to conduct business on behalf of the village's 403 residents.
The decision was precipitated by the fact that council had two open seats, due to the resignations of Jerry Birr in February and Pauline Blanka in March, but no applicants for the positions.
"No one's been willing to step in," said village President Mike McDonald. "We had several people in attendance at the (April 9) meeting and I raised the question several times – 'Is anybody here interested in becoming a member of the village council?' I got a lot of heads shaking (to say no). It was kind of funny in a way."
Council's decision to reduce itself must now be published as part of a public notice in the Leader.
Following publication, the reduction would take effect in 45 days unless some Leonard resident files a petition opposing it.
This petition must contain valid signatures from at least 10 percent of the village's registered voters, according to McDonald.
If such a petition were submitted, council could either reverse its decision or put the issue to a vote of the people in a special or general election.
Given the fact that no one expressed an interest in filling either vacancy on council, McDonald doesn't anticipate any citizen opposition to the reduction.
"I just don't see people signing a petition to take us back to seven," he said. "If they cared enough (to do that), I would assume they would have already stepped up and volunteered to become a trustee."
On the financial side, the reduction will result in a small savings for the village.
Trustees are paid $30 for each council meeting they attend. Having two less would save the village $60 per month or $720 annually.
McDonald foresees no difficulties governing Leonard with a five-member board.
"I think it will be fine," he said. "I don't really see any effective difference."
He noted how the Village of Oxford runs smoothly with a five-member council governing a population of 3,436.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.