New look village council shuffles, shakes amidst resignation
November 10, 2010 - Goodrich- New people. New direction.
Monday night's village council meeting—the first after new council members Doug McAbee and Phil Jackson ousted incumbent council president Edmund York along with Dave Lucik following the Nov. 2 election—provided perhaps a glimpse of a new village order.
"The council is here for the taxpayers," said Patricia Wartella, who was elected council president, replacing York by a 3-2 vote, with council members Pete Morey and Rick Horton voting no. "Thank you to all the residents that supported us. Thanks to all the residents that supported the two candidates—they did so for a reason. We want to do our best and represent all residents of the village."
The board voted to replace long-time village attorney Thomas McKenney with Flint attorney F. Jack Belzer.
"I've dealt with Belzer in the past," said Wartella who made the motion for the change. "He (Belzer) is the attorney for Mundy Township. I knew I wanted to work with an attorney that I trusted. McKenney represented the old regime. What a better time to change then now. As president, I have full faith and trust in Mr. Belzer. That's what I brought to the table on Monday night. I've worked with Jack (Belzer) before, he's well-versed, impartial and unbiased. McKenney was on a retainer. Jack is only hourly, there's a substantial difference in cost."
The board also moved to replace village street commissioner and council member Pete Morey with new council member Doug McAbee.
Exasperated with the decisions, Morey walked out of the meeting—stating he will ing he was resigning from the council. However, at press time no written resignation was received from Morey.
"The people of the village have elected the three stooges—they (Jackson, McAbee and Wartella) had this all prepared for after the election," Morey said. "These are all vacate the village people—we've done a good job for a long time here. Now they tell me I'm not qualified for this job? I've been street administrator for six years, I'm on call 24 hours a day. And if they decide to bring in the Genesee County Road Commission, they're going to be treated as a number seven road—just like a subdivision. For that matter last winter M-15 went seven days without salt."
Wartella is confident Morey is gone.
"Pete resigned," she said. "When you say at the council meeting, 'I'm out of here,'— I'm telling you he has resigned as far as I'm concerned. He's angry."
Morey, who adjusts the dam for the Goodrich Mill Pond, said maintenance and regulation is vital for the community to keep the water level in check.
"They are out to destroy the village," he said.
Wartella did not see it that way.
"Doug is also well-versed," she said. "With his experience with the large number of employees he has supervised at General Motors, the University of Michigan and Goodrich High School maintenance department, his resume is very extensive. Doug was the high vote getter. We need to get other council members involved. He's very qualified. Morey has done that for a long time, I made the recommendation for change."
McAbee was ready to take on the job.
"The (Goodrich) dam will get done without him (Morey)," he said. "It's not some hocus pocus. For that matter, people are not happy with the water level right now. That was mentioned by many during the campaign."
"Regarding the roads, we're going to take a good hard look at the Genesee County Road Commission," McAbee continued. "Pete was against that idea—right now we are looking at all options."