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Gunden resigns as Farwell President Pro-tem- Leaves meeting in protest

By Pat Maurer

Review Correspondent

 

Following some controversy at an earlier budget meeting, Farwell Council Member Vicky Gunden submitted her resignation as Village President Pro-tem Monday evening at the beginning of the regular Village Council meeting.

Gunden said she was planning to chair the January 29 Budget Workshop in the absence of Village President Steve Grim and that she intended to have the board go through the proposed budget’s line items, but was told just before the meeting by another council member that she wasn’t in charge of the procedure. She said she left the meeting.

“I felt that they didn’t respect me, and if they don’t respect me as Village President Pro-tem, it would be best if I resigned so someone else could be appointed. We just can’t have this type of conflict at meetings, it isn’t good for the community,” she said.

The motion to accept Gunden’s resignation was unanimous with a 6-0 vote. President Steven Grim is on vacation and was not at the meeting.

Council member Gina Hamilton was nominated by Jamie Conlay to replace Gunden as President Pro-tem and the motion also passed unanimously 6-0.

Later in the meeting, Gunden came under fire again when Council member Barb Roe asked the council to remove her as the Farm Market Master. She and Office Assistant Vicky Lee are both Market Masters for the Farm Market.

Roe read a list of concerns of venders and related incidents that she said she witnessed involving Gunden, including comments made in front of venders about smoking, shutting lights off when venders were in the far end of the Market building leaving them to exit the building in the dark, insisting that venders could not leave before the market closing time despite extreme cold in the building or, in another instance because of the illness of a vender.

“With these concerns, I feel Vicky is a hindrance to the Farmer’s Market and should not be a Market Master,” Roe read.

Roe made a motion to removed Gunden from the position. Five council members voted to remove her including Gunden herself. The only dissenting vote was by Elton Marshall.

Roe also expressed concerns over Gunden’s submitted mileage expense.

In another matter, the Village Council adopted the tentative 2013-14 budget by a 5-1 vote with Gunden voting no. “I just don’t feel comfortable about not going over the budget line items,” she said Wednesday.

The totals adopted include: General Fund revenue of $330,845 and expenses of $396,816; Major Street revenues of $126,393 and expenses totaling $133,312; Local Street revenue totaling $49,568 and expenses of $49,921; Sewer Fund revenues of $176,705 and expenses of $157,284; and Water Fund revenue of $152,900 and expenses totaling $139,278.

A Public Hearing and adoption of the budget was set for February 27 at 6 p.m.

Other business at the meeting included:

* A request from Carolyn Welch, President of the Senior Community Center Board, asking the Council to donate $500 to replace the carpeting in the center.

*Approval to remove a tree in front of 236 North Superior at a cost of $350; approval of a cost of $565 for training and exams for DPW employee Russ Hamilton.

*Approved a three year agreement for 27 Christmas decorations by Kenmark at an annual cost of $1,539.

*Approved the payment of bills totaling $21,709.42 for January.