NH trustees react to treasurer's letter
North Hudson village trustees had mixed reactions to a two-page letter from treasurer Lana Rawson following her resignation on Jan. 8.
Terri Richie, who is running unopposed for her second term on the board, spoke with Rawson after she heard about her resignation. Richie said she advised Rawson to write the followup letter after listening to her concerns about the way business is being conducted at village hall.
"I told her to put it in writing. I want to know what's going on, and her opinion matters to me. I am concerned if village employees feel that the board doesn't trust them or that they are credible sources of information about how to run the village. That kind of doubt affects morale, and that can affect performance," said Richie.
Richie said she has full confidence in the village staff. As chairman of the parks committee, she said she relies on the experience and judgment of public works supervisor Mark Ekblad and his staff. "There is a lot of experience there and it has served the village well."
Richie said it wasn't that long ago that she was new to the board and she acknowledges that there is a "pretty steep learning curve" for new trustees including the village president. "You learn on the job and that's why it is so important to get the assistance and input of the staff."
Trustee Bob Hawksford is one of the senior members of the board. Hawksford said he was disappointed that Rawson resigned. "I think she had the kind of background necessary to the job and she had a lot of energy that is always welcome in an employee." He said he has full confidence in the ability of the staff to conduct the business of the village on a day to day basis. Regarding the specifics of Rawson's letter, he expects that the board will discuss it together. He also would like to see a meeting with the entire staff to "make sure we know where people are at."
Hawksford said some tension is to be expected when a new president and new board members are elected. "It's not that anyone is doing the wrong thing, it's just being done differently. I'd like to give the benefit of the doubt here and I trust that everyone is doing the best they can."
Trustee Joe Cothern, who is named specifically in Rawson's letter, declined to comment on it, saying that it was an employee issue and as an elected official, he preferred not to comment.
Marc Zappa had no comment either beyond saying that he had full confidence in the village staff. Zappa did say that Rawson's resignation did give the board the opportunity to closely examine the role of treasurer in the village to determine what the job should entail. Zappa said he would favor hiring a consultant to help the board do that.
Board members George Klein and Sandra Whalen did not return calls to the Star-Observer.
Meg Heaton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.