I was investigated on Aug. 15.
On that day, a deputy sheriff came to my residence asking me why the village tape recorder was ever in my possession. I had been given the recorder by Deputy Mayor Beth Bowker to record the meeting and to take the minutes of the June 26 meeting because the village clerk had abruptly resigned.
At the meeting July 31, my minutes of the meeting were not accepted because allegedly the tape had been erased. Ironically, the deputy sheriff who interrogated me was able to download all the meetings on the tape recorder.
The worst-case scenario was a misdemeanor, which could have resulted if I had been found guilty of official misconduct. However, this investigation has been labeled unfounded.
I spoke with a lawyer at the New York State Conference of Mayors and Elected Officials and was told that the written minutes are the legal minutes, a tape recording is not necessary. Since the deputy clerk was not aware that it was her job to take the minutes, I should be thanked for having taken the minutes as requested.
Since being elected trustee, the village has been extensively audited, the village clerk has resigned suddenly, a CPA firm has been hired, and both the supervisor of the street and water department and the mayor have resigned.
Would any of this have been necessary if there had been proper leadership and oversight? Can this board be trusted with appointing and/or hiring the best people for the vacant positions?
Where is the leadership? Roberts Rules of Order are not followed, the agenda is not an agenda, there have been accusations of illegal meetings, our property taxes have gone up over 40 percent in three years and our water bill has increased significantly. The requested presence of a county deputy sheriff has not intimidated the attendees. And when the mayor spoke, the Bobbleheads dutifully kept bobbing along.
I ran for the office of trustee in the village of Forestville because of my care and concern for my community and my belief that there should be accountability. As I began to do the job I promised I would do and ask the questions that needed to be asked, I have encountered many road blocks. I have been rewarded for my efforts to serve my fellow citizens and taxpayers with being ignored, maligned, threatened and mistreated. In past weeks alone I was not given a head's up regarding the special meeting (later canceled), the resignation of Supervisor William Bentzoni or the resignation of Mayor Charles Brewster.
It is time for the citizens of the village of Forestville to take action. Those with less noble agendas will just change the names but still play the same games.
We cannot afford these attacks upon our community, our wallets and our liberty to continue unchecked. Take notice! Get involved!
Linda Aures is a Forestville trustee.