A Willingness to Resolve Disputes
Thank you, to all of you once again, for providing unforgettable support for good government in the past few months! This week I made an offer I would like to tell you about, because I hope it will go a long way towards healing community and Council discord. It wasn’t an easy thing to do, but I hope it will be worth it for all involved.
Each of you deserve a local government that makes your best interests and the interests of the Village as a whole its number one priority. From the moment I was appointed on May 31, 2018, I have done my best to represent those interests, and it has been a privilege to be a voice, speaking on your behalf, as the Council makes difficult decisions regarding Marvin’s future. (See the email version of this letter to residents here.)
Unfortunately, focusing on, and conducting Village business, hasn’t been as easy as people deserve. As you know, Marvin has experienced its fair share of controversy since the last election. For those of you who haven’t received the latest updates, here are the key events:
Mary Shkut - Oct 30, 2018
Initially, Mayor Pollino and Councilmembers Vandenberg and Dispenziere refused to recognize my appointment and my oath. Village staff were directed not to provide me with support and all council meetings (needed to pass the city budget) were avoided and cancelled. As a result, the Village shut down, on July 1.
On July 23, confronted with the inability to freely fulfill my oath of office (along with other matters concerning transparency and open meeting laws) I was forced to file a lawsuit against the Village, Mayor Pollino and Councilmembers Vandenberg & Dispenziere. The lawsuit asked the courts to implore the Council to adhere to State laws, restore my Council seat, allow me to fulfil my sworn duties in office and represent resident concerns.
On August 20, a publicly funded law suit, was filed against me. Although public funds had been used to construct the case, Mayor Pollino and Councilmember Vandenberg were forced to file the public lawsuit as ‘private relators’ in order to follow State law’. The lawsuit alleges my appointment to the Council was invalid.
On October 05, the Superior Court of Union County entered an order dismissing Pollino & Vandenberg's lawsuit, for failure to follow the laws of service and due process.
On October 10, the Superior Court of Union County entered an order dismissing Pollino & Vandenberg's lawsuit, while my lawsuit remained pending. Immediately after the order to dismiss, Mayor Pollino and Councilmember Vandenberg hired new attorneys and filed a “Motion to Reconsider” and stated they intended to appeal ad infinitum.
On October 12, Mayor Pollino and Councilmember Vandenberg hired new attorneys and filed a ‘motion to reconsider’ the dismissal. Vandenberg and Pollino stated they intend to appeal the dismissal and challenge my seat indefinitely. Meanwhile, my lawsuit has, necessarily, remained pending…
I never wanted to sue anyone and tried to appeal to reason very early on. However, when that didn’t work, I did what I had to, at great personal cost, to protect the rule of law, my oath of office, and the ability to fulfill my duties and represent citizens the way I promised. It’s important to me to fight the sanctity of my oath for as long as the Mayor and fellow Council-members make that fight necessary…
… On the other hand, I want the Mayor, my fellow Council members and fellow residents to know that I haven’t lost sight of the priorities that are most important - this being our work for the Village.
During the last council meeting, Councilman Dispenziere took a step toward mending discord, when he decided to rescind his support for the Charter Amendment. By the end of the meeting, it felt like the Council might may be willing to set an example and move the Marvin community toward a more positive, cooperative and serene future.
In the spirit of that small step, I made an offer to the Council yesterday. In an attempt to truly put certain matters to rest, I asked my attorneys to reach out to the attorneys representing Mayor Pollino and Councilwoman Vandenberg. I have asked Mayor Pollino and Councilmember Vandenberg to cease continuous attempts to have the Superior Court’s dismissal overturned (thereby accepting the judge’s decision and my seat on the Council). If they can agree to do this, I will, in turn, dismiss all legal actions against the Village and Council members.
I believe this is what residents want us to do and I believe it could go a long way toward resolving the prominent matters that divide us. We may still have political issues to debate, but the Council, and the community at large, should be able to debate issues without acrimony or the shadows of lawsuits hanging over us.
I am hoping all members of Council will agree this is a fair and charitable proposal. It is my hope we’ll be able to reach an agreement that enables us to fully and finally put certain issues behind us, so we can get back to giving you all the local government you deserve.
Please join me in thanking Councilman Dispenziere for his effort to reach across the aisle!
Thank you to Councilman Epps who represents citizens with integrity and the highest set of principles.
Please send us prayerful intentions and please continue to remain engaged. Our Village needs your involvement, and your input matters! Listening to your thoughtful and sincere concerns, have always made my Village involvement worthwhile!
Councilor, Village of Marvin
The Response - Pollino & Vandenberg Reject Peace Offer & Ask Mary to Submit Her Resignation
Joe Pollino and Kim Vandenberg rejected my peace offer. Instead, Pollino & Vandenberg said they would only accept the judge's ruling, in exchange for my resignation from the Council. As a result, I cannot drop my lawsuit which includes an injunction imploring the Council to recognize my appointment. Further below is the email sent from my attorney's informing me of Pollino and Vandenberg's response.