Board Censure Of Genoa Township Clerk Stands
January 25, 2023
Jessica Mathews / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Genoa Township Board has upheld the censure of Clerk Polly Skolarus.
In November, the board approved a resolution to censure and reprimand Skolarus for "official misconduct and willful neglect of duty” following an independent investigation and report. It stated the conduct of Skolarus was found to be beneath the dignity of the office with “needlessly confrontational and demeaning behavior, lack of decorum, and several occasions of complete disregard of State Law and of Township’s procedures, norms and rules”. Her resignation was requested but never provided.
At a special meeting in October, the board approved a motion prohibiting future township funds or resources to be used to review a personnel payroll issue in 2016/2017 that Skolarus contests. In November, the board allowed her to make a lengthy presentation regarding the issue – even though it was against their direct guidance to not expend any more township resources on the matter and it was not properly submitted to be put on the agenda.
Skolarus has maintained the investigation results were based on hearsay and lies and refutes all of the allegations made by the board.
At the board meeting on Monday night, Skolarus had requested an item be placed on the agenda to rescind the resolution related to her censure. She was not present at the meeting. The township attorney clarified that it was still appropriate for the board to proceed despite Skolarus’ absence and it had the option to table or take action on it - stating it would be no different than if a site plan was on the agenda and the applicant was not present.
Trustee Diana Lowe commented that “this has gone on long enough” while Trustee Jean Ledford stated “we’ve hashed this over and over again, I’m not willing to keep on going”.
Treasurer Robin Hunt made a formal motion to deny the request to rescind the censure citing various reasons. She stated the information provided by the clerk did not change any of the facts upon which the resolution was based. Hunt said the payroll issue was thoroughly researched and resolved over six years ago and the dispute is well beyond the statute of limitations – adding “it is abhorrible the clerk continues to waste township resources on this issue”.
Hunt’s motion went on to state the clerk has continued to show a complete lack of regard for the law and has openly ignored the requested requirements of the board; the Clerk’s request for the board to consider her variance is unlawful, and it “continues to show her complete disrespect for the laws and rules upon which we govern”. Hunt concluded to say “By this motion, I find the 2016 payroll issue is finalized and the censure resolution passed by the board stands on its merits. This issue shall not be considered again by this board”.
As a precaution, the board added another item to the motion to prevent Skoalrus from having “another excuse to come back”. It stated that all costs contained in a memo from Skolarus in the board meeting packet on 194 are to be denied – with Supervisor Bill Rogers emphasizing that one was an illegal request. Attorney fees was one item requested, along with lost wages and salary increases.
The motion passed unanimously.
A memo regarding the clerk’s materials from Rogers was also included in the board packet that stated:
“The materials for Agenda Item #6 were not provided in accordance with the Board policy adopted on April 18, 2022. Digital file copies of the materials were not provided in a timely manner and no resolution was provided in support of the request. Despite the Township Clerk’s continued disregard for board policy, I have authorized this item to be placed on the agenda because I believe members of the Board desire a final resolution of this matter”.
During the meeting, Rogers commented that unfortunately Skolarus still did not comply with any of the rules to even put the item on the agenda – which “continues to be a slap in the face to this board”. He said the “issue has been hashed 50 times from Sunday and it’s time to move on. Period. That’s my humble opinion”.
A link to the board packet, which contains the censure resolution and other information, is provided.