HOLIDAY HILLS – Village President Dan Drury’s decision to change the locks at Village Hall last month has led to the latest rift between him and several village trustees.
Drury said he changed the locks because there have been security problems at Village Hall, including vandalism and at least two missing documents, and trustees have prevented him from installing security cameras.
Trustees had access with the last set of locks, but Drury, Treasurer Joe Landers and Clerk Gina Conover are the only ones who have the new keys. Drury said he will change the locks back to allow trustees access if they pass an ordinance allowing security cameras to be installed.
“I don’t care that they have 24-hour access, but, if there’s hanky panky going on, it’s my job to protect it,” Drury said. “I’m not trying to punish them. It’s not a vindictive thing like they’re trying to imply.”
At their last meeting Tuesday, Trustee Kathy Andrews said the board feels Drury is blackmailing them.
Trustee Lou French asked Drury whether he is insinuating that a trustee is committing crimes, a charge Drury denied.
“The less people that have keys, the less suspects there are when there is a crime,” Drury said.
The argument over security cameras dates back to July, when the board approved the purchase of cameras.
Drury purchased cameras but returned them after the board later rescinded its approval, with trustees saying they wanted to pass an ordinance to regulate the viewing of security footage.
Village attorneys drafted an ordinance, and Drury asked the board to pass it Feb. 15, according to minutes. French said he did not approve of the ordinance’s wording.
“We want the ordinance to state that nobody, including [Drury], can have access to viewing the footage without going through one of our police officers, and it would have to be at least three board members and the president,” French said. “We didn’t want anybody to be able to sit at their house, including ourselves, and ‘big brother’ the Village Hall.”
French also said it’s never been proven that the two documents alleged to be stolen existed.
Drury and French were supposed to meet with attorneys to edit the ordinance but have not.
The changed locks were one of many issues raised at a question-and-answer session with Village Attorney David McArdle. Trustees are retaining attorney James Kelly, and the rift between the two parties has been ongoing for months.
When asked after the meeting what it would take to get the village government to function smoothly again, both Drury and French pointed to next year’s municipal election.
“I’m hoping to get three new trustees to replace the incumbent trustees, and maybe they’ll have a little more of an open mind,” Drury said.
“When I was running, I said we had a lot of people with good resources here in the village. It’s time we tap into it,” French said. “All we need is people that listen to one another. There shouldn’t be one person thinking they control everything.”