Lakewood village president plans to step down this summer

Serwatka: ‘It’s time for other people to step up’

Paul Serwatka’s time as Lakewood village president is coming to an end.

Serwatka said he’s ready “to go on to another chapter in my life.”

“It’s time for other people to step up,” Serwatka told the Northwest Herald on Thursday. “This summer would be great.”

Serwatka, elected in spring 2017, could have remained in office until May 2021, when his term expires.

But he said the job has put pressure on his wife and children.

“My family shouldn’t be second-class citizens,” Serwatka said, adding that he’s tired of missing family events and making his wife parent without him.

Serwatka also faced angry constituents during Tuesday’s board meeting.

Serwatka said he recently bought another home outside of the village and moved some furniture. When questioned about his residency at the meeting, Serwatka said he still lives at his Turnberry home.

Serwatka said resigning has nothing to do with moving.

“At some point I need to say I’ve done everything I can,” Serwatka said. “I’ve fulfilled all my promises at this point.”

He said “money I lost out here doing this” contributed to his decision.

Trustee Patrick Rexroat said he believes Serwatka should resign after failing to oust him and Trustee Jason McMahon during Tuesday’s meeting.

“He’s not being honest and clear,” Rexroat said, adding that the village should start considering replacements. “He’s not being forthcoming.”

Village attorney safe

During Tuesday’s tense meeting, some Lakewood residents expressed concerns that Serwatka would fire village attorney Michael Smoron.

Smoron told Serwatka that he did not have the authority to oust McMahon and Rexroat.

Serwatka claimed Smoron failed to express this opinion before the meeting and that he wouldn’t have pressed to oust the trustees in such a manner if he had known he couldn’t.

“He refused to give me an opinion one way or the other,” Serwatka said.

Smoron told those in attendance that he has had “the same opinion throughout this matter.”

Still, Serwatka said he believes a story published Monday in the Northwest Herald forced Smoron to make a decision on the matter. In the story, Smoron said he was “unaware of a basis to remove one or more trustees from the board.”

“I think that article had a lot to do with it,” Serwatka said.

When asked about Smoron’s fate, Serwatka said he has no intention to remove him.

“Mike has been great,” Serwatka said, adding that Smoron always returns calls and makes sure the board understands complex issues. “I’m not looking to get rid of Mike.”

Rexroat said he has “a lot of respect” for Smoron.

“He really stood up and held his ground,” Rexroat said.

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