As the election draws near, I feel that the residents of the Village of Bridgeport deserve to really know what is going on.
The Village of Bridgeport has had a volunteer fire department since 1898. The village is responsible for providing basic fire protection, and it owns the building and all of the equipment. Until March 15, 2011, all EMT's were strictly volunteers.
Citing a lack of certified personnel during the daytime hours and based on the fire chief's recommendation, council passed an ordinance to establish positions of paid EMT's. Many of you have heard of the lawsuit surrounding Ben Lenz and Dave Smith initiated by the mayor, his family and close friends. When this ordinance was passed, Ben and Dave both voted "present", the remaining four councilmen voted "yes". As you can see, there is a considerable difference between the two types of votes.
Furthermore, it has been asserted that the EMT's are paid from "tax dollars" through the village's treasury out of the EMS fund. Let me assure you that the money these EMT's are paid is not "tax dollars". They are paid through monies received through patients' insurance companies, who are billed for EMS services when they request an ambulance. These monies are then deposited in the EMS fund within the village's general fund. The Village Fiscal Officer draws the paycheck from this fund so it looks like the EMT's are receiving tax dollars. Because Ben and Dave have been firefighters and EMT's for 28 and 25 years respectively, they knew not to vote for themselves to be hired. That necessitated the "present" vote.
In my opinion this whole situation falls back on then legal counsel for the village, Attorney Richard Myser, who drafted the ordinance that paid and appointed the EMT's. It was his job to give his legal expertise to council and he should have advised Ben and Dave, that there is a legal issue of being a paid EMT and being a member of council.
When Ben and Dave became aware of the conflict, they immediately resigned as paid EMTs and properly reported themselves to the Ohio Ethics Commission. This occurred many months prior to the mayor having his family and close followers file a lawsuit in a vicious attempt to remove two good council members with whom he disagrees with, instead of extending an olive branch and working with all of council.
The mayor probably thought Ben and Dave would just walk away and not fight for what they believe in -- "THE TRUTH". With Ben and Dave gone, he would then be able to replace them with two "yes men" and keep hold of his POWER!
Ben and Dave have served the Village of Bridgeport for years, taking time away from their families to serve the residents of Bridgeport in their times of need I have known both of them for most of their lives; they are decent and caring men who want more for their village and desire to hold the mayor accountable.
We have seen this type of vengeance play out before with a few other people who ran for council and wanted to make a difference, until they gave up trying.
At one time the village employed three members of the mayor's family: (1) Shirleann Murad, the mayor's daughter, who he appointed to four different village positions; (2) Brandi Dojack, the mayor's granddaughter, who was a police dispatcher; (3) His grandson-in-law, Chad Dojack, Police Chief who was involved in the national story involving the break-in of Sarah Jessica Parker's surrogate's house.
Council is the NOT the problem in the Village of Bridgeport, contrary to how the mayor and his friends in the press portray it to be. There are four of us on council, (Myself, Ben, Dave and Marvin Husarik) that think the mayor should be accountable and serve the village as its mayor and not a "King."
The four of us will continue to do what is best for the village because we do not have any "self interest", but we also need your help.
Marvin is also a firefighter and EMT and he has served the community for twenty years.
Please remember when you vote either by absentee ballot or at the polls on Nov. 5 to cast a vote for true "Public Servants": Marvin Husarik, Ben Lenz and Dave Smith.
A vote for them is truly a vote for the Village of Bridgeport. They are definitely "FOR THE PEOPLE, NOT THE POWER."
Carole E. Lyle
Village of Bridgeport