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New Merrillville Stormwater board member unhappy with ‘meeting’

Updated: March 2, 2013 7:10AM



MERRILLVILLE — The newest member of the town’s Stormwater Management Board is crying foul after he said he was told to leave when he stumbled upon a meeting with one board member present.

Leonard White said he happened to stop by the Stormwater Department office on Thursday and saw board member Barbara Gholston, executive director Matt Lake and board attorney James Meyer together with a table full of documents.

“They told me I had to leave because there would be two board members present, which would constitute a quorum. It would have been an illegal meeting because it wasn’t advertised,” White said.

The Stormwater Management Board has three members: White, Gholston and town zoning director Dorinda Gregor. Two members would be a quorum. Gregor was not at the meeting.

“I felt offended, that they disrespected me as a board member,” said White, who was appointed to the board in a split decision by the Town Council earlier this month.

White replaced former board president Bud Crist, although three council members, Lake and Gholston urged the other four council members to retain him.

But both Lake and Meyer said Tuesday there was not a board meeting on Thursday, that they were meeting with Gholston to go over agenda items for the next board meeting since, as vice president, she would now be the acting president.

“She’s never run a meeting before and wanted to make sure she would do everything right,” Lake said of Gholston.

Meyer said he explained to White on Thursday that if he or any other board member attended the get-together it would constitute an illegal meeting.

Meyer said it is a common practice for board attorneys to meet with board presidents prior to meetings in the event they need any questions answered. He said this way, the president could properly conduct the meeting.

Lake also pointed out that he met with just White a few weeks earlier. Lake said Meyer was not at that meeting because he wasn’t requested to be there.

“Anyone who would want to meet with me can at any time,” Lake said.

White said he felt it was inappropriate to assume Gholston would be board president and said he still hasn’t received a phone call from anyone at the meeting telling him what occurred.

Regarding Lake’s statement that he had met with him earlier, White said he had received a briefing on how the organization operates.

“I wouldn’t call that a meeting,” White said.

“You don’t have a one-person meeting. Matt doesn’t work only for (Gholston); he works for all of us board members,” White said.

“I don’t know where I stand with this organization,” said White, who is employed as a solid waste specialist with Lake County Solid Waste Management District.

Meyer said White has his phone number and email and he told White the night he was appointed to the board that he could call him at any time.



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