3 Albion village trustees vote ‘no confidence’ in mayor

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 January 2023 at 8:53 pm

Mayor Angel Javier Jr. is at left, Trustee Tim McMurray is at right.

ALBION – Three of the trustees on the Albion Village Board voted “no confidence” in Mayor Angel Javier Jr., saying he acted unilaterally in breaching a union contract with Albion police officers.

Trustees Tim McMurray, Zachary Burgess and Chris Barry this evening voted for a “vote of no confidence” and that the mayor be censured. They asked village attorney John Gavenda to see if there are any legal steps that can be taken for the mayor’s removal from office.

Deputy Mayor Joyce Riley didn’t vote with the other three. Mayor Javier, after the meeting, called the vote of no confidence ‘bull s—.”

The three trustees said Javier acted in conduct unbecoming of a mayor by acting on his own accord and breaching the union contract.

Javier reduced officers’ salary by 5 percent after a firm looked over officers’ pay and determined they had received $236,000 in overpayments over five years based on a miscalculation by the village. The officers switched from 40-hour weeks with five 8-hour shifts to 84-hour pay periods every two weeks, with seven 12-hour shifts. That change was intended to help reduce overtime in the police department.

Javier contends the village made a mistake in the officers’ pay rate, dividing the annual salaries by 2,080 hours instead of 2,184 when the new agreement started with the 84-hour pay periods. Using the smaller number of 2,080 hours resulted in higher hourly pay rates.

McMurray doesn’t believe an error was ever made by the village. He faulted Javier for not sitting down with police union leaders and discussing the issue at length before lowering their pay. If the issue had gone to arbitration, McMurray said the village would have lost.

He also faulted Javier for promoting “false narratives” in the media about the issue which created “a hesitant working relationship with the PBA and unwarranted public scrutiny.”

McMurray also said the report from Bonadio Group has been wrongly characterized as an audit when it was “merely a confirmation of information.” But McMurray said the report used the 2,184 hours to determine the hourly rate when the PBA insists it should have been 2,080 hours. A settlement agreement in November between the board and the Police Benevolent Association says the hourly rate will be based on dividing the annual pay by 2,080 hours.

“The mayor has damaged the reputation of the Village Board of Trustees with the public, PBA and other departments within the village resulting in decreased morale and several employees attempting to and or actually leaving their positions as result,” McMurray said in introducing the resolution.

Javier was elected to a four-year term as mayor last March at age 32. He ran under the Republican line and independent “Better Together Albion Strong.” He was the top vote-getter among three candidates.

He said this after the meeting that he was right to raise the issue of overpayments. The Village Board in November settled with the union when it raised other issues that the union said would cost $714,000 for Fair Labor and Standards Act violations.

Javier said he remains committed to the job as mayor and being a good steward of the village tax dollars.

The PBA said the issue cost the village at least $38,000 with $16,000 for the Bonadio Group, $15,000 to make police officers whole and $7,500 to pay for the police officers’ attorneys. McMurray citing those costs as an unnecessary expense.

Ron Vendetti, a former village code enforcement officer, spoke at the meeting and told the board members they should try to get along and work together for the community.

“Everyone needs to settle down a little bit,” Vendetti said. “You look like the federal government with all the infighting.”