It is disappointing to read that Mayor Molly Doss resigned as mayor of Monroeville. I have come to know her as a principled leader who acted in the best interest of the people even when her opinions were not popular. During the past year she has been lambasted by members of the Monroeville Village Council. She refused to criticize those who attacked her knowing that nothing good could come of it.
Doss listened to members of Trinity Lutheran Church when the village administrator attempted to impose unreasonable, uncodified construction requirements (a $25,000 underground storm water detention system) on the property that is now the church parking lot. She listened to the church's concerns and allowed a member of the congregation, Jim Herner, to air his grievances at a village council meeting.
Herner's comments have been characterized as being harsh. However, the sharpest remark made by Herner is that the former village administrator was acting as "judge, jury, and executioner" of the village code. This was later proven true by the Planning Commission and Village Council as they both unanimously approved the church's construction plan that did not include the requirements that Ken Knuth attempted to impose. Doss has been criticized for not defending Knuth, but when they voted, none of the village leaders stood behind his demands.
After that meeting, Knuth resigned. He stated his reason for leaving was that he did not want to bring bad publicity to the village. It was not the fault of Doss or Herner that the village administrator quit his job; Knuth made that decision on his own. Some members of the Monroeville Village Council have gone out of their way to blame and seek retribution for his resignation from the mayor and Trinity Lutheran Church. They have bad mouthed the mayor at every opportunity whether she was present or not. When she offered to fill the post of village administrator with no additional compensation they ignored her offer and voted instead to pay a stipend to the village clerk/treasurer to take on those duties.
When Herner offered to assist the planning commission in updating their building and zoning codes his help was refused. At the most recent village council meeting Doss nominated Tom White (formerly served as mayor, village council member and member of the zoning board) to fill a vacancy on the zoning board. Village council member Theresa Fries publicly remarked that she was "not comfortable with it because he is a member of Trinity Church." After her remarks, no member of the council seconded the nomination and White was refused the opportunity to serve the village.
Doss was apparently the only member of the elected village leadership that understood that the constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of religious affiliation. Fries, who made the comments, and the rest of the village council, who let them go unchecked, need to consider how their words, actions and inactions affect the community and the credibility of its government.
I do not blame Doss for resigning. She sought to reconcile the village leadership for more than six months since Knuth quit, but some members of the council would have nothing to do with it. It is long past time that the village leadership quits behaving so badly and starts working for the good of its citizens again. If Fries, or any other member of the village council, is unwilling to include and represent all members of the community then she ought to submit her resignation as well.