By Megann Horstead | For The Sentinel
Shorewood Mayor Rick Chapman has come under fire recently for using village-owned gas to fuel his personal car.
The matter was discussed by village officials following a concern raised by a resident at their April 11 meeting. Chapman was absent.
Attendee Jim Lynch, of Shorewood, said he felt compelled to speak.
“There was a postcard sent around showing him pumping gas out of the village tank somewhere,” he said. “The clear implication was that was something he shouldn’t been doing, which distresses me greatly if that is in fact the case.”
Trustee Daniel Anderson, who presided over the mayor’s duties that evening, said village officials are aware of the matter.
“We are looking into it,” he said. “We do have some records that have been picked up. Our attorney is looking into it. Our auditors may take a look at it and see where we’re going to head with it. We’re going to be reviewing our policies on board purchases and what to expect.”
“Hopefully, in a couple weeks we’ll have a better answer,” Anderson said.
Village staff drafted policies for reimbursement and pump policies, and they’re currently under review.
Trustee Edmund Murphy said the board has heard no explanation for this.
“We don’t know anything, but it seems to me—as a minimum—as a board, we have to make sure that we direct the administrator to de-activate any chip card or authorizations that might come from that pump that are in the possession of the mayor,” he said. “I really find that I’m very bothered by this.”
Village officials agreed that shutting off the chip is fair.
Trustee Anthony Luciano acknowledged that the mayor should get a chance to explain himself and said he thinks there’s a lot the village must examine.
“There’s many facets to what just happened that this was able to happen for this amount of time that no one on this board knowing anything about,” he said. “It disturbed me a great deal.”
Luciano added that the village board should be more active in the handling of this matter and he would like to be kept informed as soon as new developments surface.
Village Attorney Dave Silverman said that’s a fair request.
Luciano said this matter should be put on either the agenda for the next village board or committee of the whole.
Murphy agreed with Luciano.
“The way it should be done is as open as we can make it,” he said. “The Committee of the Whole is not televised.”
Luciano wants the attorney to provide some direction to the village on possible consequences the mayor could face.
“Anyone one of us if it wasn’t the mayor, if it was anybody that did something like this, we’d certainly look to you for advice of what are options [of] where to go,” he said. “That’s all I’m asking here for.”
Silverman said he thinks that is fair and can certainly do that.
Anderson said after the meeting, Chapman told the board he would be out of town.
Chapman could not be reached for comment.