UPDATE: With no discussion, the Village Board voted 4 to 1 to remove Jim Morrill from the Plan Commission. Village Board Member Kathy Burton said she was hoping to have the issue discussed out in the open, but since it wasn't she could not support Morrill's removal. Jim Dobbs, a Village Trustee, abstained from voting. Initially, Jerry Griswold, a Village Trustee said he would abstain from voting because Morrill said he had "some type of vendetta against him," but once he realized there wouldn't be enough votes to remove Morrill he changed his mind.
ORIGINAL STORY: Plan Commission member has refused to resign his position when asked by the Village Board to step down.
At the request of theVillage Board, Ron Coutts, the Village President, asked Jim Morrill, a 10-year member of the Plan Commission, to leave the position last week saying that his conduct was “unprofessional.”
However, Morrill refused and said he feels his behavior isn’t the issue. Rather it’s his stance on how the Village should develop, and he wants those issues discussed in an open session meeting.
“I think I was being opinionated and standing up for what I believe,” Morrill said. “Outspoken is one thing, being unprofessional is another…. But I have no respect for that board. They believe that any development is good development if they can make 50 cents in tax money on it.”
Most recently, Morrill voiced opposition to , a trucking terminal, coming to the Village. During a joint meeting between the Plan Commission and the Village Board on June 14, Morrill told the Village Board that, “allowing Time Transport would be selling out Caledonia’s future.” While the Plan Commission had a tie vote, the Village Board preceded to .
But Kevin Wanggard, a Village Board member, said he took issue with Morrill’s conduct.
“Jim was asked how long he had been on the Plan Commission, and he said, ‘Probably too long,’” Wanggaard said. “Then when we do a vote, he gets upset, and closes his book like he wanted to take his bat and ball, and go home. When you behave like that, you are not serving the interest of the village.”
Morrill has also been vocal about keeping the Village’s 40 percent green space requirements, and sticking to the Village’s land use plan.
“I guess we’re at the point where if the Plan Commission doesn’t agree with the Board, you’re gone,” Morrill said. “Yes I said Time Transport was a horrible idea. It was a short-term fix for a long-term problem.
Tom Weatherston, a Village Board member, said he voted for the request and gave his reasons for asking Morrill to step down.
“Jim is just rude,” Weatherston said. “He mistreats the public citizens, and his comments are condescending to the public. After the last joint meeting a bunch of us on the Village Board decided that he does not represent Caledonia’s values in how he treats the public.
“His attitude is not reflective of how we want the public treated. It has nothing to do with the points he made.”
Coutts wasn’t at the Time Transport meeting, but has had his share of agreements and disagreements with Morrill. Still, the request came at the wishes of the Village Board, he said.
“I brought the Plan Commission and Village Board together on the Wal-Mart project and he disagreed with my decision,” Coutts said. “But as a Village President, I had the right to do this. We all agree and disagree, but once the votes have been taken, let’s go forward.”
Click here to read Jim Morrill's letter about his decision not to resign.