Actually this is a letter to the community of Westfield. I have a confession to make. Since I travel extensively in my work, I am often driving on the interstate. My confession is that most of the time I travel at speeds in excess of the posted limits. Occasionally I get stopped by law enforcement and am issued a speeding ticket, thankfully this is an infrequent occurrence. When I do get a speeding ticket, I do not blame the officer who issued the ticket. I don't blame my truck for being capable of travelling in excess of the posted speed limit. I blame myself for driving too fast.
Now to the community of Westfield, I am very frustrated to learn that my wife Debra Puckhaber, Village Trustee, has become the face of what is wrong with the fire department's bookkeeping and expenditures of taxpayer dollars; and I am frustrated with her being the face of the inappropriate behavior of our mayor. Debra does her homework. She reads the applicable codes, bylaws, municipal laws, and any other governing documentation that applies to the situations she has been tasked with resolving.
Debra is not responsible for the alleged missing equipment and funds at the fire department. She is not responsible for the alleged co-mingling of funds between the fire department and the Firemen's Exempt Organization. She is also not responsible for the decision by the mayor to cancel energy contracts and attempt to award them to another vendor where he allegedly could stand to benefit financially.
As far as Trustee Cochran's accusations against her for violating the open meetings law I would like to see him tell the rest of the story, rather than reading from the script written by supporters of Mayor VandeVelde.
Finally in closing, I whole heartedly endorse the depiction by Dave Correll in his April 17th Westfield Republican letter to the editor of what is needed in a political leader such as a mayor and what is not. Deals being made behind closed doors, pleading ignorance when the light is shined, threatening employees for not playing along when they know what is being done will not stand the light of day. That is what we elected when we fell for the slogan "the status quo has got to go." In the interest of full disclosure, yes I voted for Mike VandeVelde. Debra and I donated substantially to his campaign, both are now deep regrets. My apologies to the residents of Westfield for this mistake, it won't happen again.
Mark J. Puckhaber