A month after having her reappointment to the Brookfield Police and Fire Commission postponed, Sharon Skweres is back on board following a unanimous vote of village trustees May 22.
A member of the Police and Fire Commission since 1993, Skweres was slated to be reappointed to the board on April 24. However, Trustee Linda Stevanovich questioned the move, saying that Skweres’ appointment might possibly pack the commission with three PEP Party members, in violation of the village’s ordinance.
Stevanovich, a member of the VIP Party in Brookfield, contended that the ordinance allowed for two members from the village board majority’s party and one from the village board’s minority party. In order to sort out the matter, members of the village board, in a 4-3 vote, tabled Skweres’ appointment.
Following that vote, village officials discovered that there were, in fact, impediments to packing the Fire and Police Commission with political cronies. The village’s ordinance, which mirrors the state statute, says that “no more than two members of the board shall belong to the same political party existing in such municipality at the time of such appointments.”
Prior to 2001, that political affiliation was determined by having candidates for the commission fill out an affidavit specifying which, if any, political party he or she belonged to. The last person to file such an affidavit was Skweres, who was reappointed to the commission by then-President Bill Russ in 2001. Since then, four other members have been appointed to the commission, none of whom had an affidavit on file with the village.
Prior to the unanimous May 22 village board vote to reappoint Skweres to the Police and Fire Commission, Skweres rechristened the practice of filling out an affidavit stating political party membership. On May 18, she checked the box on the affidavit stating “I do not belong to a political party.”
Stevanovich said that her initial questioning of the reappointment shouldn’t be construed as personal.
“Sharon has done a good job,” Stevanovich said. “I just thought we were supposed to follow our own ordinance, and I guess they found a way around it.”
Village President Michael Garvey, one of five PEP Party members on the village board, said that the reinstatement of the affidavits “follow our ordinance to a T.” He added that the two other members of the Police and Fire Commission, Sean Shanahan and Richard Breckinridge had been given the affidavits to complete.
According to Garvey, both Shanahan and Breckinridge also declared that they did not belong to a local political party on their affidavits.”
“I honestly don’t know who Sharon supports or who she voted for,” Garvey said. “I didn’t ask. The Police and Fire Commission has to be completely independent of the village board. I want to keep politics out of it.”