To the Residents of the Village of Stockbridge and surrounding community,
Many of you woke up today and heard through social media, a text, or call from someone that Mr. Funk had made the decision to cancel the Stockbridge picnic for this year with the explanation based on a dispute with the Village. Mr. Funk’s portrayal of this was oversimplified and does a disservice to every one of the people who have been working together in many meetings, all of which included public notice and open discussion of this topic, towards a common goal. It is disappointing that this was presented in a manner that instantly created confusion, division and mistrust within our community and was an extremely poor representation of what have been open and ongoing efforts by the Village Board to serve the communities interests for today and the future.
The notice posted requires several important items be addressed and clarified:
1. The Village of Stockbridge will have a community picnic. We will work with any and all interested community organizations, clubs, businesses and individuals to establish a committee to accomplish this. We respect the efforts of those who have organized this event in the past however this is and always has been a representation of our community and one individual or group will not stand in the way of its continuance.
2. The Stockbridge Fire Department and members have been outstanding as the organizer and primary sponsor of the annual picnic however Mr. Funk has grossly misrepresented how this is impacted by the negotiations the village has been having with regards to the physical park property. There is absolutely no reason the Fire Department could not sponsor their annual picnic this year. The Stockbridge Legion-Firemen Community Park has been under the authority of the Village of Stockbridge since 2014 and since that time the Fire Department has sponsored their picnic every year except during the covid outbreak. The ownership of the property is not now nor has never been related to the ability of the Fire Department to hold the picnic.
3. Mr. Funk posted this notice as Fire Chief on the official Stockbridge Fire Department Facebook page however this again misrepresents the relationship of the parties involved in ongoing negotiations with the Village Board. Those negotiations have been between the Village and a recently incorporated entity known as Community Park, Inc. Mr. Funk is the registered agent and a director of this corporation which was created to seek ownership of the park property.
4. Mr. Funk has implied that specific members of the Village Board hold responsibility for his decision however neglects to inform that every member of the Village Board that served during the previous term – when negotiations were initiated – voted to proceed with a transfer of the park property and every current member has supported this. Members of the Village Board have a legal and ethical responsibility as elected officials to use due diligence and follow all state statues when carrying out their duties. In many cases, including any transfer of property, this includes legal consultation which raised several concerns that the board properly wished to remedy including the proper structure of the new park entity and having a certified survey map completed. While this has taken a number of months, most of those concerns had been resolved and the board agreed during the June 1st meeting to a timeframe and effort to resolve the remaining items.
There is considerable history leading to today’s event that cannot be completely covered here and this statement is only a summary that, while representative of the issue, does not constitute any official meeting or action by the Village Board. We ask that if you have questions or input that you email these to the board at firstname.lastname@example.org so they may be properly addressed.
Village of Stockbridge Board of Trustees