Three members of the five-member Elmwood Village Board resigned last week, citing what Jack Hovick described as a culture of "poison."

Hovick said Wednesday that after months spent trying to work through board issues in a logical manner, it all "snowballed" and came to a head at an Oct. 18 meeting, where he, Brody Baer and Mike Krass submitted their resignations.

Without a quorum, Secretary of State John Gale this week scheduled a special election Dec. 12 to fill the vacancies.

In an interview, Hovick said his year on the board was filled with drama and conflict.

"The big thing was the park project," he said, referring to an ongoing improvement project. After a budget was set and $128,000 had been allocated to the project, Hovick said that Village Board Chairwoman Pat Wray allocated an additional $28,500 without gaining approval from other board members.

When a motion to approve minutes of two previous meetings failed 3-2 during the Oct. 18 meeting, a heated discussion between board members ensued.

Krass, who was elected in 2014, was the first to resign, followed by Hovick and Baer.

In his resignation letter, which according to board policy must be presented in writing during a meeting, Baer said that Wray's actions during her time as chairwoman were rude, unethical and illegal.

"I can't make it through a single meeting without some sort of fear (that) you are going to yell at me ... or be upset," wrote Baer, an Elmwood native who had been on the board for a year. "That is essentially you shunning me for my actions if they don't agree with yours."

In his resignation, Hovick said Wray makes decisions without consulting other board members, and that she does not honor decisions made by the board as a whole.

Both Baer and Hovick cited an instance where Wray had gone through with adding rock to a village street after the board had voted against the proposal.

The board chair is appointed annually by other members.

"To be completely honest, I did nominate and vote for the current chairperson and it is probably the biggest mistake I have ever made," Hovick said in his letter.

Hovick and Baer have called for Wray to resign or be removed from office. Wray and Julie Anderson are the only remaining members of the board.

Wray said Tuesday they are "in the process of figuring it out," but did not comment on the former board members' accusations. Until the election, "the board has no way to function," she said.

The special election will have two separate races. One will determine two board members with terms through December 2018. The other is for a board member through December 2020.

Candidates have until Nov. 9 to file. If no one files in either of the races, the election will be determined by write-in votes. It has not yet been determined whether the election will be held at the polls or by mail.

Elmwood is located 23 miles east of Lincoln.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7223 or hmuslic@journalstar.com.

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