Vernon Council’s broken promises

| 28 Nov 2022 | 02:21

    Way back in the year 2021 – exactly 13 months ago, from the date of this letter – current Vernon Council Members Natalie Buccieri, Brian Lynch, and Patrick Rizzuto were campaigning for office. They ran on a similar platform: trust and transparency in government.

    From Council President Rizzuto: “Trust in your government comes from the open conduct of township business professionally with ready public participation.” (

    From Council Member Lynch: “The three priorities I have are taxes, government transparency, and the right for every taxpayer to have their voices heard. If elected, I will welcome public comment and will also respond. In the last five years this council has taken steps with ordinance revisions to silence the taxpayer voice. This is un-American and needs to be changed immediately. The way our council meetings are now is not the way a transparent government operates.” (

    And best yet, from Council Vice President Buccieri: “Trust between citizens and government is key. Whether or not the assessment is fair or simply perceived, lack of transparency and trust is an issue that has plagued our government at every level ... As a council member I plan to propose a transparent appointment process should a member resign and a new council member needs to be appointed.” (

    For those who have been attending Vernon Township Council meetings, it’s abundantly clear that transparency is the last thing we’ve seen from the current council. That issue hit a peak of opacity at the Nov. 10, 2022, Special Council Meeting where the council – at that point, just Rizzuto, Buccieri, and Lynch - voted on Resolution #22-258 to appoint a council member to fill Harry Shortway’s vacant seat.

    Did Rizzuto ensure “open conduct,” with discussion and consideration of candidates? Did Lynch “respond” to public comment on the process? And did Buccieri put forth her promised “transparent appointment process,” a golden opportunity for that which she campaigned on?

    Of course not. The council simply appointed someone with no discussion whatsoever. Regardless of now Council Member Joe Tadrick’s qualifications (which I am not questioning or disputing – and how could I, since the council never discussed them?), the actions of our council display naught but disrespect for us, the people.

    Vernon deserves better.

    - Mark Heftler

    Highland Lakes