(9:10 PM) Lakewood Trustees Question Spending By Mayor

Lakewood Mayor Cara Birrittieri is absent from Monday's village board meeting in which a letter questioning expenditures was discussed. Trustee Ellen Barnes, left, composed a letter to be filed with Village Clerk Joseph Johnson that details how Birrittieri may have directed Douglas Conroe of the Chautauqua Lake Association to take lake water samples. P-J photo by Eric Zavinski

LAKEWOOD — Mayor Cara Birrittieri was absent from the Lakewood Village Board’s meeting Monday as her fellow trustees discussed whether water samples taken near village shores at her request was considered an unlawful expenditure without full board approval.

Trustee Ellen Barnes said Douglas Conroe, executive director of the Chautauqua Lake Association, told her that the mayor directed his organization June 12 to take water samples of Chautauqua Lake in the waters near village shores because the mayor and some residents had been concerned that herbicides were applied in Lakewood waters, a practice that had not been approved.

While test results were negative for herbicides Aquathol K and Navigate, Barnes’ concerns were raised as to why Birrittieri allowed the testing without the approval of the other four board members.

During a discussion over the letter, trustees Ted McCague and Douglas Schutte did not agree that Birrittieri even asked for the tests to be done. McCague elaborated further, that even if she had, the total $853.40 charge was allowed within the scope of her budget as mayor.

Trustees Barnes and Randall Holcomb signed the letter to be filed with the town clerk because they said they were following an appropriate timeline in which to let the claims be known. Birrittieri will have a chance to answer the accusations at a later date.

See tomorrow’s edition of The Post-Journal for complete coverage.