By Josh Stipanovich
Bob Lidle, the Poland Township trustee who installed permanent lines from a village electrical box for Celebrate Poland activities, apologized for the miscommunication about his action and asked for one in return from village council.
“Quite honestly, I thought all the bases were covered,” Lidle, who is a licensed electrician, contractor and instructor, told council at its meeting Tuesday evening. “I don’t have any problems with the fact that we had a miscommunication. We need to do better with the respect to that. At the same time, there was an inference that I had stolen something, and I would appreciate that being cleared up.”
He said he talked to school board and council members about the installation beforehand and even saw several of them the day he was installing the lines.
“My bottom line, with respect to all this stuff, is that I would just like to have some vindication ... from this body that I did not do anything criminal,” Lidle said.
Mayor Tim Sicafuse said all they were looking for was an apology.
“Yeah, the service is there to use, but not to cut into and run lines,” Sicafuse said. “We had an inspection guy come out, and he found eight things wrong with it.”
“As a professional electrician, what I put in there was done by the book. It was done by code,” Lidle told Sicafuse. “Again, Mr. Mayor, I’m not looking to get into any kind of fight. ... It was just the inference.”
Greg Morrison, Celebrate Poland president, also spoke to council members and apologized. He said the lines were installed mainly for safety purposes.
In years past, extension cords were used as the electrical source for the events.
“Instead of having the electrical cords out there laying there so that people could trip on or [be electrocuted], we decided to dig,” Morrison said.
He added that he never needed permission in the past to run the cords from the electrical box, which was installed several years ago specifically for the annual Celebrate Poland event.
“It was kind of always one of those things where we thought we had that box,” Morrison said. “We have a good committee, ... and I don’t want to see a black mark on that event. I hope you will accept that part of the apology I have.”
He added that he also didn’t want it to negatively affect the Celebrate Poland committee, either, as nearly 90 percent of the money for Celebrate Poland comes from donations and sponsorships.
“I think I can speak for council that we have nothing but admiration for what you guys do for Celebrate Poland,” Sicafuse said. “It’s a wonderful thing. It gets bigger every year, better every year.”
The other part of Morrison’s apology involved Lidle and the initial media report July 10.
“It didn’t look good for all of us, including Celebrate Poland, you guys sitting here, and of course, Bob,” Morrison said. “It made it look like Bob stole electricity ... and that didn’t happen. We were doing that for the safety, and we didn’t go through the right channels, I guess, to get permission for it.”
Morrison and Lidle said they would make sure to get council’s official permission in the future.
Sicafuse reiterated that this issue was not geared toward the Celebrate Poland committee or trustees.
“We weren’t looking for this,” Sicafuse said. “This was thrown on our lap, and I didn’t call the news media. I didn’t tell them to report this. Don’t think I have anything against Mr. Lidle, or Celebrate Poland or the trustees. We had more important things to do than worry about stuff like this.”
Village officials hired an electrical company that uninstalled the additional tie-ins July 9, and a lock was placed on the box so that nobody can access it. Sicafuse said then that the $118 bill the village received for the work would be mailed to Lidle, but Lidle said he has not received any invoices.
Lidle added that he talked to Sicafuse and Bill Dunnavant, council member, after the meeting and told them he always would be available, free of charge, in the future for any electrical work they needed done in the village.