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Local

Menard resigns as Manlius president

MANLIUS — Manlius Village President Gene Menard walked out of Tuesday’s board meeting and submitted his letter of resignation.

“I just threw up my hands,” Menard said Wednesday. “I’m done with it.”

Menard said the board has been arguing for about a year about a request from resident Tammy Benson to increase the number of liquor licenses within the village from the current two licenses to three licenses.

Menard said the issue has been on the agenda many times and had failed twice — most recently in December for the lack of a second.

Menard said he was asked in January to put the issue on the agenda for the February meeting, and he decided not to do it.

“Why should we continue to put it on the agenda?” he said. “It sets a precedent for anybody who doesn’t like how a vote goes.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, Menard said he was asked by Trustee Jan Williams why he didn’t put it on the agenda. He said he had a moral objection to having another establishment serving liquor in town, and that 99 residents had signed a petition against the new liquor license.

“I think we need to listen to what they have to say,” he said.

After explaining his reasoning, Menard said he had enough.

“I got tired of the personal attacks,” he said. “I said, ‘I’m going to make it very easy for you; deal with it yourself.’”

Menard got up and walked out and turned his keys in later that evening. He said he was told the meeting was not adjourned but recessed until a later date.

Menard had announced previously he would not run for re-election in April but said he had wished he would be able to complete his term.

“I thought I could get another couple of months,” he said. “But I’m walking out with a clear conscience.”

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

Menard's letter of resignation

"After prayerful and deliberate contemplation, I find it necessary to resign my office of Village President effective immediately due to my moral objection to increasing the number of liquor licenses available in our village. I cannot in good conscience affix my name to any ordinance which I firmly believe is not in the best interest of our residents and long-term well-being of the youth of our community.
"• Ninety-nine residents petitioned that we not allow any additional liquor licenses in our village.
"• The two existing taverns in our community of 350 residents provide adequate opportunity to serve the needs of our community.
"• We have no local law enforcement available to monitor the inherent safety concerns associated with liquor sales.
"I agree with the trustees that we need retail and commercial growth to achieve a vibrant community, but opening additional liquor establishments will not achieve our objectives.
"I thank the voters of the Village of Manlius for the opportunity to lead our Board of Trustees and preside over the construction of our sewer system, waste water treatment plant and the improvements realized in our downtown area since April 2009."
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