Anyone who follows the actions of the Sweden Town Council can tell you that there are no leaders there.
Supervisor Rob Carges, Deputy Supervisor Robert Musebeck, and Town Council members Rebecca Donohue, Donald Roberts, and Danielle Windus-Cook all have go along to get alone personalities.
It’s nothing new. There hasn’t been a leader on the Sweden Town Council in anyone’s memory. Sweden is a one-party town, and one-party government is almost never good government.
Isn’t that one of the complaints about the City of Rochester’s government? Only there, a Republican can’t get elected.
In the Town of Sweden, if you’re not a Republican, it’s almost impossible to get elected. And when a Democrat does get elected, as Mort Wexler did years ago, they immediately get isolated by the Republican majority on the Town Board.
That’s why Mort was nothing more than a gadfly during his time on the Town Council.
So it’s no wonder that Sweden residents have been asking the same questions for years. “Who is pulling the strings in the Town of Sweden?”
There are two schools of thought.
Some people think that Director of Finance, Leisa Strabel, is calling the shots. After all, she does filter all of the email sent to Town Council members. All the email correspondence to the members of the council goes to her email address, and who knows what she does with it.
For all we know it winds up in the same cardboard box that the parking tickets were thrown into a few years back. For all we know Leisa spends precious time at work every day forwarding emails to four different people.
But other people say that Leisa doesn’t have the moxie to pull the strings of the entire Town Council.
They think that Town Attorney Jim Bell is the one pulling the strings and calling the shots in the Town of Sweden.
That makes a lot of sense. Not only is Jim Bell the Town Attorney, but according to the Sweden Republican Committee’s website, Jim Bell is also is the “Leader” of the Sweden Republican committee.
That’s right; he’s not the director or the committee chair. Bell is simply referred to as “Leader James Bell.”
And Bell’s photo appears nowhere on the Sweden Republican Committee’s website. Bell is a shadowy figure.
James D. Bell is also a divorce lawyer with offices at 62 Main Street in Brockport.
At least he's a divorce lawyer, not a criminal.
The Gingerbread Man (1998)
As Town Attorney, Bell is in on every closed door executive session of the Sweden Town Council. Bell is the person the Council turns to for legal advice, good or bad.
He’s the one who said it was okay to go into executive session to discuss the tax exemption for 60 Clinton Street, even though that is a clear violation of New York State law.
It is such an egregious violation of the law that Meaghan McDermott published an article about it last week in the Democrat and Chronicle.
WGRZ-TV Buffalo even ran a story about how, “A town board in Monroe County blatantly violated the Open Meetings Law to discuss a tax break."
However, the members of the Sweden Town Council listened to Jim Bell anyway because he’s the Town Attorney.
But the members of the Sweden Town Council also listened to Jim Bell because he is the “Leader” of the Sweden Republican Committee, and the members of the Sweden Town Council follow the leader.
That’s the way politics is in a one-party town.