A dispute over the appointment of a new council member has embroiled the Charlotte suburban village of Marvin, which announced a temporary shutdown for this week.
A one-paragraph release Saturday said the affluent village of about 6,000 people in western Union County "will temporarily cease all village operations" until a new budget is scheduled to be adopted on July 10.
Calls to the village's phone number Monday were answered by a messaging system. The village's website lists seven staff members. The Union County Sheriff's Office provides law enforcement and the Wesley Chapel Fire Department fire protection.
State law requires that municipal budgets be adopted by July 1. Marvin's board was ready to do that on May 31, the mayor says, but the board delayed the vote.
That same night, council member Ron Salimao submitted his resignation and proposed that a former town official, Mary Shkut, replace him for the remaining 18 months of his term. With one council member absent, the motion carried on a 2-1 vote.
Mayor Joseph Pollino Jr., in a statement Monday, said he and another council member protested adding Salimao's resignation and replacement to the agenda.
"It is the opinion of the majority of the current council and the Village’s legal counsel that this move of adding this to the agenda and adding an appointment to council was invalid for a number of reasons. The majority of council has been advised (to) not discuss the matter at this time," he said.
Council members canceled a meeting on June 12 and a June 28 work session because of what Pollino called scheduling conflicts. No budget was approved by the July 1 deadline, leading to the temporary shut-down.
Shkut, in documents accompanying an online petition of support, says opposition to her views on development prompted the conflict. Shkut is a former planning board member, village clerk and administrator.
Opposing council members told her they would try to remove her from office, she wrote, and have her arrested if necessary.
"I knew this majority might have different priorities, but this response seemed irrational, given that I would be in the minority," she wrote. "I can only guess that my tendency to keep people informed, support low-density, small-scale commercial development, and maintain processes, have made me a target for the opposition."
In a June 22 letter, a lawyer representing Shkut warned council members that an attempt to remove her would violate state and federal law. "Do not take the law into your own hands," the letter said. "If you do, Mrs. Shkut, and this law firm, will hold all responsible persons accountable."
Shkut has previously been involved in controversy in Marvin. As interim village planner in early 2017, an exchange with a Charlotte real estate executive during a public meeting led to lawsuits.
The executive, Ken Orndorff, accused Shkut of slander, defamation and malicious prosecution after he said she referred to him as a "stalker." Shkut filed her own lawsuit accusing Orndorff and his company of a three-year campaign to force her out of her planning roles by "regularly harassing, degrading and belittling" her.
The cases are still unresolved in federal court.
Research Maria Albrough contributed.