Editor’s Note: Press Statements are provided to Yellow Scene Magazine. In an effort to keep our community informed, we publish some press statements in whole. We have reached out to the two candidates running for office and currently serving as Planning Commissioners for the Town of Erie, Kelly Zuniga, and Andrew Sawsusch, for their response but were unavailable for comment as of press time. Erie Town Attorney, Kendra Carberry, returned our call but was unable to provide a public statement due to client-attorney privileges.
Adam Haid’s Public Statement:
“Yesterday was the deadline to submit applications for Mayor and Trustee candidates.
After much deliberation and a ton of back and forth, I’ve decided not to seek re-election. Instead, I will spend more of my time with my family and in self-reflection.
These last four years serving Erie as a Trustee has been incredibly fulfilling. I have learned more than I ever thought possible about how a town operates; how people operate, and what is expected of elected representatives. Serving the residents of Erie is not a simple task. Every situation is much more complex than the public knows. Every interaction has the potential for very positive outcomes or explosive division. When I felt it was necessary and would be received, I tried to provide as much context as I could about these complex situations from the dais or on social media.
During my time on the board, I have seen us accomplish many things. Here are just a few:
- We built a championship disc golf course that has seen more activity than any other outdoor amenity during its first year of existence in Erie.
- We finished the negotiations to get Nine Mile moving which will give Erie a thriving retail corner on a busy intersection.
- We approved TIF plans for businesses in Old Town that resulted in two fantastic new restaurants; The Birdhouse and Piripi.
- With the help of Senate Bill 181 we re-wrote our UDC chapter 12 applying hard limitations on oil and gas operations in town; effectively removing one of the biggest nuisances that was here when I was elected.
- Together with architects, staff, and residents, we designed Erie’s Town Center, which will be the biggest leap we’ve ever seen in commerce, dining, events, and community lifestyle for the citizens of Erie.
We had our share of difficulties too.
- The town was defrauded of $1M for the Erie Parkway bridge. Multiple staff members exited after that and our lawsuit with the insurance company is still ongoing.
- We were blocked from beginning the comprehensive plan update process because we were forced to respond to ridiculous accusations by planning commissioners Kelly Zuniga and Andrew Sawusch who also refused to meet with our attorney and solve the matter in-house. That project is still yet to get underway.
- COVID-19 caused us to shutter our town facilities for a few months and forced a lot of people to change their work, exercise, and dining habits over the last two years. Our town made it through practically unscathed. We had some hiccups but there were no furloughs or loss of significant budget because of how well our staff handled the changes. That said, we are still dealing with the remainder of the covid situation and we are still divided on how to handle mask mandates and working with two counties that don’t see eye to eye.
Nonetheless, Erie has a very bright future. Before I leave this board I plan to do as much as I can to lock us on target for maturing into our next evolution.
- We must turn Erie into a city! Changing the government structure of our town to be home rule is absolutely mandatory in order to emerge from the chrysalis of statutory rule and launch into flight.
- I am incredibly encouraged by the current makeup of our town staff. They have made some fantastic new hires in the last couple of years and are now firmly ready to take Erie forward.
- We have a wonderful resource in the coal creek that flows through town and it is time to take advantage of it. I hope to get confirmation of progress on a community art and creek restoration project that I have proposed to Malcolm and the staff before I leave.
- And finally, tonight we authorized the purchase of land for Town Center from the last holdout owner in order to begin the full buildout in earnest. I sincerely hope we have plans approved and are moving dirt before as soon as possible.
So in April, I will give up my seat as a Trustee. I will return to being a member of the public. I hope to take a few months and decompress from this experience… but I am not going anywhere. I will be here, with you, enjoying the many wonderful aspects of our community. I may seek to serve the town again in some other capacity but as of April, I will have done my civic duty, and I feel very accomplished because of it. Thank you all for this wonderful experience and for riding along on this roller coaster with me. After this election, I will certainly miss it and all of you.”
The situation Mr Haid is referring to was accusations of bid-rigging by Planning Commissioners, Andrew Sawusch and Kelly Zuniga, was covered by Yellow Scene Magazine in a July 28th, 2021 article titled, Did the Erie Mayor Tip the Scales.
While the investigations found no illegal activity, how the situation was approached gives rise to concerns.
In a follow-up conversation, Adam Haid elaborates; “The accusations of bid rigging were over the top ridiculous. They made those accusations publicly in a PC meeting. Then they refused multiple attempts by our attorney to meet in person or virtually to hear why the process was not a competitive bid and why bid rigging was an impossibility. They have a duty to meet with the town attorney because she and they are representatives of the town. After that, we were forced to hire an independent investigator who interviewed everyone and presented his findings that were exactly in line with what our attorney was trying to tell them. I have emails proving all this but they are attorney/client privileged.”
Andrew Sawusch Interview with Town Trustees for Appointment to Board