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Council scofflaws

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Mike_Presta View Drop Down
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    Posted: Jun 01 2014 at 5:25am

According to The Middletown Journal:

On Thursday afternoon, retiring City Manager Judy Gilleland met with staff members and the five City Council members to discuss the city’s finances through April 2014.”

According to the Ohio Revised Code, “any prearranged discussion of the public business of the public body by a majority of its members” is a meeting of City Council and must be announced to and open to the public.

Of course, following this law has never seemed to matter to past city councils (which included some of the current members) and this present council appears to scoff at this law as well!!  Closed-door meetings seem to be the preference. 

What kind of attorneys do we have on council and on city staff that they cannot comprehend this simple and clearly written law???

“Mulligan said he ... doesn’t believe they necessarily make the return on investment necessary to keep funding them.” …The Middletown Journal, January 30, 2012
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mike_Presta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 01 2014 at 5:34am
Why aren't/weren't these discussions held at a regular City Council meeting, where such discussions of public business are supposed to be held???
“Mulligan said he ... doesn’t believe they necessarily make the return on investment necessary to keep funding them.” …The Middletown Journal, January 30, 2012
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 01 2014 at 8:44am

Posted: 12:00 a.m. Sunday, June 1, 2014

District narrows treasurer search to two

By Rick McCrabb

Staff Writer

MIDDLETOWN 

    Middletown residents will have an opportunity to ask questions of the two finalists for the school district’s treasurer position.

    The board of education will hold a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. June 10 on the fourth floor of the City Building. A panel of community leaders, moderated by Rick Pearce, president of the Chamber serving Middletown, Monroe and Trenton, will ask questions. The public is invited to attend and to provide their input through comment cards, said Marcia Andrew, school board president.

    She said the district received about 15 applicants and the board narrowed the field to two: Randy Bertram and Teresa Napier, both of whom have treasurer experience.

    Bertram has been treasurer at Northwest District in Hamilton County for six years, and before that, he was treasurer at Lebanon and Edgewood for two years each, and served as assistant treasurer in Hamilton and Xenia.

    The Waynesville resident said he wants to work closer to home so he can spend more time with his grandchildren and care for his parents. He’s also attracted to Middletown because it’s a smaller community and that “fits my roots.”

    Napier has served as the New Richmond District treasurer since 1995 and for two years at Georgetown. Before that, she was an auditor for Fifth/Third and PNC banks.

    She said New Richmond has built six schools during her tenure, and she’d like to work in Middletown because the district is building a middle school and renovating its high school after the bond issue passed.

    Andrew said the treasurer plays “a critical part of leadership” in the district.

    Andrew said after the public forum, the board will meet in executive session and possibly decide to make an offer to one of the candidates. The district’s treasurer, Kelley Thorpe, is resigning when her contract expires on July 31, she has said. She is retiring for “personal reasons,” she said.

Gilleland meets with staff

    On Thursday afternoon, retiring City Manager Judy Gilleland met with staff members and the five City Council members to discuss the city’s finances through April 2014. She wanted to meet “face-to-face” before she retired at the end of this week.

    Some highlights:

    City income taxes are up $327,888 compared to the same time last year. The city typically has received 38 percent of total annual revenue by the end of April.

    The “harsh winter” was blamed on additional expenditures in the auto and gas tax fund.     The city spent $9,000 on overtime and additional salt purchases of $281,401 from January through April this year, compared to $178,490 last year during the same time.

    The Airport Fund is budgeted $87,000 for income transfers this year, but through April, the city has subsidized it $8,700. Gilleland praised the airport leadership, and the city’s economic development department for taking the airport “the way we want it to go.”

    The city hopes to close on Sebald Park and Weatherwax Golf Course before the end of the month, said Doug Adkins, director of community revitalization. He said the city spent $160,000 on chemicals earlier in the spring and $10,000 to remove diesel tanks off the golf course.

    The city is estimated to net $75,524 off the sale of Weatherwax, which it sold to a Hamilton auctioneer for $1.6 million. The city owes $688,000 principal on its debt, and $478,000 on its golf cart lease.

Retirement reception Thursday

    There will be a retirement reception from 2 to 4 p.m. Thursday for Middletown City Manager Judy Gilleland, who’s retiring at the end of the week after a six-year career.

    The public is invited to attend the reception on the fourth floor (Learning Center) in the City Building.

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Perplexed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 01 2014 at 8:48am
Mike, I can tell you first-hand that Judy always operates on a Need To Know basis. In her mind, the citizens of the city can be a nuisance at times. After all, they don't have the intellect to comprehend the inner-workings of the city. I ask you to recall how that Judy and Ginger Smith scuttled the former HUD Community Development Advisory Committee comprised of: Paul Renwick, Walter Leap, Bert Gtimes, Robin McNally French, Chris Amburgey, Wanda Glover, Rev. Mitchell Foster, Rosaleen Lindsey, etc.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote over the hill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 01 2014 at 11:17am
Does any one have that number of the Ohio Revised Code about these type of meetings?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Factguy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 01 2014 at 1:23pm
http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2323.52
 
Just1 optimistic citizen.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote over the hill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 01 2014 at 2:15pm
I think most of the questions arrising from this issue can probably be answered in the Sunshine law 101.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mike_Presta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 01 2014 at 7:33pm
Originally posted by over the hill over the hill wrote:

Does any one have that number of the Ohio Revised Code about these type of meetings?
ORC 121.22
“Mulligan said he ... doesn’t believe they necessarily make the return on investment necessary to keep funding them.” …The Middletown Journal, January 30, 2012
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FmrMide81 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 01 2014 at 8:04pm
Or just Google "Things Les Landen Ignores"...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 02 2014 at 1:10pm
Judge: Clearcreek Township officials violated open meeting laws
Clearcreek Township officials violated state law by holding secret meetings, a Warren County judge ruled Tuesday.

LEBANON - Clearcreek Township officials violated state law by holding secret meetings, a Warren County judge ruled Tuesday.

Warren County Common Pleas Court Judge James Flannery found that township officials violated Ohio's Open Meetings Act on multiple occasions when they attended informal meetings in the township administrator's office prior to the public session to discuss agenda items and other matters.

The judge, noting that violations are "likely to reoccur," issued an injunction against future violations.

"Public bodies are not free to ignore the Sunshine Law no matter how beneficently motivated," Flannery wrote in his ruling.

The law requires that public officials take official action and conduct all "deliberations upon official business" only in open meetings unless the subject matter is specifically exempt by law.

It defines meetings as any prearranged discussion of public business that includes a quorum of the public body.

Chris Finney

The suit, brought by resident Jack Chrisman against the township and current trustee Glenn "Ed" Wade, accused township officials of violating state law on six occasions in 2009-2011 when public business was discussed by a majority of the three-member board in the pre-meeting sessions.

The public was not invited, nor did trustees give notice of the meetings or file minutes of what was discussed, he argued.

Flannery found violations to have occurred in four of the six occasions.

Township officials, he found, engaged in pre-meeting deliberations regarding an employee's pay raise, contracts to hire companies to paint the township's government center and provide lawn care at Patricia Allyn Park and a change to the township's zoning laws regarding nuisances.

In two other cases, involving alleged deliberations on a 2011 decision to switch the township's electric service provider and an agreement to create a self-insurance health program for township employees, the judge found insufficient evidence to prove violations occurred.

Chrisman's attorney, Chris Finney, said the judge's ruling has far-reaching consequences for government agencies across the state.

"The issue isn't Clearcreek Township; it's open government," he said. "We sent a clear call to townships, counties and school boards across the state that open meetings laws must be followed."

Chrisman first filed the case in 2011, but Flannery initially tossed it out at the request of the township, saying there was no evidence the trustees were conducting formal deliberations at the meetings.

Chrisman appealed the case and won. The two-day trial took place Jan. 30-31.

The next battle will come at an upcoming hearing to be scheduled to decide how much, if any, the township will be ordered to pay in attorney fees and damages.

Open meeting violations carry fines of up to $500 for each violation, plus attorney's fees. However, courts have discretion to reduce or eliminate attorney's fees if it finds that officials reasonably believed they were not violating the law or that their actions served public policy.

John D. Smith, the attorney representing the township, argued the pre-meeting sessions were merely "fact-finding" sessions and that officials viewed the gatherings as a "well-intentioned effort to efficiently and responsibly discharge their duties as public officials, not to deliberate in secret."

In his ruling, the judge wrote he found "absolutely no evidence" that the violations were "mean spirited" or deliberate and that township officials "legitimately wanted to know more information to be able to do their job to the best of their ability."

Smith said the trial could have been avoided if former Trustee Cathy Anspach and Linda Oda, the township's publicly elected fiscal officer, had raised the issue to trustees and argued their motives to be politically driven.

Anspach testified that trustees would discuss what they thought about issues and occasionally remove items from the agenda.

Oda testified that officials dismissed her concerns that the meetings violated state law, but admitted she did not share her concerns with the township's legal counsel nor bring them up in a public meeting.

"Hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent to make a mountain out of a molehill," said Smith. "You look at these violations and of course there's nothing monumental in any of this. Clearly, they used poor form."

Finney said the township could have resolved the issue for less than $20,000 by admitting guilt and settling the case when it was first filed in 2011. He's now asking for more than $250,000 in attorney's fees.

"It was John Smith and the trustees who decided to go on this warfare that has lasted three years to defend practices that they knew from day one were impermissible," he said. "It was their choice, not mine, to run this thing on."

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 02 2014 at 1:16pm
HERE IS THE REST OF THIS STORY
http://www.scribd.com/doc/212049131/State-ex-rel-Chrisman-v-Clearcreek-Township-trial-decision
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 02 2014 at 4:35pm

State ex rel Chrisman v Clearcreek Township trial decision

Ratings:  (0)|Views: 287|Likes: 0

Published by Finney Law Firm, LLC

Trial decision of Judge Flannery in State ex rel Chrisman v. Clearcreek Township.
Judge Flannery granted a permanent injunction against
Clearcreek Township prohibiting violations of Ohio's Open Meetings Law.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 02 2014 at 4:39pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 02 2014 at 4:42pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 02 2014 at 4:43pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 02 2014 at 4:45pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 02 2014 at 4:47pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote over the hill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 03 2014 at 1:04pm
Speaking of council: Will we hear at the council meeting tonight if Dougie has signed his contract? I can't believe council is allowing him to dictate the terms of his contract. I guess thay are to blind to see his arrogant behavior is only the beginning of him controlling them instead of them being his boss. Or maybe he has something on them. Well I guess we'll find out if they have the ba--s to tell him no.IMO
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 03 2014 at 2:39pm
No problem. This council likes to be told what to do as long as it comes from their select friends. They can step on council and they won't mutter a word. They, and their little buddies could care less hearing from the rest of us. No free thinkers welcomed on this council. Mr. Laubach was the latest casualty. They tend to oust all who would confront, question and otherwise deviate from the normal operation using the little "candidate maneuver" game they play at election time. Clueless and obedience without question, all that is needed for passing Councilmember 101. Just wonder what they think when they look at themselves in the mirror.
I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 03 2014 at 2:53pm
OVER THE HILL
I believe this management style is called the "Tail wagging the dog"
City Council was looking for someone to play gun slinger...so when everything starts falling apart they can blame it on Dougie and they can say we didn't know anything about that...
If he is approved by this city council I hope they are ready for all that will follow. 
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