Citizens comment on AMP presentation, Council's efforts
By Matt Echelberry
After legislation was discussed at the Oct. 23 Galion City Council meeting, Council member Cathy George encouraged citizens to participate in the Community Care March on Nov. 3. The event starts at 8 a.m. at Heise Park, then the march to the Uptown Square commences at 9 a.m.
Police Chief Brian Saterfield also endorsed the event, saying that it is a chance for the community to get together. “This is not just Galion. It’s about the county standing up against the drug issue,” he commented.
- Galion Police Chief Brian Saterfield talks about the Community Care March on Nov. 3.
Council member Tom Fellner requested a public hearing for a rezoning request for three properties on Portland Way North. It will be held on Dec. 11 during the Council meeting.
In city manager comments, Gene Toy announced the “Trick or Treat Walk Your Feet” event on Thursday, Oct. 25 from 4–5 p.m. Uptowne businesses will have candy available for Trick-or-Treaters. Galion’s Trick or Treat is Sunday, Oct. 28 from 2–4 p.m.
Toy said that department heads have submitted preliminary 2013 budget information to the county supervisor’s office. Also, on Oct. 19 the Ohio Public Works Commission subcommittee met. Toy commented that it looks positive for Galion to receive funding for the projects authorized at the Oct. 9 Council meeting for street resurfacing and storm water work.
The Taylor Road compost site will be open Nov. 16 and 17, 7:30–10:30 a.m. That will be the final weekend for the year.
Toy also said approximately 1,055 applications were received for reflective house signs and smoke detectors, paid for through the Fire Department’s FEMA grant funds.
In citizen comments, Mike Richard said he was disappointed that Council and the Charter have led the city to the situation the voters face on Nov. 6. He said Issue 5 has pitted neighbor against neighbor, and some people on Council are to blame.
Paula Durbin also addressed Council. She said the presentation by American Municipal Power, during the Oct. 9 Council meeting, was “a great disappointment” and nothing but “smoke and mirrors.”
“I got the impression that it was a carefully orchestrated presentation so as not to allow citizens to ask any questions,” Durbin concluded.
She said that after the presentation, when the AMP representatives fielded questions in the Township Room, she asked John Bentine, general counsel for AMP, what would happen if a city defaulted on the Prairie State contract. According to Durbin, he replied that each city would have to pay 25 percent of the defaulter’s payment.
Kate Strickler also referred to the AMP presentation in her comments. Following the presentation, while the rest of the meeting was still proceeding, Strickler was standing in the hall with her husband.
She said a male member of AMP (referring to Bentine) stepped into the hall to make a phone call and she witnessed the conversation.
According to Strickler, the AMP employee clearly stated: “She pulled everything out on paper, I can’t believe she knew everything…I think they bought it and I played it off as if it were routine.”
Strickler said of the quote: “Don’t you feel you should have waited until after the meeting was over to make the phone call, or at least where Galion residents could not hear?”
She also said good job to “a Council member who did her homework and asked questions” during the presentation.
- Mike Richard (left), Paula Durbin and Don Faulds, all citizens who spoke at the Council meeting, talk to Council member Roberta Wade afterward.
Don Faulds was another citizen who addressed City Council. He passed out copies of the Charter to Council members with specific sections highlighted. He said the highlighted sections had been violated by the City and then read the violations.
In sections 3.02 and 3.03, Faulds explained that the requirements for the city manager we not met. Also, under section 3.04, item C, the city manager must prepare and submit an annual report to Counci, which Faulds said had never been brought up during a Council meeting.
He went on to say that Council violated section 4.05 because when it passes emergency ordinances, it does not set forth specific facts necessitating the emergency legislation. He also said that some department heads did not receive Council approval, in violation of section 5.02.
Faulds said that under section 7.02, the city manager is required to prepare and submit a five-year capital improvement plan by April 1 of each year. “I requested the plan for 2010, 2011 and 2012. They are non-existent,” Faulds said.
He then read some of Toy’s statements as reported by the Inquirer from a Kiwanis Club meeting. Toy discussed many major projects in Galion, including the tree removal at Ammans Reservoir. According to Faulds, Toy was quoted as saying those trees were removed because they were dead, diseased or infected by ash bore.
“In May when I brought in samples of the trees that were cut—and there were 50 some trees—some were not infected by ash bore…Most of those trees were not diseased,” Faulds argued.
To read Toy’s response, as well as Bentine’s, see “Bentine, Toy reply to accusations” story.
Judy Gibson reminded the people of Galion that one person on Council is fighting to “get to the bottom of the electric problems.” She praised Wade for her hard work and dedication to the citizens.
Bud Moffett once again asked for Wade’s resignation. First he asked why was she was fired from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. Wade declined to respond, which led to an extended silence.
Moffett then violated meeting decorum to press the issue further. (He addressed Wade directly instead of the Council President. According to the Council agenda: “f. Address your remarks to the whole Council through the President of Council. g. Refrain from getting into a conversation with a member of the audience or an individual Council member during your presentation.”)
Wade stated, “I served the State of Ohio very well, and when I saw illegal expenditure of public funds attempted to be processed through my office I stopped it. Shortly after that, I was terminated.” She added that the Inspector General investigated it and found she was an “exemplary employee.”
Moffett then read from a court document about Wade sharing confidential information.
Don Faulds referred to the following sections of the City Charter:
3.02: Qualifications of the City Manager
“at least two years experience as a City Manager or equivalent”
3.03: Resident Requirements
“City Manager must be a resident of Galion within six months from the date of appointment”
3.04: Powers and Duties — City Manager
“C. Prepare and submit to the Council and to the public an annual report including, but not limited to, the financial and administrative affairs and activities of the City for the preceding year, and a plan for goals and accomplishments for the coming year.”
4.05: Emergency Ordinance
“Such emergency ordinance shall set forth the specific facts necessitating the emergency legislation.”
5.02: Department Heads
“At the head of each department there shall be a full-time department head appointed by the City Manager with the approval of the City Council.”
7.02: Five Year Capital Improvement Plan
“The City Manager shall prepare and submit to the Council a five year capital program before April 1st of each year.”