Village Council Meeting
Tuesday, December 20, 2022
Mantua Village Hall, Council Chambers
4650 High Street
Mantua, OH 44241
Marty Hura, Village Council
Tammy Meyer, Village Council
Scott Weaver, Village Council
Heather Paisley, Village Council
Steve Thorn, Village Council
Linda Clark, Mayor
Michele Stuck, Village Solicitor
Marian Fabian, Fiscal Officer
Gene Arters, Zoom
Greg Thomas, Zoom
Joseph Urso, Chief of Police
Absent/Medical: Nina Schroeder, Village Council
Mayor Clark opened the meeting at 6:30 p.m. and after the Pledge of Allegiance, a moment of silence and roll call, the meeting was underway. Mayor Clark began with her report to council and then moved to the Citizens Comments section of the agenda. The meeting was very well attended by the public, and several residents wanted time to address the council. Each was limited to five minutes, and each resident spoke about the same topic: the ongoing investigation of the relationship between Chief Urso and Patrol Officer Brothers. Once all residents had been heard, the fiscal officer moved into presenting her financial report. New legislation as well as resolutions were read aloud, and council moved on each item. All motions passed. Each department head then gave an updated report to the council on meetings and/or projects being worked on. After these updates, Mayor Clark asked for any new business. Chief Urso stood and handed out a letter to each council member and asked that it be made a part of this meeting’s official record. After reading the letter, Tammy Meyer made a motion for the council to move into executive session. It was seconded by Paisley and passed in roll call. This documenter left prior to the official motion for adjournment, which was expected to come immediately after the council returned from executive session.
Village Council Meeting
Prior to Mayor Clark calling the meeting to order, she announced to the very well-attended meeting how residents’ comments would be heard. She explained the council will ask those in attendance one by one if they would like to talk or offer a question. Each resident would have five minutes to speak.
Mayor Clark called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.
The Pledge of Allegiance was recited, and a moment of silence was offered.
Roll call was taken.
Mayor Clark asked for a motion to excuse village Council Member Nina Schroeder for medical reasons. Motion was seconded and carried.
- Filed a report request for license fee tax data from the state and should receive it in early 2023. She and another village council member will review Mantua Township, Mantua Village and Shalersville data to make sure all license plate tax dollars are appropriated correctly.
- The Landmark Commission will have two vacant seats after some seats expire at the end of this month. This means the commission will not have a quorum in early 2023. An advertisement will be placed immediately to attempt to fill the seats.
- The Parks Commission may have openings.
- Shade Tree will have one opening.
- Regarding the bridge: Portage County is asking permission to make the road accessible for its vehicles (laying gravel, etc.). Mayor Clark asked for a motion. A motion to approve was made and seconded; roll call was taken; motion passed.
- Requested a work-order authorization from council to conduct an engineering survey for the drainage issue the village council building is experiencing. It is estimated to cost $3,000. A motion to approve was made and seconded; roll call was taken; motion passed.
- The mayor has been approached by Tim Benner of the American Legion post, who would like to create a plaque to accompany the cannon in the village. The American Legion may be soliciting citizen donations, and she wanted everyone to know this was a real project and if they’re approached, to consider giving.
(As mentioned above, the mayor asked each person in attendance if they wanted to speak during the citizens comments portion. Mayor Clark addressed each person by their first name, save one or two, and if they wanted to talk, they were asked to stand, give their name and address, and state their business.)
Phil Roth: Represents MDRC; raised over 19K from a reverse raffle held at St. Joe’s. Mantua also saw a huge crowd for “Art on the Hill.” As these events continue to grow in attendance, he asked the council who they could work with regarding parking and traffic assistance. The mayor responded that he should begin with the Safety Commission. He further asked if there was any information the village council wanted him to report to MDRC. Steve Thorn indicated he had not been receiving the minutes and would like to.
Chuck Petersen: He has been hearing the talk of an investigation of the police department and requested the council fill in the public with what it is finding. Mayor Clark responded that it is an open investigation on the relationship between the police chief and one of the officers, and there is nothing more she can say. There is no end date for the investigation.
Vicky Wilcox: Wilcox wrote a letter to the village council and wanted to read it aloud for the minutes. She is very upset and concerned about how the village council is dragging the names of good people and employees like Chief Urso and Patrol Officer Brothers through the mud. She emphatically stated that there is no policy in the employee handbook regarding relationships between employees, and therefore there is no violation. Wilcox continued citing exact wording from the handbook. She further stated that the council is wasting good money by employing an outside investigator and making this entire event criminal when it is not. Further, Wilcox, an employee of the police department, indicated the steps council is taking is creating a hostile workplace. Wilcox noted that the council has argued that Chief Urso and Patrol Officer Brothers were not transparent with their relationship but questioned, “Where is village council’s transparency?” At this point, Mayor Clark interrupted Wilcox to inform her that her five minutes were up. Wilcox thanked the council and sat down.
Ms. Yoder: Yoder began reading her letter to council aloud by stating she has great respect for Chief Urso and knows that he sacrifices so much for the village. She knows that he always puts his duties first. She firmly believes that council is overstepping with this investigation and amounts to a witch hunt with inappropriate questions into Chief Urso’s and Patrol Officer Brothers’ private lives. Yoder went on to say that so much of the media coverage is wrong and gives the wrong impression of both of the employees, from which they may never recover. She is further appalled that money is being spent on an attorney for this investigation. Yoder ended her letter by asking the council to respect those who do so much for the village of Mantua.
Fiscal Officer Marian Fabian offered the following information in her report:
- The last payment on the Tahoe has been made.
- The village has received 109% of estimated revenues.
- New revenue and appropriation accounts for income taxes have been created.
- The village has used 82% of the budgeted appropriations for this year.
A motion to approve the finance report was made and seconded; roll call was taken; motion passed, no dissenters.
Mayor Clark asked for a motion to approve the Nov. 15 council meeting minutes. A motion was made and seconded; roll call was taken; motion passed, no dissenters.
Mayor Clark asked for a motion to approve the Appropriations Workshop Meeting for the council, which took place Dec. 2. A motion was made and seconded; roll call was taken; motion passed, no dissenters.
Mayor Clark listed these pieces of legislation for tabling, discussion or approval:
2022 04: Repealing and dissolving the Historic Landmark Committee. It was decided to table this item.
2022 50: Amending various sections of the employee handbook. It was decided to table this item.
2022 51: Appropriating the budget for fiscal year 2023 was open for discussion. Fiscal Officer Fabian listed amended amounts made to the following accounts: cemetery funds, police training, adding the American Rescue Plan fund, walking trail, additional funds for the West Prospect Street drainage survey, police capital improvement.
Motion was requested to approve the amendments and was seconded; roll call taken; motion passed, no dissenters.
Motion was requested to approve the budget for 2023 and was seconded; roll call taken; motion passed, no dissenters.
2022 56: Authorize the mayor to engage in a contract with CT Consulting general engineers and declare it an emergency to complete by Dec. 31. First reading was last month. Motion to suspend the rules; seconded; roll call taken; motion passed, no dissenters.
2022 58: Authorize the mayor to dispatch supplies to the Shalersville Fire Department and declare an emergency to complete by Dec. 31. Motion to suspend the rules; seconded; roll call taken; motion passed, no dissenters.
2022 59: Approve repayment of an estimated $4,000 to the Downtown Revitalization Committee due to the expenses coming in under budget. Motion to suspend the rules; seconded; roll call taken; motion passed, no dissenters.
2022 60: Authorize to apply for a Firehouse Grant. First reading. Will need more information to discuss. Move to next month, where rules may be suspended at that time.
2022 61: Authorize and designate the property at 4531 W. Franklin St. a historic landmark. Clark Magdych from the Historic Landmark Commission was in attendance tonight to answer any questions the council may have. The mayor reminded everyone that because two seats will be vacant on the Historic Landmark Commission and therefore no quorum exists, this resolution should be declared an emergency. Further, the mayor noted she has been in touch with the state level and a letter is needed from the Historic Landmark Commission requesting such designation. Motion to suspend the rules; seconded; roll call taken; motion passed, no dissenters.
2022 62: Authorize and designate the property at 10783 Main St. a historic landmark. Again, an emergency was declared, and the state will need a letter from the Historic Landmark Commission. Motion to suspend the rules; seconded; roll call taken; motion passed, no dissenters.
The department head reports were next on the agenda:
Chief Urso – Police Department: A Safety Committee meeting was held Dec. 7, of which he gave a synopsis. The committee went over appropriations and new business which detailed employee statuses and the “Fill the Cruiser” program. Urso said the “Fill the Cruiser” program was a success this year and they filled six cruisers. They were able to help seven families and approximately 20-25 children. Dollar General offered items, and Main Street Sub Shop fed the volunteers. A body armor grant was briefly discussed, but more information is needed to move this forward. No items on the safety meeting agenda were tabled, and the executive session was not used. Next meeting is set for 6 p.m. Jan. 4. Mayor Clark interjected a “thank you” for the hard work put forth on the “Fill the Cruiser” program.
Greg Thomas – Village Administrator: The village is very clean, and they are anticipating this weekend’s snowstorm by creating a game plan. There was one burial last week. They have begun to restore some benches in anticipation of spring. Tammy Meyer asked about the outcome of the leaves disposal. Thomas responded that they stored them for a bit and put them out in the trash each week until they were all gone. There was no cost to the city. The mayor reminded Thomas that a plan is needed for getting rid of the leaves next year. Mayor Clark further reminded him to check the status of the salt cellar, as replenishment may be needed after the snowstorm.
Scott Weaver – Service & Planning: No meeting was held; however, they are working on several projects such as the previously discussed Village Hall water issue, purchasing the Michelin property, and the previously mentioned license fee tax report.
Marty Hurn – Parks & Shade Tree: No meeting was held, so there is no report.
Linda Clark – Mayor: She has fielded two zoning permits: 1. Soil Boring, which entails digging 70 feet for core samples for the replacement of gas lines; and 2. A business on Main Street wants to create a secondary driveway.
Mayor Clark asked for any new business. Chief Urso took this time to pass out a letter written from him to the council. Council members read the letter silently to themselves. The chief indicated that the letter could be read aloud to the public either by him or a council member or, if neither of those options were taken, he wanted the letter made a part of the council meeting minutes. It was decided that it was not to be read aloud, and it would become part of the minutes.
Mayor Clark again asked for any new business, and Council Member Tammy Meyer requested the council move to executive session to discuss the behavior of an employee. After a few seconds of silence, Mayor Clark told her she didn’t have a second to her motion. Then, Council Member Heather Paisley seconded her motion, and the council moved into executive session.
Mayor Clark wished everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and the members of the public began to exit the council chambers.
This documenter questioned whether or not there would be any more business after the executive session and was told that council would just return to make a motion to adjourn.
Identity of the person making the police complain should be made public unless there is a policy against it. In America we have the right to face our accuser or accusers.