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The Council of the Village of Riverlea met on the above date at the Thomas Worthington High School, Worthington. The following Council members were present: Mayor Kirk M. McHugh, Michael D. Blanchard, Jeffery A. Colwell, Scott K. Gordon, Jenny D. Jones, Eric A. MacGilvray, President Pro-Tem, and Jacalyn Slemmer. Also present were Joshua C. Mehling, Clerk-Treasurer, L. Leah Reibel, Solicitor, William P. Charles, Street Commissioner, Karen McElmurray, Marshal, Michael Jones, Planning Commissioner, and Jody Croley Jones, Web Manager. Guest of Council was Pamela Colwell. At 7:06 pm the Mayor called the meeting to order.
The minutes of the regular Council meeting of January 21, 2014 were not read since each member had received a copy. Blanchard moved and Slemmer seconded the motion that the minutes be approved as submitted by the Clerk-Treasurer. The motion was approved unanimously (6-0).
Report of the Clerk-Treasurer
The Clerk-Treasurer noted that the bank reconciliation needed to have a line adjusted before the reports would be final. Colwell moved and Jones seconded the motion to approve the payment of bills and to accept the financial report for December 2013 as submitted by the Clerk-Treasurer wi9th the above correction. The motion was approved unanimously (6-0).
Report of the Mayor
The Mayor reported that he has a meeting set up with a representative from MORPC on March 4 to discuss village concerns. These include methods of funding for a large street project as well as the possibility of installing a playground.
The Mayor said that he had received notification from Showe Management regarding the Riverlodge II Apartments on Broad Meadows. We were notified of this because we are within a half mile radius of the apartments.
Report of the Solicitor
1. The Solicitor reported that she had circulated a draft of adjustments to chapter 150 of the ordinances to the Council as well as the Planning Commissioner. There were concerns about the third reading of Ordinance 07-2013 because sections of Chapter 151 refer to changes in grade level as well. The Solicitor recommended proceeding with the third reading of the ordinance, with the possibility of making adjustments in the future.
Report of the Street Commissioner
The Street Commissioner reported that he expects to receive a report on the televising of the storm sewers in the next week. This report will detail any defects found within the system and prioritize any possible repairs.
The Commissioner also reported that Burgess & Niple would like to install a flow meter on the sanitary sewer at the end of Riverglen to test the results of the work this past summer. This would be at no cost to the village and we would receive the data from this.
The Commissioner expressed concerns with the force main on the lift station, notably the cast iron pipe that is still part of this. This may leak eventually due to the pressure of the sewage and it is not able to be lined due to the nature of the pipe. He will take a look into options of dealing with this in the future.
The Commissioner also noted that there will be testing of the fire hydrants this summer. In addition, we may need to paint the hydrants, as many are in need of this.
Report of the Planning Commissioner
The Commissioner reported there was no meeting this month.
Report of the Marshal
The Marshal reported there were 330 checks with no citations.
The Marshal reported that she had received a complaint of a car parked on the street, especially with the snow plows. The car was moved, but returned to the spot. The Marshal reported that she will continue to monitor this.
Report of the Web Manager
The Web Manager reported that she has had requests from a person who would like to add educational opportunities on the web site. Because this does not particularly pertain to village business, this request was turned down.
The Web Manager reported that the Riverlea Quarterly will be out shortly.
Comments from Residents on Agenda Items
There were no comments on agenda items.
Ordinance No. 07-2013 Ordinance No. 07-2013, An Ordinance Regarding Sewer Taps and Repairs, and Associated Street Repairs was given its third reading. Jones moved and MacGilvray seconded the motion to adopt Ordinance No. 07-2013. The motion was approved unanimously (6-0).
Resolution No. 2014-04 Resolution No. 2014-04, A Resolution to Confirm the Appointment of William Charles as Street Commissioner was given its second reading.
Committee on Infrastructure
>Eric MacGilvray, Chair of the committee, reported that he will report the list of members of the committee as well as the mission. It is expected that the current membership will remain with Eric as Chair.
Committee on Communications
Jenny Jones, Chair of the Committee, reported that the Riverlea Quarterly is in layout and will be finished and printed shortly.
Committee on Ordinances
There have been no new updates
The ordinance concerning Chapter 150 has been circulated to Council members. This included the proposed changes as well as the current language. Colwell expressed concern that the $500 street bond in the language is too low. The Street Commissioner recommended that the section concerning the reserves in ch. 150.086 is unclear and should state that there should be no new construction in reserves A, B, or C. The Mayor recommended that the Solicitor make these changes to the language and reintroduce the ordinance at the March meeting in conjunction with revisions to Chapter 151.
The Solicitor reported that there were questions regarding the language in ch. 150.051(C) about a building being damaged 50% or more, with concerns about this decision being Franklin County vs. Riverlea jurisdiction.
Social Chair Budget
The social Social chair Chair would like to have a budget approved for the year before planning activities for the year. The budget for 2013 was $2,000. Council reported that they would like to see a budget of planned expenditures submitted from the chair before approving any annual budget
Blanchard moved and Slemmer seconded the motion to authorize the following expenditures:
$180.00 – New member meeting with Ohio Municipal League
$25.00 – The Daily Reporter – public notice
The motion was approved unanimously (6-0).
Resolution 2014-05 Resolution No. 2014-05, A Resolution of Appreciation to Pamela M. Colwell for her Service to the Residents of the Village of Riverlea Ohio was introduced by MacGilvray. Gordon moved and MacGilvray seconded a motion to declare this as an emergency resolution and waive the three readings. The emergency motion was approved unanimously (6-0). Gordon moved and Blanchard seconded the motion to adopt Resolution No. 2014-05. The motion was approved unanimously (6-0).
Comments from Residents on Non-Agenda Items
Jody Croley Jones read a statement concerning the conflict of interest between the Chair of the Communications Committee and editor of the Riverlea Quarterly as follows.
The Communication Committee along with the Infrastructure and Ordinance committees were formed early in 2012 by the Village of Riverlea Mayor and Council. At that time Village Council members were appointed to be chairs of the various committees, but one of the stated primary functions for each committee was to “get more residents involved in our community.”
The Communications Committee was chaired by Jon Ankrom, Village Councilman and joined by Pam Colwell, Village Clerk. It was also joined by residents Lois Yoakam and Jody Croley Jones, both of whom had demonstrable interests in Riverlea Communications, Lois as news editor and Jody as web manager.
As decreed, the committee was open to residents and many came. Some came only occasionally but more importantly, several residents continued to come regularly.
Jon managed the meetings quite well, keeping the committee to the point while making sure that all who attended also participated.
The Communications Committee accomplished quite a bit in the last couple of years. We made improvements in the website; developed a news email list; began a social presence on Facebook – notably begun and maintained by a resident volunteer; and began a Social committee in the community – again notably chaired by a resident volunteer.
All this and more came from the Communications Committee.
In addition the committee re-worked our news. Because of decisions by the Committee, we now have a Riverlea Quarterly, meant to be a vehicle for social news, and a monthly synopsis of the Village government news sent as an email and posted on our kiosks.
Because of the change in the news it became evident to the Communications Committee that the News Editor job was changing. So the committee re-worked the responsibilities of the News Editor. We turned over the directory to the Clerk; made the monthly news email the responsibility of the web manager; and made the News Editor a true editor of the Quarterly.
Then, when Lois decided to step down from the News Editor position, this new revised position was offered to each person on the Committee, as they were the people in Riverlea that had demonstrated an interest in Riverlea Communications. Unfortunately most of them were unable to take the job. I believe that also, Jon contacted those who had attended only a meeting or two of the Communications Committee, because even though they were not regular attendees, they were residents that had shown some interest in Riverlea Communications.
When no one accepted the News Editor position, the web manager volunteered and the Communications Committee again reworked the position to allow for a Communications Director to coordinate both web and print communications.
This new position was then brought before the Riverlea Council last December, by council member and Communications Committee chair, Jon Ankrom. Although most council members appeared in favor of it, it was tabled until January.
In January, there was again a discussion of the new Communications Director position. One member of the council was rudely adamant that the position not go to the one and only resident who had previously shown interest in Riverlea communications and who had volunteered for it, the web manager. The council elected to move to a closed door session to further discuss the position. At the end of that session, it became apparent that the one council member who was protesting had a self-interest in the position. Because by the end of the session, although they had never shown an interest in Riverlea Communications, had never attended a single Communications Committee meeting, they had taken over the role of News Editor and Communications Committee chair.
As a member of the Riverlea community, I am appalled that this apparent self-serving conflict of interest was perpetrated and allowed.
To move on however, as the last remaining member of the former Communications Committee that worked so hard for the last couple of years to open communications to all our residents, I would like to point out that the Riverlea Quarterly is now written, edited and reviewed by a single council member.
Formerly articles for the Quarterly were suggested by the committee with committee members seeking out writers. Once written, and edited by the News Editor, the articles were again reviewed by the chair of the Communications Committee as well as by the entire Committee both before and after they went to layout. The Mayor also reviewed the news after layout.
All this participation helped to keep the residents involved. In addition the review by the committee chair and the mayor helped to insure that the Riverlea Quarterly was the voice of Riverlea and not any one person. It is a real dangerous conflict of interest to have the editor and the Communications Committee chair to being one and the same person.
We sincerely hope new members will join the Communication Committee; that residents will again be asked to write articles and that the committee review will return. In addition, we know that the mayor will continue to review the Quarterly. However, in the interest of returning the news to the public and since the council member involved has already made one grab for position, we, as Riverlea residents, ask that council again separate the functions. If the news is to be created and edited by a council member, we ask that a different council member be appointed to oversee the Communications Committee.
There have been good years and bad years in Riverlea between her government and her residents. The first Communication Committee went a long way to successfully get more residents involved in our community. So please make this small change to help insure that our news continues to have more people involved with their creation.
Thanks for your consideration and polite attention.
Council discussed Jody's comments and determined that there was no apparent conflict of interest. The Mayor stated that Jody's concerns were noted and that Council will continue to monitor the progress of the Communications Committee as well as the Riverlea Quarterly in the coming year.
Next Meeting Announcement
The next regular meeting will be Monday, March 17, 2014 at 7:00 pm at the Thomas Worthington High School.
There being no further business, MacGilvray moved and Slemmer seconded the motion to adjourn. The motion was approved unanimously (6-0). The meeting was adjourned at 8:42 pm.