2009-12-12 / News

Holman challenges Acord’s residency status

By Charles Prince

JACKSONTOWN – Licking Township Trustee John Holman filed a formal complaint with trustees Monday night alleging that Trustee-elect Ron Acord doesn’t live in the township.

Holman publicly read his 2 1/2 page complaint. After consulting with the Licking County Board of Elections and Prosecutor’s office, Ohio Secretary of State’s office and the Ohio Ethics Commission, he said he was advised to file a formal complaint with the Board of Trustees and the Board of Elections. Holman planned to file with the Board of Elections Tuesday.

Acord, a six term incumbent, was defeated two years ago by challenger Joe Hart. Holman was appointed earlier this year to fill the rest of Joe Cooper’s term through this year after Cooper moved to Tennessee. Acord challenged Holman and Trustee Dave Miller in the Nov. 3 election. Acord came in second with 772 votes to 963 for Miller. Holman was third in the race for two positions with 669 votes.

Holman’s statement said he first came aware of the residency issue about 10 months ago during the interviewing process to fill Cooper’s seat, then again during the petitioning process in August for the Nov. 3 election, during the campaign prior to the election and most recently a few days after the election. His statement alleges that Acord was living outside of Licking Township when he applied to fill Cooper’s seat and was living outside the township during the petitioning process, the Nov. 3 election and is currently living outside Licking Township.

“…Mr. Acord is allegedly ‘living’ and ‘has been living’ for an ‘unspecified and extended period’ of time at 33 Lynwood Dr.…clearly outside of Licking Township in the village of Buckeye Lake, Ohio – Union Township,” Holman stated. “He is allegedly living at this address with a female friend, fiance, wife, or common law wife – one said Sheila F. Lyons.”

“Mr. Chairman, as result of his alleged actions, it appears Mr. Acord has fraudulently misrepresented himself both as an elector (voter) and as a candidate for Licking Township not only to this board & The Licking County Board of Elections, but to the fine voters and residents of Licking Township,” he added.

His statement continued that he “will cooperate fully with any investigation into these allegations by providing support evidence in the form of written documentation/videoes/digital images as well as a list of potential witnesses supporting these allegations.’

Trustee President Joe Hart asked Miller for permission for Hart to contact the county prosecutor’s office to see what, if any, steps trustees should undertake concerning Holman’s complaint. Miller agreed with his suggestion.

Acord has typically been attending trustee meetings but wasn’t there Monday night. He was initially speechless when asked about the allegations. “That is not true,” Acord told The Beacon. He said he lives on Chowning Street in Licking Township. “I intend to fight this,” Acord added. “I’ll check with the prosecutor sometime today (Tuesday).”

In other business Monday night, Hart thanked Robert Snedden Sr. for removing obstructions along the roadway after trustees told him in writing that they were hazards. Snedden continued to press trustees for a counter offer to his proposal to settle his dispute about Somerset Road coming further on his property for $36,000. That proposal was quickly and unanimously rejected several months ago.

As he has on several earlier occasions, Hart told Snedden that trustees would be willing to review a revised written proposal from Snedden. Snedden tossed out $25,000, but Hart told him any offer had to be in writing. “We’d take another look at it,” he told Snedden.

Snedden said he placed the obstructions along the roadway to keep drivers from taking even more of his property. “They’re up on my property.”

Trustees approved two contracts for the Licking Township Fire Company to provide EMS/ fire protection services to portions of two adjacent townships. Bowling Green Township proposed a $26,000 contract, down $2,500 from last year. Fire Chief Mike Wilson said the township proposed to cut its payment due to fears about reduced revenues next year. Wilson said the fire company made about 10 more runs to the service territory this year over 2008. “It’s not a drastic reduction,” Wilson told trustees. “ Nor have we had a drastic increase in services.”

Licking Township writes the contract for Franklin Township. Wilson suggested asking for the same amount as last year – $19,000. He said about 100 runs were made this year into the service area. Wilson also reminded trustees that Franklin Township pays for two part-time firefighters from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Though they are stationed at Station 2 in Franklin Township, they do make runs into Licking Township. Wilson said the part-timers cost Franklin Township about $18,000 to $20,000 a year.

Wilson said the fire company made 75 runs in November – 63 EMS and 12 Fire. Runs year-todate are 949.

Trustees also set their meeting schedule for the next month. Their regular meeting scheduled for Monday, Dec. 21 is cancelled. The year-end meeting is set for 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 28 with a Township Records Commission meeting at 6:30 p.m. The annual reorganizational meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 4.

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