2012-06-09 / Editorials & Letters

Council thanked for reconsidering $45,000 water position

Editor:

At the 5/29 Buckeye Lake Village Council meeting, Council Member Jeryne Peterson said, “We’re taking back control - this is NOT a one-person council!” For years, Council President Charlene Hayden has played the dictator role with little respect for the rest of council. There’s just no kind way to say it ....she’s a bully!

Caught off guard when Council Member Clay Carroll read Council Rule 27 giving council majority the right to overrule a decision of the chair, Hayden responded, “Can you read that again?” Hayden is unfamiliar with council rules, charter rules and most regularly Robert’s Rules of Order.

The dispute centered on a scheduled May 14 council meeting in which only TWO of the seven council members attended. The village office was notified well in advance that a quorum would not be present yet Hayden held a “pretend” meeting with council member Cricket Ruton. The council clerk, mayor and a few citizens attended. At the May 29 council meeting, Hayden pushed for approval of the “minutes of the May 14 regularly scheduled council meeting.” That’s when the fur started flying! Council argued May 14 could not be counted as a “council meeting” without a quorum present. All council members except Ruton voted to overrule Hayden.

Council Member Carroll read Council Rule 22 which allows for reconsideration of any action of council if done at the next “regularly scheduled meeting”of council, thus, the importance of the disputed May 14 meeting. Carroll moved to reconsider the ordinance that established full-time water department salaries including the controversial $45,000 water supervisor position for Toby Miller. All council members except Hayden and Ruton voted to support the motion to reconsider. Council then re-voted on the original ordinance and turned it down with Patrick Brighton, Clay Carroll, Kaye Hartman and Jeryne Peterson voting “No.”

Hayden and Mayor Baker played defense for Miller’s $45,000 job, claiming that council wasn’t following proper procedures. Council Member Carroll respectfully disagreed quoting directly from the official council rules. Baker repeatedly tried to intervene making judgmental comments and giving his unsolicited advice.

Months ago, Baker lectured council on the significance of separation of power warning council never to interfere in his administration’s territory, but it was Baker who was overstepping and trying to derail council’s intent. Baker and Hayden pushed for a legal opinion or new legislation instead of reconsideration. Their delay tactics didn’t work.

Hayden accused Peterson of speaking out only because the vote on the original ordinance “didn’t go her way.” Peterson told Hayden her comments were uncalled for and unprofessional. When Hayden found herself overruled and the ordinance reconsidered and defeated, she and Baker were out in the cold and whining

. Baker won’t give it up. He’s wasting our tax dollars by asking for a legal opinion on whether or not May 14 was a meeting. Cha-Ching! Let’s use some common sense. Was it a meeting? Yes, a meeting of two council members. Was it a COUNCIL meeting? NO, RICK! There you go ... I just saved the village hundreds!

Instead of beating up on council and interfering with the LEGISLATIVE branch, the mayor may want to pay attention to issues under HIS control such as the storm sewer project or his fire chief who broke the Ohio Ethic Laws when he made a decision without council’s approval that benefited his own son but cost the village. He may also want to spend his time investigating the allegations of cheating at the EMT Basic training class by a couple Buckeye Lake firefighters.

As for village council, I applaud the majority for doing their research and acting accordingly. They were respectful, professional and diplomatic as they worked hard to reverse what they thought was a bad decision. Carroll spoke of his desire to be accountable to the residents which led him to his research. Council was successful and the $45,000 position does not exist at this point.

Mayor Baker and President Hayden pushed hard to compensate one village employee $45,000 even though there is no experience or education to justify it. The council majority wants to review the compensation of ALL village employees. Let’s encourage our council as they make progress in raising employee morale. Most of our village employees work hard with very little sign of appreciation from us. They are overdue for an increase in their compensation.

Instead of trying to push council around with legal opinions, Mayor Baker should save those limited general funds for our underpaid village employees!

Peggy Wells
Buckeye Lake

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