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Motion to limit Fairlawn Council president, vice president terms lacks support

11/22/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

During the Nov. 19 Fairlawn City Council meeting, Councilwoman Barbara Potts (Ward 2) proposed placing a limit on the number of years a Council member can serve as Council president or vice president. However, no other Council members seconded the motion, so it was not called for a vote.

Potts said her idea was for the term limits to start in 2013.

“Right now, there’s no term limit for president or vice president of Council,” she said. “I’d like to see more people get an opportunity to serve in this position because it’s a job that other people on Council should learn how to do. If I had my druthers, I’d let it rotate through everybody.”

Council President Russ Sharnsky (at large) countered that the jobs already are subject to potential limiting factors.

“We’re limited on our terms anyway,” he said. “We’re elected by our constituents for four years, and that limits the amount of time we can be in. The mayor doesn’t have a term limit. And on top of that, we vote for Council officers every year, so if someone’s not happy with what someone’s doing, a change can be made in January when we go through the process. So there are a lot of options already without adding some cumbersome requirements to the legislation.”

Potts’ motion would have been part of an ordinance “amending and or supplementing section 220.01 ‘officers; committees; Robert’s Rules; meetings; attendance’ of Chapter 220 ‘Council’ of the codified ordinances of the city of Fairlawn.”

Among the changes is the elimination of the need for Council to elect a temporary chairman during its first regular meeting of the year to preside until a Council president is elected.

“This basically brings this section into compliance with the way the first meeting of Council of each year is held,” Law Director Ed Riegler previously said. “There are some minimal changes in there, but these changes do correspond with the way the meetings are taking place.”

The ordinance passed 6-1, with Potts dissenting.

Also during the meeting:

• Council heard the first readings of three separate ordinances relating to public records, the city’s electronic media policy and the city’s social media policy.

“Because of the changes in case law, as well as statutory law, and because of electronic media continually changing from day to day, we’re making changes to our policy, as well as to the part-time and full-time [employee] handbooks,” Riegler said.

Mayor William Roth said the changes, which relate to items such as employee emails and city Facebook posts, are a matter of the city “keeping current with the changes in the state of Ohio.”

“We will be discussing this further,” he added.

• Roth said the city’s 2013 budget process “is continuing.”

“I anticipate probably by the next Council meeting we should have most of the exhibits prepared for Council to look over,” he said. “I would like to have a working session Monday just to finalize most of the items.”

During the meeting, Council heard the first reading for an ordinance establishing a temporary budget for 2013 and appropriating funds for it.

In addition, Council heard the first reading for an ordinance “establishing a reconciliation budget for the year 2012.”

“It’s just making sure that the budget we [pre-approved] for 2012 can be reconciled with the end of the year,” Potts explained. “We need to make a temporary budget for 2013, and then we have to pass a permanent budget by the end of March for 2013. This reconciliation for 2012 is reconciling with the budget we passed by March 2012 for this year.”

• According to Riegler, the city remains “in the process of negotiations” with the unions for various city workers.

“We had a couple of sessions last week,” he said. “We have none this week because of the holidays, but we have more sessions next week. We’re hoping that we’ll be able to get an agreement and a conclusion to these negotiations shortly.”

• Fire Chief Russ Hose said the city’s full-time firefighters provided meals for 250 homeless people at St. Bernard Catholic Church in Downtown Akron Oct. 28.

“They did this last year and they did it again this year,” he stated. “The bill was paid for by the local firefighters.”

• Deputy Service Director Ernie Staten said the city’s last leaf pickup service will take place Nov. 26.

“The Service Department has the all trucks ready to go for snow and a full bin of salt,” he stated.

• Parks and Recreation Director Laurie Beisecker said her department continues to receive registrations for the Breakfast With Santa and said there are still some spots available.

This year’s Breakfast With Santa will take place Dec. 15 at 10 a.m. at the Fairlawn-Kiwanis Community Center, 3486 S. Smith Road. The cost is $9 per child for ages 2 to 8 and $10 per accompanying guest.

For additional information, go to cityoffairlawn.com/index.aspx?NID=280.

The next Council meeting is set to take place Dec. 3 at 6:30 p.m. at Fairlawn City Hall, 3487 S. Smith Road. The next Committee-of-the-Whole meeting is scheduled for Nov. 26 at 6 p.m. in City Hall.

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