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County Council alters officer election rules

11/29/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

DOWNTOWN AKRON — During its Nov. 26 meeting, Summit County Council voted to change the way it elects officers annually.

Council adopted by a vote of 9-1 a motion proposed by Councilman John Schmidt (D-District 2) to have the senior-most member of Council oversee the election during the first meeting of the year. That meeting will take place for 2013 on Jan. 2.

The most senior member of Council is Tim Crawford (D-District 7) — who voted against the motion. Council member Tamela Lee was absent.

Crawford said he didn’t think that Council’s rules needed to be changed and also raised concerns about how seniority would be determined when two or more Council members have the same tenure.

Before the change, council’s clerk conducted the election. Schmidt, who has been on Council about six years, said he has always thought that should be changed so that a Council member oversees the process and “not a civilian.”

Also Monday, Council adopted a resolution that will allow the county’s Division of Animal Control to provide the services of a dog warden to the city of Akron on an interim basis. Jason Dodson, chief of staff for County Executive Russ Pry, said city officials asked for assistance because one of its staff members is ill and will be unable to work for the next few months.

The contract is in effect from Nov. 15 to March 31 and will see the city pay about $10,000 for salary and benefits, Dodson said.

Christine Fatheree, Animal Control manager, was on hand to answer questions about the arrangement but instead received a compliment from one Council member.

“You deserve significant kudos for the work you have done,” said Ilene Shapiro (D-at large), who noted that relationships between the department and animal rescue groups has improved.

Fatheree also noted that 2013 dog licenses will be available starting Dec. 1.

Also Monday, Council adopted a contract with Karvo Paving for the first part of the Riverview Road resurfacing project at a cost of $812,598. The county’s share of the project will be about $162,000, according to the Engineer’s Office.

According to the legislation, the project will involve the portion of the road from the Cuyahoga Falls north corporation limit to the Peninsula south corporation limit.

In addition, Council adopted legislation allowing a change order to a contract with Language Line Services Inc. for client translation services. The change will add an additional $17,500 to the contract, a 70 percent increase.

Officials from the Department of Job and Family Services said an influx of refugees to the area has led to the need for increased translation services. The calls for interpretive services have more than doubled during the last six months due to increased emphasis on refugees who receive Ohio Works First cash meeting federal work participation requirements.

Council also adopted a resolution authorizing the issuance and sale of bonds in the aggregate maximum amount of $19 million for the purpose of re-funding certain maturities of general obligation bonds issued in 2002 and 2003.

Dodson said the bonds will be refinanced, and the county projects it will save about $350,000 annually in interest.

Following the meeting, Council conducted budget hearings for the Fiscal Office, 9th District Court of Appeals, Domestic Relations Court and Engineer’s Office.

Council will meet Dec. 3 at 4:30 p.m. for committee meetings in Council Chambers on the seventh floor of the Ohio Building, 175 S. Main St.

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