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Peninsula Council members divided over leadership choice

1/16/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Ariel Hakim

After being sworn into office earlier in the evening Jan. 13, half of the Peninsula Village Council members attended their first official meeting.

A first item of business, to elect a Council president for this year, drew two nominations, with Councilman Dan Schneider ultimately being elected to the position.

Councilwoman Dee Holody was first nominated for the role by new Councilwoman Carol Kramer and seconded by another newcomer, Councilman Michael Matusz. When put to a vote, the motion failed by a vote of 2-3-1, with Holody abstaining from voting for herself.

Councilman Brian Schall nominated Schneider for the position with a caveat.

“Dan was vice president last year,” he said.

New Councilwoman Pamela Schneider, daughter of Dan Schneider, seconded the nomination, which drew an objection from village solicitor Irv Sugerman.

“I’m not sure that’s proper, having a second for a relative,” he said. “There’s a potential issue there.”

Matusz then seconded the motion nominating Dan Schneider as president of Council. That motion passed with ‘yes’ votes from Schall, Matusz and Pamela Schneider and ‘no’ votes from Kramer and Holody, while the nominee abstained.

Holody was then elected vice president of Council for 2014, drawing ‘yes’ votes from all other members, while she abstained.

Dan Schneider also was reappointed by Mayor Doug Mayer as Council’s representative on the Fire and Cemetery boards.

Also, all three returning Council members agreed to continue to represent the village on the Joint Economic Development District Board.

Other appointments made at the meeting included Charles Uray as village engineer and street commissioner, John Shega and Kevin Kramer to the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) and Mike Kaplan to the Planning Commission.

Council also acknowledged and thanked Tommy James for serving on the BZA for more than 20 years.

As the meeting progressed, some of the usual reports from Council liaisons to the various village departments were not part of the agenda.

When the group got to the place in the agenda where Council’s street commissioner liaison usually gives his report, Schall, who served most recently in that position, asked Mayer about the change.

Mayer explained after studying the village’s employee handbook, he found discrepancies between the document and the order of Council meetings, which he is looking to correct.

“By having liaisons, it puts a wedge between [department] supervisors and the mayor,” he said.

The handbook shows a chain of command going from a village employee to his/her supervisor, to the mayor, then either to the fiscal officer or Council, Mayer said.

Mayer said the new plan is for him to meet with department heads monthly and make reports to Council. Previously, a Council liaison would approach a department supervisor and report back to Council, diverging from the chain of command specified in the handbook, added Mayer.

Council will still have committees, he noted. However, reports from Council liaisons, including for roads, police, building and grounds and Chamber of Commerce will not be on the agenda for Council meetings, he said.

In other business, Council:

  • extended its contract with Sugerman to April 14. Council has called for bids from solicitors, which are due Jan. 21. Pamela Schneider, Holody and Kramer volunteered to serve on a committee to review the bids and plan to meet Jan. 27;
  • approved an agreement with Summit County for payment in lieu of taxes for tax years 2011-12, since the Cuyahoga Valley National Park lands are owned by the federal government and ordinary real estate taxes are neither paid nor collected;
  • amended two sections of its codified ordinances related to police, including additional changes to Section 139, which was amended at last month’s Council meeting. Approved changes to Section 147 include a move from a 28-day pay period to an 80-hour one and updates on compensatory and holiday time;
  • decided to grant a 50 cent hourly pay raise to Police Chief Joe Varga, as budgeted; and
  • approved a contract to purchase road salt from Boston Township for $39.84 per ton, down from $45.51 per ton last season.

At the end of the meeting, Council went into an executive session to discuss pending or potential litigation, with no action taken.

Peninsula Village Council’s next meeting is set for Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. in the second-floor Council room of Peninsula Village Hall, located at the corner of state Route 303 and Akron-Peninsula Road.

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