“It is disappointing that this is the direction the Mayor has chosen to go on a matter of such importance.”
– Councilwoman Kathy Bailey
Loveland, Ohio – After Loveland Councilmember Rob Weisgerber received the City Newsletter announcing that there was going to be a joint meeting of Council and the Community Improvement Corporation scheduled in the middle of a weekday afternoon, he wrote an email to City Hall staff and all of Council saying the meeting was deliberately called by Mayor Mark Fitzgerald at a time he could not attend. He also said he was told when the meeting would be held and not consulted beforehand. He said in his email, “If the meeting is maintained on this date and time it is clear not everyone’s opinion on council is being sought by intent (as usual with Mark and this majority).”
Weisgerber elaborated, “To value everyone’s opinion the meeting availability should be a request and not an ultimatum by the Mayor.”
Councilwoman Kathy Bailey also protested the time of the meeting in her own email to Council and staff. She said, “It appears this meeting time was chosen for the express purpose of, at the very least, making it difficult for us to attend, at worst, to make sure our voices were not heard.
Bailey said that herself, Weisgerber, and Councilmember Ted Phelps all have full-time jobs outside the City, and cannot attend a meeting held at 3 PM in the afternoon.
Public also in the shadow
As of the time of this story, it is not clear where the meeting will be held, nor the agenda. In an email to Loveland Magazine from the Clerk of Council on March 16, the calendar for City meetings says the special joint meeting will be at the Loveland Safety Center on Lebanon Road. However, the Straight from the Heart newsletter issued from the City on March 15 says the meeting will be at City Hall. The City website only says there will be a meeting on March 20 at 3 PM, but does not say where the meeting will be held. None of these notices issued by City Hall lists the agenda of the meeting – which is a requirement of Ohio’s open meeting laws.
Rob Weisgerber wrote on March 15 at 7:54 PM to City Hall staff and all of Council:I can not attend as I am scheduled to be in New York all week. While there is a chance the trip may be canceled, I have other commitments I am required to manage at work during the work week and specifically on this day and time.To be inclusive and transparent the meeting must be after hours or on the weekend when all are available. If the meeting is maintained on this date and time it is clear not everyone’s opinion on council is being sought by intent (as usual with Mark and this majority).To value everyone’s opinion the meeting availability should be a request and not an ultimatum by the Mayor.
Rob Weisgerber wrote on March 15 at 8:02 PM to City Hall staff and all of Council:I just saw the posting in the news letter announcing the joint meeting a good number of us can not attend.I can not express how upset I am at the continued disregard for all of City council as equal members being elected by OUR residents.This is nothing short of intentionally neutering of some members of council not in the group of 4, no independent thought, no inclusiveness or transparency majority.This behavior will only result in a very vocal response and probable delays due to us not all being on the same page.