Monday, December 14, 2015

North Canton City Council Meetings Repeatedly Violate City Charter and City Ordinances Governing Rules of Council

Prepared Comments Made to
December 14, 2015           

            It would seem that everyone at City Hall, and most especially individuals connected to the Office of City Council, no longer feel compelled to follow or comply with the City’s Charter or its ordinances. 
           Section 2.04 of the City’s Charter states in part, “…Council shall meet at such times as may be prescribed by its rules, regulations, by-laws, or by resolution or ordinance, except that it shall hold regular meetings at least once during each calendar month.” 

            In the months of July and December of 2014, this Council body failed to hold a regular meeting during each of those calendar months.  

            Under the City’s Codified Ordinances, Part One, Title Three, Chapter 111, titled COUNCIL:  

“Chapter 111.01(a) states “Council of the City of North Canton, (“Council”) shall meet on the second and fourth Monday of each month at 7:00 p.m. in Council chambers….” 

Why did this Council body hold a regular Council meeting on the first Monday of the month?
(December 7, 2015) when North Canton Ordinance requires a Committee of the Whole meetings on the first Monday of the month?  

            How can residents observe voting on legislation when legislative voting nights do not comply with rules of Council and City ordinances?  

This is one of many meetings over the last eighteen months that have not complied with the rules of Council regarding the scheduling of Council meetings on the prescribed night.  

These actions by North Canton City Council are contrary to our City Charter and the very laws each of you are sworn to uphold.  

“Chapter 111.01(f) states: “Council shall meet as a Committee of the Whole on the first, third, and fifth Monday…”  

Tonight you have scheduled a “Special” Committee of the Whole meeting. What is a “Special” Committee of  the Whole?  

            In the nearly sixteen years I have observed North Canton’s legislative agenda, I have never seen such an animal. It is not described in City ordinances nor is it described in the City Charter.  

            A “Special” Committee of the Whole meeting is an invention of the newly appointed Council Clerk who, unfortunately, was never trained to function under North Canton’s municipal home rule form of government. 

            How could this current membership of City Council have expected an individual to fill a position as Clerk of Council with absolutely no training? Previous appointees as Council Clerks had trained for years before appointment as Clerk of Council. 

This is the fallout from the loss of a highly valued, highly-skilled, and extremely professional Council Clerk who had served North Canton City Council for nearly seventeen years before she was pushed out as North Canton Clerk of Council. 

Your actions in allowing her to be treated in such a manner were shameful and counterproductive for yourselves. 

“Section 2.04 of the City’s Charter further states in part, “…Special meetings of the Council may be called as prescribed by its rules, regulations, by-laws, or by resolution or by ordinance. In the absence of any such provisions, special meetings may be called by a vote of Council taken an any regular or special meeting thereof, or shall be called by the Clerk of Council upon written request of the Mayor, or the President of Council, or by any three (3) members of Council.  

Notice in writing of each special meeting called at the request of the Mayor, President of Council, or by three(3) members of council, shall state the date, and time , subjects to be considered and no other subject or subjects shall be considered thereat…” 

            Is City Council following all of the requirements specified in the City’s Charter to call a Special Council meeting? To confirm compliance, I would like to see all written requests for Special Council meetings held over the last two years.  

            They are called Special Council meetings for a reason. The subjects to be considered must be described in the written request for the meeting. I do not believe that this is being done.  

            On December 1, 2014, a Special Council meeting was held. Ten pieces of legislation were voted on. This was a Committee of the Whole night.  

            Did this Special Council meeting comply with North Canton’s City Charter?
            No, it did not!  

            North Canton City Council must comply with the laws it legislates for itself and for its citizens. 

            Due process and the laws of North Canton must be followed.  

Each of you took an oath to do just that!  

Thank you,
Chuck Osborne, Resident
City of North Canton