Tuesday, May 03, 2016

May 2, 2016 - North Canton Council of the Whole Meeting

North Canton Residents and Anyone Having Interest in the Business of North Canton City Government:

Pasted below is a link to a video of the North Canton Council of the Whole meeting held on Monday, May 2, 2016.

Description of Video: 
May 2, 2016, – North Canton Committee of the Whole Meeting: 
The video covers a North Canton Committee of the Whole meeting lasting just under an hour in length. The meeting is called to order approximately one minute into the video.  
Following roll call, Council President Peters calls for a vote to excuse Councilmember Marcia Kiesling as she was absent. This is Council-member Kiesling’s third meeting absence. Mrs. Kiesling has also failed to attend meetings of Council on February 8, 2016, and on March 7, 2016. 
          The agenda for the Committee of the Whole meeting consisted of the following for legislative action: 
          •         Emergency legislation to increase the salary and vacation allowance for of exempt employees. These are employees who work at the pleasure of either the Mayor or City Council. 
          •         Emergency Resolution authorizing the Mayor to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the North Canton Police Department and the Stark County’s Sheriff’s Office to support the Stark County OVI Task Force. 
          •         A presentation on the City’s response to mitigate impact of flooding from the Zimber Ditch. 
          •         Legislation authorizing expenditure of $3,000 in donated funds for the purchase of trees. 
          1:50 minutes into the video, Council President Peters, as Chairperson of the Personnel and Safety Committee, introduces proposed legislation to increase the salaries and vacation allowances for the City’s exempt employees. The specific positions initially targeted for the increase in compensation levels are depicted in the following table.
          The discussion on the proposed increase in compensation levels ultimately was expanded to include all exempt employees. The Clerk of Council position was clearly one of the additional exempt positions mentioned but there are several other exempt positions in the City. It is my understanding that the two clerks in the Mayor’s office and the Director of Economic Development are exempt employees. 
I might add that any increase in salary would not reflect the added sixteen percent in pension contributions paid on behalf of the employee by the City. For example, an exempt employee making $100,000 annual actually receives $116,000 per year. The extra sixteen thousand dollars is the City’s contribution to that employee’s pension. 
In the Mayor’s State of the City presentation just a week ago, if memory serves me correctly, income tax collections for this year are down from last year.
With City Council’s plans to expand the City’s Community Reinvestment Areas (CRAs) thus increasing the number of tax abatements going to Corporations and multi-millionaires, one has to wonder how the City is going to survive financially.  
The proposed increases in compensation levels to employees who work at the pleasure of either the Mayor or City Council was the significant topic of the meeting. 
I might add that there was no mention of the nearly forty-four percent raise in the cards for North Canton Law Director Tim Fox. And I might add that Mr. Fox did not utter a word the entire night. Perhaps he did not want to bring any attention to his proposed hefty raise. 
16:20 minutes into the video, Chairperson Peters discusses the proposed Emergency Resolution noted earlier. 
17:25 minutes into the video, Ward 4 Councilperson, as Chairperson of Street and Alley makes a presentation an update to Council on the Zimber Ditch and the City’s flood mitigation efforts. Mr. Fonte concludes his presentation at 43:25 minutes. 
43:25 minutes into the video, Chairperson Dan Griffith discusses his proposal to authorize expenditure of $3,000 of donated funds for the purchase of ornamental trees. 
44:50 minutes into the video, Council President Peters asks to amend the agenda to allow Councilmember Cerreta to propose that the Dogwood tree serve as North Canton's official City tree. Mr. Cerreta made this proposal in anticipation of the upcoming 3rd Reading next week to remove the North Canton tagline as “The Dogwood City” given that there was some citizen opposition to removing the "Dogwood City” tagline. 
47:20 minutes into the video, Chairman Peters again amended the agenda to allow Councilmember Foltz to update Council on Park and Recreation issues. 
57:20 minutes into the video, the Council meeting was concluded. 

The video ends at the one hour mark (1:00 minutes). 
Thank you,
Chuck Osborne