University Heights City Council meeting highlights 11-3-2014
NOVEMBER 3, 2014
- Mayor’s vote questioned
- Workers’ compensation administration
- Vendor contracts
- Tree planting and maintenance
- Road salt
All council members were present.
Mayor’s vote questioned
At the last meeting, Mayor Susan Infeld voted to break a tie in an approval vote to rezone residential parcels on Cedar Road to commercial for the CESO/Waterway Way & Wash Company. After a council member questioned the mayor’s vote following the meeting, Anthony Coyne, law director, researched the code and discovered that, even though the previous mayor broke ties on at least three separate occasions, this was a violation of city code (220.12). Coyne took responsibility and suggested a new vote. Councilman Mark Wiseman asked whether the approval had already failed if the mayor was unable to vote. The mayor claimed that when she was a council member, Mayor Rothschild voted in a tie and cited another section of code (220.18) as a catchall for a situation with no protocol. However, Wiseman, Vice Mayor Susan Pardee, and Councilwoman Pamela Cameron all stated that code 220.12 is clear in stating that the mayor cannot vote and, therefore, the item failed.
After a lively discussion, the mayor invited Larry Weiser, the owner of the parcels in question, to speak after he requested [the opportunity to make] a statement. Weiser was extremely upset and maintained that he had been assured by the mayor at the last meeting that he would have seven votes so that this matter could be approved or not. Pardee was absent at the meeting, leading to a tie vote, which is why the mayor voted to break the tie. Coyne said that a tie vote is rare and suggested that litigation might even arise because of Weiser’s situation. After a heated discussion, Councilman Phil Ertel suggested moving on to the next agenda item because code 220.12 was clear. The prior approval was considered failed and Weiser will have to reapply to the planning commission if he wants to pursue this venture.
Workers’ compensation administration
Council heard a first reading of a contract with Compmanagement Inc. to provide third-party administrator services with the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. Finance Director Larry Heiser said that he had contacted other third-party services and Compmanagement was the best choice.
The mayor said that all vendors were signing contracts for the possibility that some might go over $5,000. Councilman Wiseman and Councilwoman Cameron both asked why is this still on the agenda when the finance committee had approved this already. The mayor responded saying she wants transparency.
Tree planting and maintenance
Zone three is currently being pruned, with 660 trees and 60 removals to be done. Fall tree planting is complete, with $11,680 spent for 52 trees.
In preparation for winter, 1,800 tons of salt are now stored in Cleveland Heights. There is a contract for 1,000 tons with Morton at $47.90 per ton and with Cargill for $55.12, which is the current contract through the Ohio Department of Transportation.
LWV Observer: Michele Weiss.
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