Council continues Citizen Review Board discussions
- Published: March 21, 2022
At its Monday, March 7 meeting, held virtually via Zoom, Village Council members debated whether to press forward with setting aside money to hire an attorney to review the Citizen Review Board, or CRB, proposal.
Council member Carmen Brown, who recently took the lead on implementing the CRB, had planned to bring a proposal for a legal review to Council. Prior to the meeting, Brown contacted several municipalities — Dayton, Columbus and Cincinnati — about their processes for reviewing their own CRB proposals. According to Brown, the municipalities responded by saying they had their own attorneys review the policy “if they feel that they’re competent.”
Brown is also in contact with NACOLE, the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement, to gather information on a legal review for the proposal, but is waiting for a response. She did receive correspondence from attorney John Watty, who said he would be happy to be considered to review the proposal.
Village clerk Judy Kintner asked if Brown would like funding to be approved for the attorney while she continues searching for candidates. Village Manager Josué Salmerón and Council members Marianne MacQueen and Kevin Stokes said they were in favor of Brown making a motion for money to be set aside for the consultant. At the Feb. 22 meeting, Council members Brown and Lisa Kreeger said they would like to have the review of the proposal completed within four weeks.
“Recently I was accused of being an obstacle,” Salmerón said. “We [Village staff] need to have a clear directive of how much [money is being requested] and where it is coming from.”
Stokes and MacQueen said that Council could approve $5,000, like they’d done when the plan was initially reviewed, and that the money could possibly come from the commissions fund.
Brown said she was aware of the need to move the proposal forward, but she wanted to wait to make a motion for money until Council knew where the money was coming from and she had time to consult with The 365 Project “and other entities” about the attorney who would review the proposal.
“Yes, we had a four-week window to get the proposal reviewed, but I feel like we’ve come farther in the last couple weeks than we have in the last couple years,” Brown said. “I’d like to hold off [on voting for a budget] until the next meeting.”
Active transportation advisory group
Council member Marianne MacQueen wants to formalize an active transportation advisory group composed of people who are involved in active transportation, including people who walk, bike or have increased accessibility needs who use the sidewalks and streets throughout the village.
MacQueen said one of the issues with the proposal is the lack of clarity on whether the group would be advising Village Council, Planning Commission or Village staff.
“I see it as giving broader expertise and time and energy to our staff — a group that will vet things, do research and reach out to the community,” MacQueen said.
MacQueen said that once Council determines the scope of the group, they could decide how members would focus their time. Village Manager Josué Salmerón said he sees the value of an active transportation group.
“It looks good for us to have a committee that has citizen input that we are running programs and initiatives through,” he said. “When we are soliciting funds, we can tell the grantor that we have had community input, citizen feedback and that we have an overwhelming amount of support for the projects that we are bringing to the grantors.”
Salmerón noted that if the committee was under the village manager’s purview, the meetings would not have to be announced to the public in the same manner that Council and its commission’s meeting have to be announced. He acknowledged that there are other needs that could be better fulfilled if the proposed committee were a Council or Planning Commission committee.
“We want to make sure we are having this dialogue as we are making a decision so that we find the best place for it [an active transportation committee] so that [the committee] enables all of our work,” he said.
Villager Mark Heise praised Council for re-establishing the committee.
“I’m happy that this group is getting a kickstart,” he said. “I’ve been a real advocate of parking issues and bike parking issues are a concern of the Chamber and the shop owners.”
Council passed two ordinances creating funds for stormwater management and street improvements. Salmerón said that both ordinances would help clean up the budget. For example, having these additions will show the monies received for improvements as well as expenditures made toward those improvements.
Council heard a first reading of an ordinance that would allow the Ohio Department of Transportation to maintain parts of U.S. 68 that are within village limits. Maintenance would include erecting and replacing signs, applying pavement markings, repairing roads and removing snow and ice. Council will hear a second reading of this ordinance at their March 21 meeting.
Council passed a resolution opposing House Bill 563, a bill that would reduce the power municipalities have to regulate Transient Guest Lodgings.
Council passed a resolution condemning Russia’s war against Ukraine and supporting the Ukrainian people. The resolution also encouraged villagers to donate to a “credentialed organization able to provide immediate assistance to refugees and Ukrainians unable or unwilling to flee.”
In other Council business, March 7:
• Council received communications from Dino Pallotta and Patrick Lake regarding Housh’s behavior on social media and calling for him to be removed from Council. Housh wrote a letter to Council and the wider community apologizing “for any harm caused by my recent social media interactions.” Housh was not at the meeting due to a fall prior to the meeting.
• Laura Curliss sent a letter requesting that Council rescind the legislation censuring her for her inappropriate comments toward Village administration and staff members. Council members Stokes, Brown and MacQueen said that they would discuss the matter at a later meeting.
• In the citizens’ concerns portion of the meeting, Catherine Price suggested that Council “place limitations on the Oberer company’s presence” in the village, alleging that Oberer has ties with Russia because of their donations to the Trump campaign.