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Village Council

Present at the most recent Village Council meeting, Monday, Oct. 2, were Council members Carmen Brown, Marianne MacQueen, Gavin DeVore Leonard (virtually), Vice President Kevin Stokes, President Brian Housh and Interim VillageManager Johnnie Burns. By a vote of 3–2, Housh was demoted to regularcouncil person with Stokes succeeding him as president. (Video still)

Brian Housh removed as Village Council president

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At the most recent Village Council meeting, Monday, Oct. 2, Council members voted to remove Brian Housh from his position as Council president.

By a vote of 3–2 — with Housh and Marianne MacQueen against the motion, and Gavin DeVore Leonard, Carmen Brown and Vice President Kevin Stokes voting in favor — Housh was demoted to regular councilperson.

Following the motion’s passage, Stokes was appointed president and DeVore Leonard became vice president.

After adjourning from the group’s executive session, called to “discuss complaints against a public official,” prior to the meeting, Brown introduced the motion to remove Housh from his leadership position.

She stated: “I believe this action is necessary. … Council president has shown such signs of impairment that it’s clear he is no longer able — at least at this point — to hold the position.”

The “signs of impairment” to which Brown referred are allegations made against Housh being intoxicated at past Village Council meetings and purportedly driving under the influence.

In a statement he read before the motion for his removal was carried, Housh denied those allegations, citing prescribed medication that can cause “unusual behavior.”

“It’s important to note that I take medication for a physical condition that has a variety of side effects,” Housh said. “So on a few occasions, I have either seemed out of it or intoxicated.”

Housh provided the News with two doctors notes from July 2022; one noted that Housh was seen for syncope, or fainting, and that he is “safe to continue work at this time and drive if necessary.” The second note from a different physician said Housh was given medication that may cause fatigue, headaches, insomnia and drowsiness.

Also in his statement, Housh specifically brought up an Aug. 24 incident in which he appeared to be inebriated when a police officer intercepted him stumbling in the middle of East Davis Street. The responding officer did not conduct a field sobriety test, but determined that Housh was unfit to drive his car — which was parked on the curb on the wrong side of the street — and called former Village Manager Josué Salmerón to take him home.

“I can confirm I had two drinks over a two-and-a-half hour period, but I was not intoxicated,” Housh explained. “When I got into my car, I felt fine. I quickly started feeling not fine, immediately parked and got out of my car. These incidents come on quickly.”

Housh was also critical of an editorial that ran in the Sept. 22 issue of the News in which the editorial team first brought the circumstances surrounding the Aug. 24 incident to light, and noted the incident report recorded by YSPD dispatch that described Housh as “intoxicated” — a description consistent with the behavior shown in the officer’s body camera footage.

Housh said at Monday’s meeting that community members — including the News — should try to “understand or empathize” better with those with impairments.

“I am particularly concerned by the attitudes tied to justice that ultimately show a clear bias against individuals who have physical or mental conditions,” he said.

MacQueen was also critical of the ongoing concerns regarding Housh, and suggested the public should refocus its attention on what she believes are more pressing matters.

“I really look forward to having this many people in our audience about a lot of other issues,” she said. “[Council] is getting ready to do its [2024] budget, for example. That’s really going to make a difference in the community.”

Of the vote to remove Housh from his position, Stokes said the decision did not come easily.

“[Council] felt, as a body, we owed it to concerned village residents, staff and ourselves to just take a beat, a moment, to address these concerns whole-heartedly,” Stokes said.

The new Council president also noted that he expects Housh to one day assume the presidency again.

“Brian, I value your wisdom, intelligence and effectiveness as president … so I yield to your expertise in that regard,” Stokes said. “I do expect this to be a temporary change.”

Stokes continued: “I fully expect us as a body and Village government to keep moving full steam ahead; we have a lot of work to do.”

Additional coverage of the Monday, Oct. 2, Village Council meeting will appear in next week’s issue of the News. The next regular Village Council meeting will be held on Monday, Oct. 16, at 7 p.m., and a special Council meeting to discuss the budget will be held Thursday, Oct. 12, 9-11 a.m.


10 Responses to “Brian Housh removed as Village Council president”

  1. Diddley Squat says:

    Without a blood alcohol test, who is to say what the impairment was from legally? He wasn’t driving when he was stopped, right? I thought that is why tests are administered, to rule out other possibilities. Hell, if you’re not going to validate intoxication with a test for the record, might as well say he was possessed. Hey, it’s Yellow Springs, S*it happens. Good luck with all that, but I don’t think anything about this situation reflects well on anyone involved, myself included, for wasting time commenting on it.

  2. Send In The Clowns... says:

    If his work environment was already aware of a problem, were employee assistance programs offered before it got to this level of crisis that his job was on the line?

    I don’t understand any of this process as it has played out in the news or online. I always thought there were state and local laws protecting the workplace and the employee in these situations. A job and reputation are identities that transcend any one particular position and organizations have to be very careful of infringing on someone’s future employment options. This seem all very disorganized and circus like. Can you fix that?

    “Contact your state or county office for alcohol and drug misuse services and ask if these resources are available in your area. You can also use SAMHSA’s Drug-Free Workplace Helpline, 1-800-WORKPLACE (967-5752), as a resource.”

  3. Sobriety says:

    “Embarrassing someone into surrendering their post is not a reflection of good citizenship ANY more than a drunkard driving is.” That is the statement as I submitted it before the ‘type’.

    Holding someone accountable is justified; however, people still get sober in their own time when they are ready to admit a problem and have a desire to change–surrender.

    I was referring to the onslaught of public ridicule and not the initial vote of the council for removal, although, perhaps a closed door session may have accomplished their purpose as well. People sometimes think that public ridicule or ‘arranging some bottom’ or public embarrassment propels a problem drinking into getting help. I can assure you from personal experience that the only thing that commits one to sobriety, is the honest, heartfelt, desire for it coming from within. You have to want it.

  4. Phenomenon of Nature says:

    drinking alcohol on social occasions is a lifestyle and one that isn’t easily surrendered; ‘abusing’ alcohol can mask many conditions including depression or social anxiety; some medications, inhibit ones better judgment making it easier to make a faulty decision even to drink while taking the prescription under the guise of “moderation”~~I know few people who are regular drinkers quick to surrender their acquired drinking practice because of a pill or even a medical condition. it is a can of worms that doctors inadequately address because they don’t know how; or they feel it’s futile; or they indulge in the practice themselves and don’t want to be a hypocrite; ultimately, if it is a problem with alcohol, one has to make their own choice; no one can tell you that you are an alcoholic; hence, the river in Egypt scenario, it’s deep and wide, and we all know many there including loved ones. Denial is as common factor to alcohol abuse as anything. It, too, is part of a medical condition known as substance abuse; if a person, has a blood sugar problem that causes impaired driving, it is recognized as such; I worked with a young man who had a condition that made him stagger when his blood sugar dropped and he was mistaken for being drunk. These things happen. But, ultimately, even if it is something like alcohol abuse disorder, that, too, is a ‘medical condition’ and deserves the respect of any medical condition that begs to be treated; the only difference being, the person with the condition, has to want to address it as such. Embarrassing someone into surrendering their post is not a reflection of good citizenship and more than a drunkard driving. I’m not saying Housh has an alcohol problem; I am saying ((if)) he does and needs or wants help with it, it starts with recognition. If he has a problem and doesn’t want help, that is his prerogative too. Either way, I wish him well and a long happy life and to that goal suggest ‘don’t drink and drive’ which applies to EVERYONE. thank you for your continued support of my ramblings.

  5. Capt. Who says:

    Here’s an idea. Go DRY. Cedarville is dry. Oh, wait, the thriving economy of small town OH most places relies on the alcohol industry including breweries, events and just about everything except going to church, so all this talk like Housh did something no one else has ever done is proverbial Bull. If it weren’t for booze Yellow Springs would blow in the wind like a tumbleweed.

    He’ll figure out what he needs in his own time. Give him a break and don’t act like you never had one yerselves. Aarrgh…

  6. ChittyChittyDangDang says:

    the same type of impairments from Rx medications do not deter gun ownership even though….need i say more?

  7. Georgia LIndsey says:

    There are many prescription medications that cause drunken like symptoms. People who take these are still accountable for their actions when under the influence. As these symptoms/behaviors have been ongoing over years, Brian should have been well aware of the effect the “medication” had on him, and should have stayed home.

    The officer who intervened in Brian’s most recent public incapacitation kindly called the village manager rather than investigated the cause of his “stumbling in the middle of the road”. Is this a service that will be offered to everyone that is encountered while incapacitated?

  8. MountainLand says:

    Boy, I agree. Mr. Housh should have gone to the ER or paramedics called. I experienced syncope many years ago from pain medications, and as I recall, would be fine one moment and have my eyes rolling upward passing out the next, this was without alcohol. Ended up having a long list of extensive, invasive, medical tests only to find out that the medications were to blame. I’m very sensitive to drugs and even consume caffeine very cautiously. (I can’t do the Dew.)

    Chronic Pain is a very difficult friend to make acquaintance with, but I certainly had to because it was the “devil you know being better than the devil you don’t” We are on speaking terms now and I don’t take any Rx drugs. I am a survivor.

  9. Nadia Bender (alias) says:

    Medications can often have unique side effects on unique individuals. It is best to know how any newly prescribed medication is going to impact us before driving or operating machinery. Doctors do not always elaborate on all possible side effects and may fail to initiate any ‘no alcohol warning’ to adults. Often when asked about drinking behavior, a patient will quickly answer as “non problematic or occasional.” I recall many years ago getting a Rx and asking the prescribing MD if I could drive with it and being told ‘yes.’ Well, I visited a friends house, did NOT consume Any alcohol, took the medicine as prescribed and while driving home, I stopped at a stop light wondering if one goes on red or green. So, you see, doctors don’t always know how a patient will respond and the patient would be greater served if doctors simply admitted that or if they would instruct the patient to exercise greater caution “until any and all possible side effects are determined.”

    I like Mr. Housh and think he represents the best of Yellow Springs very pleasantly. Life, itself, is such a learning process that I hope he has all the support he richly deserves as someone proceeding to make sense of this personal now public issue. God bless.

  10. Remains Anonymous says:

    I have one question about this situation. If the most recent incidents that occurred with Mr. Housh were true medical conditions, then why wasn’t he taken to the hospital instead of to his house? I sure hope the rest of the council and especially Chief Burge would not be willing to risk their careers for him.

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