Trustee Shafer called the meeting to order and led the staff and audience in the pledge of allegiance.
Trustee Shafer introduced new Fiscal Officer, Barry Evans. Mr. Evans acknowledged Tillie Kinsley and thanked her for stepping to the plate during the transition.
Invocation: Trustee Lynch gave the invocation.
FIRE DEPARTMENT: (Chief Rich Peterson)
New Hires: Approval for hiring of Fire Department personnel: After the introduction and swearing in of the new hires, TRUSTEE LYNCH MOTIONED TO APPROVE HIRING Firefighter/EMT Dale Freitag at $10.13 per hour, Firefighter/EMT John Tack at $10.13 per hour, Firefighter/EMT David Truex at $10.13 per hour, P/T Civilian Dispatcher Matthew Moulton at $10.00 per hour, P/T Civilian Dispatcher Timothy Ray at $10.00 per hour with the effective hire date of December 14, 2007 seconded by Trustee Gress. Roll call voting: Lynch – yes, Gress – yes and Shafer – yes. MOTION CARRIED. RES#07-418
The new hires received a round of applause.
Before moving on with Fire Department agenda items, Trustee Shafer commented on the work session held on December 4, 2007 regarding the Dispatch Analysis Report compiled and presented by Christy Bresson on behalf of the CBNT members.
Trustee Shafer said before turning things over to Chief Peterson, she reminded everyone in attendance that there would be no disruption or interruption or attempt to talk over each other while the board or Chief Peterson speak.
Trustee Shafer said she finds it very disheartening that a group that claims to be for the betterment of the township is subjecting our entire community to such criticism and wanted to go on record that the report presented is one that she would classify as fiction.
Shafer said after reviewing
the report, she composed a letter to Mrs. Bresson requesting the names,
addresses and contact numbers for members of CBNT. The analysis presented was brought forward
“on behalf of the members of the Citizens for a
Shafer also wanted to ensure the public that the fire department bookkeeping is above bar and said all records are open to the public for review by calling the township office and requesting to do so. She stated that the Stark County Prosecutor submitted a written opinion about our fire department financials and all is legal. With the opening statements at the work session on 12/4/07, Trustee Gress made it clear that he would like to change the look of our financial report contrary to the prosecutor’s opinion.
Shafer continued stating Trustee Gress said he is unable to decipher the fire department financials in their current form and asked if this is a reason to change the format. She suggested that he meet with the fiscal officer or fire chief and ask for clarification. She stated that Carlene Harmon and Tillie Kinsley had always been available as well as Barry Evans, who is coming on board now.
Trustee Shafer said Bresson states in her analysis that she has had “personal interviews with township staff and the fiscal officer”.
Shafer stated Russ Goffus spoke at the December 4th work session about the importance of department heads and their ability to relay information to the Board of Trustees. He also mentioned the department heads are the experts in their fields.
Shafer continued stating Mrs.
Bresson’s analysis was complete in September 2007 and said she found it odd
that it was such a secret report that she chose not to disclose the items to
the board nor did she disclose her concerns to the fire chief. Shafer sated she has an email (which is
public record) that Mrs. Bresson sent on October 16, 2007 to Elaine at
In addition to the email, Shafer said Bresson also followed up with a phone conversation (per Elaine) advising that the Perry Township Trustees should be knowledgeable before renewing the Nimishillen Dispatch Contract. Mrs. Bresson indicated to Elaine that she is part of a group of 20 people who are challenging the budget of the Nimishillen Township Dispatch Center.
Trustee Shafer said Bresson made the following statements (per Elaine), which are all outlined in the email, which is available by contacting the Nimishillen Township office:
At the end of the email, Bresson also welcomed questions, concerns or input from the Perry Township Board and gave her personal phone number so that she could be reached.
Shafer said that while Bresson claims in her analysis “that personal differences are set aside”, if this was actually true, things could have been handled differently such as:
Shafer said nothing was brought to the board’s attention. Instead, Mrs. Bresson contacted agencies, with Perry Township being one of them, which in Trustee Shafer’s opinion she was
attempting to sabotage a dispatch contract with misinformation and all the employees of the fire department.
Shafer then brought up the fire levy. She said everyone knows the fire levy failed several times. She said this Board of Trustees had made statements regarding misinformation that’s been out there. Shafer said the ‘analysis’ shows all the misinformation.
Shafer said Goffus made a statement at the work session on 12/4/07 about the fire levy and how it has not passed. Shafer said what disgusts her is that Goffus stated that the fire levy would most likely have passed and should have been placed on the ballot after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. According to his comments, the board could have got anything passed after 9/11. The CD from the 12/4/07 work session is available to the public by calling the township office at 330-875-9924.
Shafer said she hopes that everyone realizes that Chief Peterson and this board will only ask the voters to approve a levy if it is absolutely necessary. At the time of the September 11th attacks, a levy was not needed which is why Chief Peterson did not ask for it. Shafer continued by stating it disgusts her to think that someone would prey on the terror that people lived with after the attacks. She said it’s inconceivable that someone, in this case Russ Goffus, would make such a statement.
Before turning it over to Chief Peterson, Shafer personally thanked the fire department staff for the exceptional service they provide to the entire community stating they are all well qualified employees with hearts of gold. She said they all place their lives in danger with each call to ensure public safety, they attend hours upon hours of training and she said she stands beside them as we continue to move forward. She said it’s time to dispel the non-sense that has been going on.
Chief Peterson stated this is not the way he likes to handle concerns of residents. He said he knows there have been concerns regarding the communication center. Some people in attendance tonight have sat down with him over a cup of coffee and all their questions and concerns were answered. The Chief said he’s been here a long time and has seen good and bad things in the township. He said when this was being talked about and presented, he didn’t agree with it and stated there are other avenues in which this could have been handled.
Chief Peterson continued saying he does not want to talk about personal issues but said he does want to dispel some of the things that were reported on at the December 4th work session. One is the fire department staffing. Peterson stated there has been a misconception that he cut the staff or somehow the township reduced the staff. He said this is absolutely not true. The Nimishillen Township Board of Trustees and Fiscal Officer had a work session on August 8, 2007. During that meeting, information was presented and all was discussed such as schedules dating back to 2002. Peterson had given a list of employees who had moved on to other jobs and hours that they had worked and it showed how the schedule had been depleted.
Chief Peterson said the individuals tell him when they are available. As they were forced to find other jobs, the availability became less and less. The reason there are open shifts isn’t because of cuts or the money doesn’t exist, it’s because the firefighters just aren’t putting in their availability.
The Chief stated he put forth a plan and when the levy went down in February, he had a commitment to this board and told his firefighters that the reason it was put on in a special
election was to eliminate any other doubt, whether it was school levy related or anything else. After that levy failed, Peterson said he would no longer come to the board to make that request. He said he was going to start shifting gears in the fire department, start putting together a package whereby our firefighters who had left would be replaced by new people and P/T people. Peterson reiterated it is not a funding issue. It’s an issue of availability.
Peterson said as he looked over the document presented by CBNT, there’s information within the document that is correct but the areas that are incorrect or numbers that are incorrect are used to prove a point. Peterson said unfortunately he needs to go through some of this now.
Peterson said first of all, there are a lot of opinions. He wants everyone to understand that this has not been validated. He said he knows there was research done, but the data for the study was obtained from a variety of sources, which are listed, including personal interviews with the township staff and the fiscal officer but notably the fire chief was never consulted. Because of this, the information is not factual such as subsidizing other dispatching for other local government. Peterson said fire and emergency services historically have survived on relying on neighboring communities. This is locally as well as Statewide / Nationwide Response Plans and has been pushed by elected officials. Subsidizing is the area everyone is going into - shared-services are a regional concept.
Another topic in Bresson’s analysis is the dispatch center not being manned 24/7 by two dispatches at all times. Peterson said this is not true. From day one, there have been two certified trained dispatchers on post 24/7. This has never been an issue. Chief Peterson gave a detailed explanation which is available on CD.
Training: In Bresson’s analysis, it was stated the dispatchers are not trained to certain standards. Peterson stated that five (5) of our dispatchers are trained to the APCO Certification level and those dispatchers train the new people. Is everyone APCO trained? Absolutely not. Is that our goal? Absolutely.
Other subjects discussed are:
Detailed information is on the CD and can be obtained by contacting the township office at 330-875-9924.
In summary, Chief Peterson said a lot of the information presented just isn’t true and said we need to sit back and move ahead. Peterson said he’s really tired of the negativity and said that Nimishillen Township has so much that it should be proud of and that we should be positive regarding all the good things going on. He said we have a beautiful community to live in, have a wonderful fire department and road department. He said he and Trustee Shafer attended the Safety Council meeting today and people are making jokes about this. He said this is embarrassing and we should be proud of our township.
Update on Fire Station No. 3: Attorney Robertson gave an update on Fire Station No. 3 stating the current status of litigation is there’s a trial set for February 25, 2008 and a final pre-trial for February 20th. Motions will be filed next week to hopefully resolve some of these issues.
He explained monies were withheld from R. P. Babik. They sued the township and the fire chief personally. He said they were retained prior to that and represented the township and made claims for the insurance carrier for the township to defend the township. They denied coverage on these issues based on the fact that these claims arise out of contracts which normally are not covered by insurance because it’s mainly a liability issue and not contractual. Discussions had been held to resolve this case. One of their other contractors (the electrical contractor) then sued the township, which has complicated this case. That attorney recently filed a motion to withdraw as the attorney for that client based on irreconcilable differences, part of it being an issue about his fees.
Record requests from R. P. Babik: Attorney Jakmides said Mr. Babik’s office is requesting information from the township. Jakmides said it is preferable that Attorney Robertson handle the information released to Mr. Babik because the township staff and fiscal officer do not know what should / should not be disclosed. Attorney Robertson agreed.
Approve fee for Attorney Robertson: Trustee Shafer stated Attorney Robertson has been working non-stop on this case.
TRUSTEE SHAFER MOTIONED TO APPROVE PAYMENT IN THE AMOUNT OF $17,915.25 to Attorney Jim Robertson seconded by Trustee Gress. Roll call voting: Shafer – yes, Gress – yes and Lynch – yes. MOTION CARRIED. RES#07-419
Approve contract for legal services regarding R. P. Babik Const., et al. v. Nimishillen Township, et al.: TRUSTEE SHAFER MOTIONED IN THE CASE OF R. P. BABIK CONSTRUCTION VS NIMISHILLEN TOWNSHIP with Attorney James T. Robertson and William S. Pidcock being retained at a rate of $125.00 per hour, which is a significant discount from their normal billing of $180.00 and $200.00 per hour for work of this nature, seconded by Trustee Gress. Roll call voting: Shafer – yes, Gress – yes and Lynch – yes. MOTION CARRIED. RES#07-410 (Resolution attached)
Trustee Shafer dismissed the Louisville High School Government Class students, and the elected official signed their papers.
FIRE DEPARTMENT (Continued):
Approval of applicant as employee candidate (Civilian P/T Dispatcher): TRUSTEE LYNCH MOTIONED TO APPROVE APPLICANT, ANDREW SHUSTER, as employee candidate (Civilian P/T Dispatcher) seconded by Trustee Gress. Roll call voting: Lynch – yes, Gress – yes and Shafer – yes. MOTION CARRIED. RES#07-421
Fire training scheduled for 12/16/07: Chief Peterson reminded everyone training is scheduled for Sunday, December 16th, at 8 AM on Gephart, weather permitting. He will contact the board with details.
Monthly Incident Response Report for November 2007: After discussion regarding the report, TRUSTEE LYNCH MOTIONED TO APPROVE THE MONTHLY INCIDENT RESPONSE REPORT FOR NOVEMBER 2007 seconded by Trustee Gress. Roll call voting: Lynch – yes, Gress – yes and Shafer – yes. MOTION CARRIED. RES#07-422 (Copy attached)
ROAD DEPARTMENT: (Interim Road Superintendent, Jamie May)
Road Report: TRUSTEE LYNCH MOTIONED TO APPROVE THE WRITTEN ROAD REPORT FOR DECEMBER 13, 2007 seconded by Trustee Gress. Roll call voting: Lynch – yes, Gress – yes and Shafer – yes. MOTION CARRIED. RES#07-423 (Copy attached)
ZONING DEPARTMENT: (Keith Lasure, Zoning Inspector)
Zoning Report: TRUSTEE LYNCH MOTIONED TO APPROVE THE WRITTEN ZONING REPORT FOR DECEMBVER 13, 2007 seconded by Trustee Gress. Roll call voting: Lynch – yes, Gress – yes and Shafer – yes. MOTION CARRIED. RES#07-424 (Copy attached)
Zoning Report for Stark County Auditor: TRUSTEE LYNCH MOTIONED TO APPROVE THE NOVEMBER 2007 ZONING REPORT FOR THE STARK COUNTY AUDITOR as presented seconded by Trustee Gress. Roll call voting: Lynch – yes, Gress – yes and Shafer – yes. MOTION CARRIED. RES#07-425 (Copy attached)
Installation of Oil Wells: Discussion was held regarding the State installing oil wells in the township.
EPA: (Keith Lasure, EPA Coordinator)
Replacing Septic Systems: Keith Lasure reported with the cooperation of the Health Department, Nick Hammer reported 15 – 30 septic systems have been replaced in the township.
CONCERNS OF THE FISCAL OFFICER: (Barry Evans)
Transfers per Res#07-021:
November 30, 2007:
$4,500.00 from 01-J-03 Zoning Other Expenses to 01-J-01 Zoning Salaries & Fees
$1,000.00 from 01-A-21 Election Expense to 01-A-17 Auditor’s & Treasurer’s Fees
Stale dated checks: TRUSTEE LYNCH MOTIONED TO APPROVE STALE DATED CHECKS – check #5174 for $18.42 to James Joseph on 3/22/07 and check #5297 for $83.92 to Maria Digiroloma on 4/12/07 seconded by Trustee Gress. Roll call voting: Lynch – yes, Gress – yes and Shafer – yes. MOTION CARRIED. RES#07-426
Approve 2008 Temporary Appropriations: TRUSTEE LYNCH MOTIONED TO APPROVE THE 2008 TEMPORARY APPROPRIATIONS seconded by Trustee Gress. Roll call voting: Lynch – yes, Gress – yes and Shafer – yes. MOTION CARRIED. RES#07-427 (Resolution attached)
Excuse Fiscal Officer from 12/27/07 Meeting: Fiscal Officer Barry Evans asked to be excused from the December 27th meeting. He will be on vacation. The board agreed.
Approve attendance and expenses for the 2008 OTA Winter Conference: After discussion, all three trustees and fiscal officer expressed interest in attending the OTA Winter Conference. It is mandatory for the fiscal officer to attend the training.
TRUSTEE LYNCH MOTIONED TO APPROVE ATTENDANCE AND EXPENSES FOR ALL THREE TRUSTEES AND FISCAL OFFICER TO ATTEND the Ohio Township Association Winter Conference in Columbus, Ohio January 30th to February 2nd seconded by Trustee Gress. Roll call voting: Lynch – yes, Gress – yes and Shafer – yes. MOTION CARRIED. RES#07-428
Reinstate Tillie Kinsley as Assistant Fiscal Officer: TRUSTEE SHAFER MOTIONED TO REINSTATE TILLIE KINSLEY as Assistant Fiscal Officer effective December 1, 2007 seconded by Trustee Gress. Roll call voting: Shafer – yes, Gress – yes and Lynch – yes. MOTION CARRIED. RES#07-429 (Copy attached)
CONCERNS OF CITIZENS:
Resident Terri Huckels signed up to speak but declined to speak at this time.
CONCERNS OF TRUSTEES: (Lisa Shafer, Mike Lynch & Allen Gress)
Approve payment for attorney fees: TRUSTEE LYNCH MOTIONED TO APPROVE PAYMENT TO ATTORNEY JAMES MATHEWS REGARDING SELECTIVE INS. in the amount of $2,943.00 seconded by Trustee Gress. Roll call voting: Lynch – yes, Gress – yes and Shafer – yes. MOTION CARRIED. RES#07-430
Amend Resolution #07-388: TRUSTEE LYNCH MOTIONED TO AMEND RES. #07-388 TO INCLUDE ‘The Board sets her salary / compensation to be the same as that of the fiscal officer as fixed by ORC 507.09. Her term as Deputy Fiscal Officer will be from November 1 through November 30, 2007 seconded by Trustee Gress. Roll call voting: Lynch – yes, Gress – yes and Shafer – yes. MOTION CARRIED. RES#07-431 (Copy attached)
Dispatch staffing: Trustee Gress said no one thinks what the Firefighters / EMT staff do is not important and valuable. He said we have good, qualified people. The report presented at the December 4th work session was about the financial side of the fire department – not the quality of personnel.
Gress said had the funds been separated, this wouldn’t have been an issue. He said there was a fire meeting scheduled on December 4th when Christy Bresson presented her report and that’s why Chief Peterson was not in attendance but had he been there as expected, a lot of these issues could have been resolved at that time and there wouldn’t have been all the publicity on it tonight.
Gress said tonight’s report was interesting and said there was an awful lot of it and quick (hard to digest). Gress feels we owe it to look at the issues that were raised and allow Chief Peterson, Tillie or Barry to respond. He said the plan was that we would take one issue a meeting and discuss it and digest it in 15 to 20 minutes.
Gress said the issue he’d like to deal with tonight is staffing but Rich responded to those concerns.
Gress continued stating that he doesn’t know if Bresson’s report is accurate or not and said he doesn’t know if what the Rich said is correct. He said concerns were raised about single staffing at the dispatch center and said he had some questions about this. He also stated Rich
does the scheduling and he should know if there’s double staffing at all times, so it’s a dead issue.
Gress said his position as one of the three people responsible for the overall operation of the township, he was concerned when he heard that there was only one person there. He said apparently this issue has been resolved.
Trustee Gress said at the next meeting, he would like to bring up the issue of the split funding and go through that and after four or five meetings, the Bresson report will have been gone through and hopefully all questions will be answered.
Trustee Lynch said he questions whether or not this is all being taken personal or if the townships best interest is really at heart.
Discussion was held on separating the fire funds. Lynch said Chief Peterson said if the funds are separated, he cannot administer it and run the dispatch center. Discussion followed.
Trustee Shafer said the meeting with CBNT should have never occurred. She told Mr. Gress he should have gone to the fire chief and fiscal officer if he had questions. Shafer said instead of Mr. Gress doing that, he chose this path. Discussion followed.
Trustee Shafer said there are a few things left in Christy Bresson’s report but she feels the facts are not there to back it up. It was suggested that Gress and Chief Peterson get together and discuss any concerns that Gress might have.
Shafer said the SCOG study will be out hopefully in February 2008, which will clarify quite a few things. She suggested to Gress if he has any questions specific to this, he should get together with Tillie, Barry and Rich to answer questions / concerns.
Newman Property: Attorney Jakmides reported there’s a Contempt of Court hearing set for the Newman property on December 28th at 10:30 AM with Judge Brown. The board and Keith Lasure agreed to let Attorney Jakmides talk to Mr. Newman to explain exactly what might happen if he does not comply with the court order.
TRUSTEE LYNCH MOTIONED TO APPROVE THE WRITTEN MINUTES FOR NOVEMBER 20, 2007 seconded by Trustee Gress. Roll call voting: Lynch – yes, Gress – yes and Shafer – yes. MOTION CARRIED. RES#07-432
APPROVE PURCHASE ORDERS, FINANCIAL REPORT AND PAY BILLS:
TRUSTEE LYNCH MOTIONED TO APPROVE ALL PURCHASE ORDERS, FINANCIAL REPORT AND PAY BILLS IN THE AMOUNT OF $52,486.80 seconded by Trustee Shafer. Roll call voting: Lynch – yes, Shafer – yes and Gress – yes. MOTION CARRIED. RES#07-433
SIGN CHECKS AND ADJOURN:
TRUSTEE LYNCH MOTIONED TO SIGN CHECKS AND ADJOURN seconded by Trustee Gress. Roll call voting: Lynch – yes, Gress –yes and Shafer – yes. MOTION CARRIED. RES#07-434
The meeting adjourned at 8:45 PM.
ATTEST: Barry Evans, Fiscal Officer Lisa R. Shafer, President
Michael L. Lynch, Vice President
Allen E. Gress, Trustee