Circleville – Council Chambers were packed during Tuesday’s Council meeting, even though the Charter was not on the agenda, it was the main topic of conversation, not only between citizens but between the Mayor and Council.
Tom Duvall – Councilperson-At-Large was first to fire at the Mayor of Circleville on his stance that the Charter document that was sent to the voters of Circleville contained Political language, and said that, “the document that is described in the mayor’s letter is a document from the council, not from a PAC, the “Charting the Future” on the front of the document was not PAC it was the commission. I believe the mayor is misled.”
Caryn Koch-Esterline – Councilperson 2nd Ward was next to call out the mayor’s email and asked for the mayor to speak to the council on his allegations of misuse of taxpayers’ funds to our residing body.
In an email that was sent to Circleville Council members from the Mayor last week, he said he was “concerned” that the charter document that went out to voters was not what was approved by the council.
“The proposed charter that was approved by ordinance should have led with the preamble. The preamble was the proposed charter authorized by ordinance. On the front and back page of the document that was sent to registered voters is a logo that states Charting Our Future/ City of Circleville. This is unfortunately the PAC, registered with the Board of Elections. The document that was sent to registered voters promotes a campaign for the charter using taxpayers’ money.”
In light of this, the mayor called upon the City Council to remove the Charter from the ballot.
During the meeting
Circleville Mayor Don Mcllroy answered the questions and defended his position on his concerns with political language surrounding the charter document that was mailed to Circleville Citizens.
“I did send you guys a email on July 2, I sent it to all elected officials city of Circleville. I also copied Matthew Nichols, who is the Pickaway Board of elections. I copied him because the Secretary of State told me to contact the board of elections. No one has called me on this, asked me, what are you thinking? I never had a chance to talk with anybody about this, [after the email]. So let’s talk about this document,” the Mayor said, “I had a meeting with concerned citizens and they brought these concerns up.”
“Charging our future is not the city logo,”They said, “Where is the city logo of the city document?”
That’s when the Mayor said he started doing research on the ordinance that was passed by City Council on April 19th. “The proposed charter has always looked like this.” The Mayor held up the preamble that was approved by the council, that document starts on page 4 of the booklet that was sent to citizens and ends on page 20. “Proposed charter has always looked like this. It has been labeled the final copy of the charter. Every time we have received it. This is the final chapter approved by the council. The ordinance also goes on to say the council is hereby directed to mail a copy of the proposed charter to each registered voter, okay. We’ll get back to that.”
“Charging our future, is not the city of Circleville,” the mayor said, You open up this document and you do not see a letter from the elected officials, and you do not see our signatures. The reason you don’t see our signatures is that two of you folks [Council] did not sign it. Nor did I sign in during the process of discussion with you and the discussion with other people. Its not in there because they did not want to send it out. Because if they saw the mayor did not sign it, it would be detrimental to us passing this charter. Who made the decision? Who made the decision to pull that page? Where do the citizens of Circleville realize this came from the city of Circleville? Look at the signs in the yard to say vote for the charter, down below, it says paid for by charting our future that concerns me. Because it didn’t come from the city of Circleville. It came from a pack that is in favor of this passing. Several of the pages, from the cover to page 4 (10 pages), nobody in this room saw those pages until it was sent out to the voters.”
“How did this happen? And did anyone give approval for this to be done? How was this given approval to get done? That was my concern.
The mayor said the charter commission did their job, they were empowered to put together a charter and present it to the council, and they did that until April, and City Council approved the charter, afterward, the charter commission ceased to exist it was disbanded according to the statue.
“Now, given the charter commission cease to exist on 4/19, how did they get on new pages in the Charter booklet? In my opinion, those should have come from the elected officials of the city so people would know this document came from us. Where does it say by ordinance that the charter was going to print this document in the ordinance. It says that it’s going to be taken care of by the clerk of courts by the city officials. Where did it allow a PAC to put this together?”
Mayor said that he contacted Vistaprint and through investigation found that a citizen had put the document together, a person who was previously on the Charter Commission.
“You allowed somebody else to print this document without any authority, without any authority it should have been part of the counsel doing it. Nobody gave anybody the authority to print this document. Now it is not only a document that says what’s in here, but there is also a mission statement, and the mission statement says “we aspire to great design and communicate a form of government that will allow power for the citizens of Circleville.” They’re telling you to vote for this, they’re telling you to vote for this, whoever mailed this out to our citizens., and it wasn’t the city of Circleville because you can’t find a logo here anyplace.”
Caryn Koch-Esterline – Councilperson 2nd Ward responded to the mayor by saying, “it is not the mayor’s place or right to demand such a position, and I vehemently oppose such action from a separate branch of government. It’s a separate branch of government get that? My view is that the mayor is welcome to file a lawsuit if he deems it necessary. Now he walks into our house across the street as a guest and says I didn’t call or no one else called.”
Barry Keller President of Council went on record after the discussion and said that he did meet with the Mayor on Monday and discussed his arguments to the charter and, “we left me agreeing to disagree. Because I didn’t see a wrong booklet, or something wrong with how distributed and when it was received. I thought it was a completion of the requirements by law to get that in the hands of the voters by the deadline, and that was accomplished. That was my position. He has a different position. We agree to disagree.”
The City law director Gary Kenworth was asked his opinion by Councilwoman Katie Logan Hedges he replied, “I think that’s really a question for the Secretary of State’s office and what is wrong with it? I think it’s probably more of an information thing. Getting into technicalities to call it legal or illegal. I guess the biggest concern I have is, did it follow statute and who sent it out, and who produced this document if it was the city or it was the PAC.”
Councilwoman Katie Logan Hedges pointed out, that in fact inside the booklet from page 4 where it reads “Preamble” until page 20 this is in fact the document that the city council approved it has not been changed. The items that are in question are the front cover to page three (10 total pages) and the back cover page.
During the portion of the City council where citizens were able to address the city council, President Barry Keller allowed 15 minutes for the charter and 15 minutes against the charter in 3-minute intervals per person. The against used all of their time and the for had 7 minutes left to speak.
Sciotopost asked the mayor after the meeting that if the charter was to fail, would he run for mayor again? He answered the question no he will not be running again for mayor.