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Macedonia Councilmember faults mayor's use of workers to distribute fliers

by Mike lesko | reporter Published: October 19, 2016 12:00 AM

Macedonia -- Although Law Director Mark Guidetti ruled there was nothing improper about Mayor Joseph Migliorini having part-time city workers distribute fliers Oct. 7 and 10 about ballot issues 18 and 19 to homes, Council member Sylvia Hanneken said she plans to ask the law director to have the Ohio Ethics Commission and Ohio Elections Commission rule on the situation.

Issue 18 seeks an additional 0.25 percent income tax increase for 10 years earmarked for road replacement/repairs and open ditch restoration, while Issue 19 is a renewal of a .25 percent increase for parks and recreation for 20 years.

Migliorini said nothing improper occurred leading up to an Oct. 13 town hall meeting to discuss the two issues, adding he simply assigned part-time city workers to distribute notices for the meeting. He said there was no overtime involved and the total cost for the workers was about $200.

"This was far cheaper than sending out mailers with postage which could have been totally excessive and costly," he said.

Hanneken, who opposed placing the two issues on the ballot, said the city had other methods of getting its message across.

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"If people want to know what is going on, we have Facebook and a city website," she said. "We have all kinds of ways to distribute the information. To spend money in this way should not be done with our taxpayer resources."

Migliroini said it was important for the administration and City Council to inform the residents of the issues on the ballot.

"There is nothing in this notice that is suggesting that residents vote either yes or no," he said. "It is merely to educate them and invite them to an open session to ask questions."

Hanneken in an email accused Migliorini of taking "city employees off task using city vehicles to promote a meeting that promotes these levies."

Guidetti, who was asked by the mayor to rule on the situation, told Hanneken in an email her allegations against Migliorini were "improper" and her information was "inaccurate."

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Guidetti told Hanneken her behavior was "unprofessional and counter-productive to the city's best interests."

"Absolutely no violation of the Revised Code has occurred," Guidetti said, "and you (Hanneken) should apologize to the mayor for making such an allegation. I wish I could be hopeful that such conduct will not occur in the future."

Despite Guidetti's ruling, Hanneken insisted her charges were valid.

"The flier is not neutral," she said. "If you read the flier, you cannot conclude anything but, 'You should vote yes.' They're saying, 'If you don't vote for it, you won't get your road repairs.'"

Hanneken said Oct. 14 she plans to ask the law director to have the mayor's actions reviewed by the Ohio Ethics Commission and the Ohio Elections Commission.

Email: mlesko@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9432

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