Macedonia -- Councilor Sylvia Hanneken has filed a public records complaint with the Ohio Court of Claims, saying she has requested but not received information from the city on salaries and benefits of city employees hired after Dec. 31, 2015.
Macedonia Law Director Mark Guidetti and Mayor Joseph Migliorini both declined to comment on specifics regarding the complaint.
The complaint was filed with the clerk of courts at the Summit County Court of Common Pleas Nov. 29 and was forwarded to the Ohio Court of Claims in Columbus.
Hanneken said she has been trying to find out "the full range of costs for salaries and benefits for all the employees of the city."
She said the city did provide records she requested for the 2015 calendar year.
"It basically gave me the opportunity to see what the total cost would be for the increase in salaries," she said. "In September, I asked for an update for the same information. I asked for a list of employees hired after Dec. 31, 2015, but I was not given that information. They sent me a copy of the [financial] spread sheet, but it did not include any new employees. They said the request was closed. No payroll stubs for any employees were provided."
In response to her request for 2016 information, Guidetti wrote in an email, " ... the city has produced all records responsive to your requests ... I have reviewed the record provided to you by the city, and it is fully responsive to that request ..."
Regarding Hanneken's request "to include any employees (seasonal, part-time and full-time) hired Jan. 1, 2016 through the current date," Guidetti wrote, "I understand that no record responsive to your request exists ... the city has no duty to create records in response to public records requests ... This is why your public records requests have been closed."
Hanneken said she "simply wants to know the information."
"There is no particular reason other than that, for me being a member of City Council and the finance committee," she said. "I am trying to evaluate what I am being told [by the city]. It is nothing more than that. I spent two months trying to get simple straight-forward answers. I am simply trying to find out the facts. That's where we're at right now.
"I decided I would take it forward under the new law that allows you to file a denial of a public records request," she said.
Guidetti said the public records complaint is a new process created by the state
"This process has only been around for a couple months," he said. "An individual can file a complaint for $25 with the Ohio Court of Claims, or at the county court with jurisdiction. Once that is done, the case gets referred to mediation. If it can't be resolved, a special master is assigned to the case and will issue an advisory opinion that a court of claims judge can review, then a subsequent ruling that is appealable is given [by a court of claims judge]."
Guidetti said the previous procedure, which was handled by the Ohio Attorney General's office, also had a type of mediation available but was lengthier and more expensive.
"The new process is quicker," he said.