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Councilor's public records complaint resolved

By MIKE LESKO Reporter Published: January 11, 2017 12:00 AM

MACEDONIA -- A public records complaint filed by Macedonia Councilor Sylvia Hanneken seeking information from the city on salaries and benefits of city employees hired after Dec. 31, 2015 has been resolved.

Law Director Mark Guidetti said the city created a document, which he said previously did not exist, containing the information Hanneken wanted.

Hanneken said she is satisfied.

"I got the information I wanted," she said Jan. 4. "The issue is settled."

Hanneken, who filed the public records complaint Dec. 8 with the Ohio Court of Claims, said she received the information she sought Dec. 22 from the city, adding she signed a Court of Claims voluntary dismissal form.

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Guidetti said the city is "glad the issue is revolved."

"We were able to work out our differences and provide the information she was looking for at the end of the day," he said, adding the public records complaint was "unnecessary."

"She could have made the request as a member of City Council for a document that didn't exist," he said.

Hanneken said previously she requested and was given similar information for the calendar year 2015 on a spread sheet.

"I asked them to update it this year," she said. "They said they refused to do it because it wasn't a public record. It's a very odd situation. There was nothing unusual about the whole thing other than, I don't know why they simply didn't give it to me in the first place."

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Hanneken stressed it was not a lawsuit against the city.

"I wasn't trying to collect money from the city," she said. "All this was a huge fuss over nothing. I have no idea why this whole thing had to be dragged out like this. It was kind of crazy."

Mayor Joe Migliorini said he is frustrated because he said Hanneken made more than 500 public record requests in 2015 and more than 200 public records requests in 2016.

"Every request was answered, yet she found it such that she needed to file under this new claims process," he said. "What she was seeking was a document that we did not have. We would have had to create such a document. We provided her with what we thought she wanted."

The public records act, established in 2016, allows a citizen to file a complaint with the Ohio Court of Claims for $25. He said once that is done, the case gets referred to mediation. If it can't be resolved, he said 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.

Mike Lesko: 330-541-9432

mlesko@recordpub.com

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