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Allegations of misspent funds unfounded, says law director

From Staff Reports Published: April 26, 2017 12:00 AM

MACEDONIA -- The city's law director has responded to allegations the administration has violated state law by "marketing" Issue 3, stating the city has the right to provide information to residents.

The issue was raised at a March 23 Council meeting by Councilor Sylvia Hanneken, and again on April 12 by resident Jorge Pla, an attorney who stated in a letter to Law Director Mark Guidetti that "Given the Mayor's public stance on the matter, lack of neutrality on information being released, and altogether failure to address opposing views, it is doubtful anyone would see the Mayor's campaign as anything other than propaganda intended to pass Issue 3."

Pla also stated he believes the expenditure of nearly $50,000 in support of Issue 3 was improper because the money was not earmarked by Council for that purpose.

Migliorini said March 23 he takes full responsibility for the expenditure and said it was for public education, which Guidetti explained in an April 12 response to Pla.

"First, municipalities are permitted to expend public funds to provide information to taxpayers regarding a levy on which they will vote at an upcoming election. This is part of the purpose of the total expenditure. Second, the expenditure is also for the purpose of gathering information from residents regarding their needs and wants, and to continue providing information to residents throughout the year," Guidetti wrote.

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Migliorini told the News Leader April 13 the $49,700 expenditure is paying for a Hudson firm to gather and provide information, including a recent, community-wide phone and online survey of residents to gain feedback on areas such as government communication, roads, parks and recreation, senior services and more.

"The fee covers the whole year, by the way. It isn't just for Issue 3," Migliorini said.

Regarding Council's duty to appropriate the funds, Guidetti said in his April 12 letter to Pla that "the funds were appropriately accounted for via appropriation measures "out of funds allocated to the administration/Finance, the expenditure of which are, generally, within the administration's discretion."

Phone: 330-541-9433

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