BOARDMAN Trustee raises issue involving new leader
The agenda policy has been changed.
By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BOARDMAN -- Trustees, at a reorganization meeting this month, elected trustee Elaine Mancini as chairwoman of the board, but one trustee said the decision was not properly made.
Trustee Kathy Miller, at a meeting this week, said Mancini and trustee Tom Costello discussed Mancini's nomination before the Jan. 12 reorganization meeting. Miller said that action violated Ohio's Sunshine Laws.
Sunshine Law essentially requires all public bodies to take all official actions and hold all deliberations on official business in meetings that are open to the public. Certain matters, such as some discussions about personnel, the purchase of property, pending or imminent court action, and collective bargaining agreements, may be taken to executive session or closed meetings.
During the Jan. 12 meeting, Costello, who had served as chairman for two years, nominated Mancini to be chairwoman of the board for this year. All three trustees voted in favor of the nomination.
How situation came about
After being appointed chairwoman, Mancini made comments about how she would conduct meetings as chairwoman. Miller said Mancini's comments were "a prepared statement," leading her to believe Mancini had discussed the nomination with Costello before the meeting and a decision was made beforehand.
Mancini said there was no discussion about the nomination before the meeting. She said Costello asked her a question before the meeting and she gave him an answer.
"It was a simple question. We never talked about the issue," said Mancini. "He [Costello] asked me if I planned on moving up and I said yes."
At a trustees meeting this week, Costello told Miller he asked Mancini if she wanted to "move up" because he no longer wanted to be chairman. He said he did not pose the same question to Miller because he did not plan on nominating her for the position.
Comments to trustee
"I had no intention on nominating you for chair," he said. "I have found you uncooperative with trustees, plus you have recently entered a race for another office, which makes me question your commitment to the residents of Boardman Township."
Miller is running for state representative against incumbent Kenneth Carano of Austintown, D-59th.
Mancini said she has since been in contact with legal council who informed her that the question and answer with Costello outside of the open meeting did not violate Sunshine Law.
Miller also took issue with an agenda policy change put in place by Mancini, which said any items to be added to the meeting agenda after the Friday before the meeting would have to be approved by two trustees. The policy has since been changed to require notification of the chair for any agenda additions.
Mancini said she was advised by legal council to change the policy.