MINUTES OF SPECIAL MEETING
MASSILLON CITY COUNCIL
HELD, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 30, 2011
COUNCIL PRESIDENT GAMBER – Call this special meeting of Massillon City Council to order for Wednesday, March 30, 2011. This meeting was called by the Mayor.
Roll call for the evening found the following Council Members present: Gary Anderson, Kathy Catazaro-Perry, Dave Hersher, Ron Mang, Dave McCune, Donnie Peters, Larry Slagle and Tony Townsend.
Thus giving a roll call vote of 8 present.
COUNCIL PRESIDENT GAMBER – Mr. Mang, we need a motion to excuse Mr. Manson.
COUNCILMAN MANG – Yes, I move that we excuse Mr. Manson from tonight’s meeting, seconded by Councilman Anderson.
Roll call vote of 8 yes to excuse Councilman Manson.
COUNCIL PRESIDENT GAMBER – I’ll recognize Councilman Gary Anderson for the invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance.
COUNCILMAN ANDERSON – Gave the invocation and then led those in attendance with the Pledge of Allegiance.
COUNCIL PRESIDENT GAMBER – We do have several city officials with us we have Mayor Cicchinelli, Auditor Ferrero, Law Director Stergios and Fire Chief Burgasser. Before we get started nice article in the paper this morning I’m embarrassed by that. Regarding my comments after the meeting last night and I mention after the meeting I did apologize to the people involved I kind of lost my temper and I apologized. I won’t go over all the reasons why I was crabby but I was no doubt about it. We all have bad days yesterday was one of mine and I apologize my comments sincerely were meant for the process. What I was told was the compromised budget which I didn’t I won’t get into that either. But again it was not meant for individuals it was meant for the process and I apologize. I brought along extra blood pressure pills tonight so everything’s cool and again I apologize. Now during the meeting I admit I was a bit brusque there too. I was surprised to learn that the budget ordinance was not signed by the members of the finance committee. When I asked that question I was told no I was just told in the conference room that there was a verbal agreement there. But that was surprising I was surprised to see two or three versions of the budget floating around. There was an apparent confusion as to just which version we were talking about and when I tried to find out which one we were talking about there was more confusion. I quite honestly don’t see the need to have amended anything because at Friday’s work session and Monday’s work session there was just a lot of drafts laying around on the table. Until the finance committee picked one of those up and said this is what we’re going with they’re all just drafts. So in my opinion that one should have been the subject of Ordinance No. 52 the Mayor’s budget should be in the wastebasket. There would have been no need to amend anything but as it is we have given that version first reading. This is for second reading tonight if it is to be amended it will go back to first reading again and the rules will have to be suspended. So to over the procedure if the rules are suspended tonight it takes 7 votes, you can then discuss, amend second reading come back tomorrow whatever you want to do. Also a comment was made last night that we moved straight from the motion to suspend the rules to a vote. Well that’s what you do it’s an undebatable motion you have to act on it. Mr. Slagle made that motion I think I even asked you is that your motion? And it was we had a motion and a second we tabled it that’s the end of a special meeting by law. So again I’ve got plenty of chill pills here let’s try it again I’ll ask the Clerk to read the title to Ordinance No. 52.
INTRODUCTION OF ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS
ORDINANCE NO. 52 - 2011 BY: FINANCE COMMITTEE
Appropriating money for current expenses and other expenses of the City of Massillon, Ohio, for the fiscal period ending December 31, 2011, and declaring an emergency.
COUNCILMAN HERSHER – The chair’s opinion not withstanding the ordinance that we have in front of us is what’s been referred to as the Mayor’s budget. So at this point I move to amend Ordinance No. 52 – 2011 to reflect the changes in the most recent version that you all received electronically and by hard copy yesterday.
COUNCIL PRESIDENT GAMBER – Would you please identify specifically what you’re changing it to?
COUNCILMAN HERSHER – Well, the version that we’ve been talking about well it contains at the top amended when you look at the top center of the document where the ordinance is numbered is says amended Ordinance No. 52 – 2011.
COUNCIL PRESIDENT GAMBER – And using the example from last night the final number at the bottom of the page should be…
COUNCILMAN HERSHER – The law director’s $637,797.12.
COUNCIL PRESIDENT GAMBER – Alright, everybody has that version is there anyone who does not? Alright, the motion has been made and seconded. Is there any discussion on this? Mr. McCune?
COUNCILMAN MCCUNE – I will apologize to everyone for my work schedule being what it is and my inability to be here for the past couple of sessions. It appears it got a little lively without my presences and so I wanted to take just a moment to first commend Mr. Slagle for attempting to at least come up with…
COUNCIL PRESIDENT GAMBER – Mr. McCune, we do have a motion on the floor so if you would like to address that specific motion that’s fine. If you have other comments perhaps that could wait till after we’ve amended. I’m just making a suggestion.
COUNCILMAN MCCUNE – No, that would be fine.
COUNCIL PRESIDENT GAMBER – Alright, are there any other comments or any discussion on amending?
Roll call vote of 8 yes to amend Ordinance No. 52 – 2011
ORDINANCE NO. 52 – 2011 HAS BEEN AMENDED.
COUNCIL PRESIDENT GAMBER – The budget is amended at this point we will ask for comments Mr. McCune, go ahead and pick right back up.
COUNCILMAN MCCUNE –As I said I wanted to commend Mr. Slagle for attempting to at least come up with an alternative to the mayor’s budget. But I really believe is the only thing that has been accomplished in his proposal is to create the ultimate shell game in that instead of having two underfunded in the departments in the city we now have every department in the city underfunded. By doing so it’s quite possible that every month a department or departments will have to look under the shell to see if they were the one who uncovered the poison pill. And if so what negative impact will they have to deal with and how many people will be affected by that pill. Then of course you have the nightmare of having to deal with properly funding all the departments of the city rather than just the two that were originally underfunded. Which needless to say will be labor intensive and places the auditor and her staff firmly behind the eight ball each month as they attempt to make sure all the departments are properly funded. Really when you come right down to it other than the nightmare created by Mr. Slagle’s budget you have no change in what was originally proposed to this body as the amount of money certified is the same. The amount of money in the general fund remains the same so the biggest change in what was voted down versus what apparently now has the support for passage is the name associated with the budget which is now Slagle rather than Cicchinelli. Which in my opinion in all honesty is the height of petty politics. So I would like to suggest that rather than creating an auditing and an accounting nightmare of underfunding every department in the city that we consider going forward with the original attempt which has now been changed by the amendment and changing the budget proposal from Cicchinelli or Slagle to Slaginelli instead of underfunding two departments or all the departments just underfund the two. But ultimately we are here to pass a budget whether it be under the name of Cicchinelli or Slagle and has added something that we must do. But this is only the first step in the process for after passing the budget we have to take the bull by the horns and begin to look for ideas whether they’re old or new of how to create a revenue stream that we can take before the people in November and let them decide if they want to continue to put up with these type of petty politics or help us create a revenue stream that will put this to bed once and for all. Thank you.
COUNCIL PRESIDENT GAMBER – Mr. Mang?
COUNCILMAN MANG – I have a few questions for Mr. Slagle. The basic difference and Dave I think just went over that are the two budgets basically is that we’re underfunding I don’t know how many accounts 20 it doesn’t matter we are underfunding those by 4% and taking that amount of money and putting it into the police and fire account. There was also an attempt earlier to take money out of the elected officials but they found out that you can’t do that. So we have moved I don’t know was it $200,000 into the police and fire and now what we have and Dave mentioned it we have 24, 26 accounts that are out of balanced and the police account is still out of balance. We’re still out the number that I think you’ve said $2 million, $3 million or how many millions I don’t know. But that number hasn’t changed so now everything is pretty much equal as far as money goes but there’s one problem we haven’t talked about the courts. Now Mr. Cicchinelli’s budget he didn’t bring in the courts because he did not touch any of the salary positions. Under his ordinance everybody got paid and we didn’t go to the courts and ask for anything. But it’s a little bit different now because it’s very likely that at some point on the administrative side there will be people who will be asked to work short weeks. Now this has happened before a year or two ago when we did the same thing and matter of fact council people here sent checks in and did whatever to help what was due. But at the same time I don’t recall anyone coming over from the court’s side and said you know hey we’ll try and help you out. I know they have a mandate I know that but they also have a mandate to this city because a good portion of their money comes out of this general fund and that’s tax money of which the people of this city put in. Now I think the least they can do is come down from the mountain and say we’ll work this out, we’ll get this 4% we’ll do this we’ve got to do that. Instead of from what I understand well we’ll talk about 2% in September well if you’re going to talk 2% in September why don’t we talk about 2% now make it equal for everybody? That’s the part I don’t know I don’t understand that and I’ll ask Kathy and Tony what would you do if your ship had part of the people being paid and the other people not being paid full because they have to work shorter hours so these people can get paid full. Does that run a ship would that happen in your business over in Canton could you do that to your employees? One you send home the other stays and gets paid I don’t think so. I know you won’t answer me and the same thing you Tony and your school system. What it would be to say hey you four teachers take a pay cut, you other four it’s fine don’t worry about it it’s okay. Things like that don’t happen or should not happen I believe this country to be fair and that’s all I want is something fair. You know for a fact we could have we may not have been in this position as you recall we tried to sell a piece of property. We went through all the gymnastics and I’ll tell you for a fact that the son of the owner who gave us that piece of land was not against it. I sat in his office with two other people, three other people he was not against it he said he didn’t really like it but it’s your property do what you want. He also said that the mayor had worked with him on a number of other things and the mayor had brought this up with him. So he wasn’t getting the cold turkey. Then I find out that the hierarchy over here decides to get in. Now they claim hey you can’t do that because when I was in the attorney general’s office this, this and this. That may all be true but we were talking about $3 million which would have paid off some debt and the other big thing is we likely could have had as many as 600 jobs by the time the complex was completed. Which by the way would have brought in some more money. But no that’s okay no, no; no they’re wrong we’re not going to help them. They could have come down and hey we need you to do this and this and this will work. But the pressure they put on and told the boys down in Columbus to stay out of it. Well the next thing you know the developer because of what’s happening in the market they want to back out of this thing they don’t want to pay $3 million they can’t find anybody to back them. So they back out of it which is totally true but in between that time the city gets filed with a lawsuit, a lawsuit against your own people. You’re filing a lawsuit for the people of Massillon to defend themselves and at the same time be the prosecutor. Now somewhere along the line that don’t add up folks and we can sit here tonight and you can vote any way you please I don’t particularly care. The only thing I want to remind you is if its not fair you’ve got something to think about today, tomorrow and the next day. Because we’ve always operated being fair except the last time we weren’t fair administrative people you take a day off, work shorter hours but we didn’t say anything to anybody else. Now that’s what we’re going to do tonight huh? Well that’s up to you. Thank you.
COUNCIL PRESIDENT GAMBER – Mr. Anderson?
COUNCILMAN ANDERSON – Just a little comment that everything that I’ve heard the last few days has been excellent on everybody’s part. I don’t think I’ve heard anything that was bad everybody had a good intensions. Here’s the only problem that I see with this whole set up we are at the bottom of the ninth inning we’re not back in November, December, January we are in the ninth inning it is game time. Now its not time to talk about what we should have done, who should have done it, we all know who should have done it. Because I’ve mentioned that a number of times however we’re in the bottom of the ninth and it doesn’t make any difference who should have done it we have to vote on doing the right thing tonight and creating a situation where we don’t have total chaos Friday morning. That’s in my estimation the bottom line of what we need to do. That’s all I have.
COUNCIL PRESIDENT GAMBER – Mr. Hersher?
COUNCILMAN HERSHER – You know I’ll admit that you know this budget that we’re talking about tonight probably isn’t perfect no budget is ever going to be because it relies on estimates and guesses and you know things like that. But you know to address a couple of things that have been talked about throughout this process. First of all and I understand what Mr. Mang is saying and I appreciate his comments I would however like to point out that you know just doing a quick analysis of the budget it does cut about $23,000 from salary line items in the departments that council can control. At this time you know we can’t legislate the courts budget but historically you know there has been a level of cooperation but what it does do is adds over $250,000 actually about $286,000 to the salary line items of the police and fire department. I think that’s an essential thing to look at when you’re talking about salaries. It you know these service departments and again I don’t want anything taken out of context or anything or misunderstood everybody that works for the city is important. I don’t want that to be misconstrued but these are the men and women that put their lives on the line for us. The changes that we’ve made while yes moving $23,000 out of other salary lines add get closer to the funding that we need in their salary items by adding about $286,000 to their lines. The other thing that I want to point out and you know I voted for the budget as submitted twice I voted for the document as submitted twice to allow the city to continue operating and to allow us understanding that this is a year long process. Looking at the budget its getting to the starting line so that we can get on with the rest of the year and make these changes that are made that need to be made. I do not speaking for myself I never approached nor do I believe that this was an academic exercise simply an academic exercise in moving around numbers and providing additional line items for the auditor to fill and change around. I know practically speaking there is going to be some of that but that to me was not the exercise. The exercise to me in my understanding of it is that it is the legislative authority of this city looking at the budget and expressing concern with the numbers that are contained in it. As presented to us if we know going into it that and this approach has worked in previous years because we could take that approach because the economy was a little bit different and we could feel stronger about what was going on in the economy and the state and the country. I’m not sure that we can this year as presented the budget tells every department in this city other than police and fire that they can spend $15.9 million dollars and then it tells police and fire we’ve got to scramble to find your million and half or two million. I think the changes one present an indication from the legislative authority of this city that we don’t feel that all the departments can spend $15.9 million dollars and wait for $2 million to come in for police and fire. That at least myself personally I’m not confident that the economy is going to lend itself to that this year. Again its not being presented as an academic exercise what I believe is its being presented as a message or as an indication to the administration that as well as discussing revenue enhancements you know there’s two sides to that equation. When you talk about business you talk about profit being revenue minus cost you’re a city you’re not worried about profit you want your revenues to equal costs. There’s two sides to that equation and I think this is an indication by the legislative authority that we should be looking at both sides of that equation. Not that we expect that these departments are going to spend that full $15.9 million dollars we expect that we’re indicating that there needs to be some changes in the spending. So its not that we’re saying here we’ve taken money from these line items now go find it to fill it back in. We’re saying we’ve taken some money from these line items because we’re not sure that money is going to be there this year. That’s my view of the process and I say it without any comment on the leadership of the administration or the leadership of council it has been a heck of a few years. I think we’ve gotten through it well. At least for me personally if I was slow to react to the climate its because I think like everybody else I was concerned with fighting and clawing to make sure that we are providing the same level of services. That we weren’t cutting our citizens that we weren’t cutting our employees and that’s how I feel about it. So it’s a bit frustrating to just hear it always couched in terms of now we have to look somewhere else to find the money to put it back in these line items when that’s not how I believe we approach this process. Thank you.
COUNCIL PRESIDENT GAMBER – Is there anyone else who would like to comment for the first time. Mr. Slagle?
COUNCILMAN SLAGLE – Yeah, I frankly thought this meeting was going to be much briefer. But first of all to comment on the political aspect I have no politic intentions in doing anything I did. Frankly I’m either the most the brilliant politician or the dumbest politician in the room since as far as I can tell I’ve been criticized by both sides of the aisle even though we’re eight democrats on this council including not counting Mr. President Gamber. So I must be doing something right since both sides are mad at me on occasion. Unfortunately too many of them are unaddressed unnamed individuals which I find politically or personally insulting. I’ve also found out that some of the people that I thought were friends of mine that have attacked me for these reasons as well. I don’t understand it makes me wonder why they in the past have done that. But Mr. Mang as a practical matter when the city ends up $580,000 in bills being carried over that should have been paid in 2010 that are being paid in 2011 which occurred the year previously to a lesser degree in a period year previously to that we are not at that time properly funded. When you carry bills over you are in fact under funded for that year because you didn’t pay them in the year in which they were there. Seeing that occur I thought it prudent that we attack that issue and address it. If there’s one thing that learned from last year’s election and while I didn’t agree obviously philosophically with the way the country turned its clear that the citizens and the taxpayers were not happy with the status quo. The status quo in the City of Massillon had become that we carry bills over from one year to the next which any taxpayer that’s using any kind of common sense knows that’s not the proper way to manage a budget. Secondly this week I thought you did a disservice to our two judges and our clerk of court. They gave me their personal assurances that when and if I gave them assurance that the city as much as we can control it was going to address the issue and ask our departments to live on less that they too would do the same thing. I take a personal assurance from Judge Elum and from Judge Centrone and from Johnnie Maier to the bank if they say they’ll do it they will do it. In the past they’ve done it now they did ask that we not take it off their line items we can’t actually take it off without being risking a lawsuit. But Johnnie Maier agreed that the clerk of courts probably can give back 2% through proper managing within a couple of weeks and another 2% once they see where their budget status is by the end of the sometime around September. The judges indicated too that they need time to look but they felt comfortable that they too could commit 4% back to the general fund. Now as to moving the funds around until the funds that we’ve budgeted get down to 0 which they should not with proper management we don’t have to move funds around. It’s my hope that the money that comes in that we can adjust and send to different accounts will go 100% in the police and fire. I think police and fire should understand as well though that once they get the 96% if they get there then if there’s more money it will be spread out amongst all the departments to make it all equal. I frankly don’t think we’ll ever get to 96% for the police and fire budget with the extra money coming in. As to the raises of the individuals sitting at this table and the city officials I will bring forth the ordinance that Kathy Catazaro-Perry attempted to bring out a couple of years ago or maybe last year because I do not think that in today’s climate public officials should be entitled to a mandated tax raise. I’ve checked into that there are some cities which make that only kick in when there’s an appropriate increase in income to justify it. But frankly when we’re carrying bills over from one year to the next to the tune that we’ve already discussed I do not think we think we need or deserve pay raises. I hope as I have done and others have done that those any pay raises will go back to the general fund showing our good faith understanding that problem. Finally as to carrying bills over you know the City of Massillon income tax return which is a bill the taxpayers owe the City of Massillon in two weeks and two days if we don’t pay that interest accrues at 1% per month penalties accrue at 1% per month for six months if you’re late filing you pay a $25.00 fee. Now if the taxpayers get charged for not paying their bill to the city on time then we owe it to the vendors of this city to get them paid on time. That’s what I hope we can do by doing this. Now will this work I don’t know if this will work I think the economy is much worse I think what’s being done at the state and the federal level is going to leave even less money coming into our coffers that we had. I don’t see the increases coming in the income tax I see perhaps increases coming with EMS there are other areas out there where we may have increases in income but if its going to get up to $2.7 million dollars I welcome it. I don’t expect it I think that’s wishful thinking and unfortunately I took it to being that we had to show that we had to do something to show our commitment to understanding that problem. I apologize if I angered you at anytime Mr. Mang I didn’t understand that I had but certainly it became clear that even you were making issues of the things that I’ve done. I’ve been accused and these are not political reasons these are practical reasons. The practical reason there’s not even dollars there hasn’t been enough dollars for the last several years. So I think this is a good compromise a good first step but I think its only a first step.
COUNCIL PRESIDENT GAMBER – Is there anyone else who has comments we’ll come back to you in a second anyone for the first go around. Mr. Mang?
COUNCILMAN MANG – Yes, Mr. Slagle, I didn’t know that I offended you if I did I’m sorry to the extent but I’m standing up for the employee. It’s seems as though in your budget it is no different than the mayor’s other than the mayor is protecting his employees saying you’re going to get paid. The police and fire will get paid there’s no questions about that it happens. I don’t hear anybody we’ve set down and we’ve talked and we’ve talked you know the people who need to sit down at the table here and talk to us are some of our unions. Coming and talk to us and realize there’s things that need to be done. Now we’ve got a guy down in Columbus and God only help us what he does. But that’s going to have an affect here and I do not want one employee over another. You can not show me in the budget where there’s any gain oh yes you put $200,000 in police so what. So what you’re still short a big number we’ve still got a $16 million dollar budget and we still budgeted $16 million dollars. Now if you want to do a big thing it should have been done back in November by the way November, December that way our employees would have known what’s going on. You’re saying its alright for the judges we need a couple of weeks to think about it hey we don’t have time to think about nothing here. We’re short money and we’ve got to do something about it. Now there’s no way that its right for the same people to sacrifice for somebody else. The other thing that really ticks me off is any employee in the court system a new employee gets his health insurance immediately. On this side they have to wait six months. Now somewhere along the line that could amount to $5,000 - $6,000 I don’t know. It’s been brought to their attention but as far as I know hey whatever we want we take. Now that’s the attitude that apparently is for everything. So how am I to believe that they’re going to give us 2, 2, put it in writing to me that’s what we’re doing we’re signing a piece of legislation and putting it in writing. Now you do the same thing and you play ball with us the same way our people play ball. Your money comes from the same cotton picking chicken plucking people and its not the right way to do business and everybody at this table knows it. I am tired of sitting here letting us say its okay its okay and I’m tired of hearing about the money that the bills that we carried over and carried over and carried over its too bad you did that. You were sitting here for three years why didn’t you do something about it. I know Mr. Philosopher you’re telling me about it now and that doesn’t make a darn bit of difference to me. Because its not going to help the situation is right now. We don’t have that money and we need it and there’s nothing out there that indicates we’re going to get it. But I’ll tell you what there’s a lot of people working their you know what off trying to get more money in here. The mayor has got and went out and got business in here if we hadn’t done our annexations the last ten years, twenty years this city is the only one in Stark County that by the census figures went up. Why because they want to live in Massillon, Massillon’s a good city to live in healthy, safe, we do all the things that they want done. But when we get to sharing the money it’s a little bit different. I don’t I would never deprive anybody of a paycheck tomorrow, the next day or whatever. But I’m not the guy who will deprive it and I’m not the guy that’s going to take money out of their pocket and leave somebody else have some money. I’m not that guy, you can be that guy I’m not going to be that guy because whatever I do if I vote yes or no I’m still telling you I don’t like what you’re doing and you’re taking money unfairly. I say unfairly because you did not invite these people in and say we are going to take 4 out of here, 4 out of there, what did you need this for explain this to us. You didn’t say that but you went next door and said okay, go ahead think about it, do whatever you want. I’m sorry I took your time folks. Thank you.
COUNCIL PRESIDENT GAMBER – Mr. Peters was your hand up?
COUNCILMAN PETERS – Oh absolutely not.
COUNCIL PRESIDENT GAMBER – Is there anyone else with any comment or discussion? Mr. Hersher?
COUNCILMAN HERSHER – Seeing or understanding at least that there’s no other discussion I also want to point out my understanding from speaking to the auditor that this tonight is the deadline of sorts for direct deposit that you know any time after tomorrow there exists the possibility that direct deposit may not be made on time on Friday for employees.
COUNCILMAN HERSHER moved for suspension of the rules and passage, seconded by Councilman Peters.
The rules were suspended by a roll call vote of 8 yes.
ORDINANCE NO. 52 – 2011 WAS PASSED BY A ROLL CALL VOTE OF 8 YES.
COUNCIL PRESIDENT GAMBER – Ordinance No. 52 – 2011 has passed the business of the special meeting being concluded we are adjourned.
MARY BETH BAILEY, CLERK,
GLENN E. GAMBER, PRESIDENT