Licking County News

Pataskala residents debate Sagar recall at council meeting

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Several people spoke in defense of Councilwoman Pat Sagar during the Aug. 4 Pataskala City Council meeting, but others maintained the Aug. 19 election to recall her is exclusive to the First Ward.

Precincts in the city's First Ward will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 19.

Former councilwoman Merissa McKinstry and former finance director Jason Carr spoke in favor of Sagar retaining her seat.

McKinstry said Sagar was professional and looked at both sides of all issues when McKinstry served with her on City Council.

Carr called the recall election "wasteful government spending" and said Sagar understood the city's budget constraints and supported infrastructure projects for the overall betterment of the city.

David Hughes of International Drive agreed that voters could have removed Sagar from office in a previous election if they weren't satisfied with her performance in the past 16 years.

Hughes, who was a Pataskala Village Council member in the late 1970s, also cautioned council members to act professionally and to avoid division within the city.

Ralph Nix of Main Street also spoke in support of Sagar. He said Ward 1 residents have elected Sagar four times and trying to remove her from office 18 months before the next vote for a First Ward representative is "totally absurd."

Patricia Anderson of Summit Glenn, one of the people who signed the recall petition and a resident in the subdivision Sagar lives in, countered Nix by saying residents she talked to about the petition didn't realize Sagar was their ward representative.

Anderson suggested that people who don't live in the First Ward should stay out of the controversy because they can't vote on the recall.

The recall was initiated by Carl and Deanna Roshong, who circulated petitions and obtained signatures from the required 15 percent of voters -- 107 people -- in the First Ward.

Carl Roshong told City Council on Aug. 4 that Sagar does not represent her Ward professionally and should respond to emails and phone calls from constituents and provide information requested, regardless of her feelings.

Sagar has said she did not respond to two emails this year, one from Roshong and one from Eileen DeRolf.

DeRolf said she wanted clarification on some of the information Sagar provided to City Council at a July 21 meeting.

DeRolf said Sagar maintains her vote earlier this year to remove a property from the firearms-discharge zone did not matter because the land ultimately remained in the zone.

DeRolf said it matters because her vote went against what several of the residents in the First Ward believe.

City Council on Feb. 3 voted 3-3 on an ordinance to remove land owned by the Fouras from the discharge zone, with Melissa Gibson, Bryan Lenzo and Pat Sagar voting in favor and Todd Barstow, Mike Fox and Time Hickin voting against it.

Mayor Mike Compton broke the tie by voting against the ordinance.

DeRolf also reiterated her concern over losing her representation to City Council after being told Jan. 15 by Pataskala Division of Police Chief Bruce Brooks to avoid contact with Sagar. DeRolf also said Sagar was asked to meet with constituents several times prior to the recall petition filing and she refused.

Jim Morris of Mill Street said if a petition was filed accurately for a recall, City Council should support residents' rights to speak and let the issue go forward.

City Councilman Mike Fox agreed with Morris and Anderson. Fox left his seat behind the dais and spoke from the podium designated for residents to address City Council.

Several speakers ran over the allotted five-minute time limit during the comments portion of the meeting and were allowed to continue to speak.

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