Powell City Council members said they'll discuss a resident's request to remove council member Sara Marie Brenner from the finance committee at subsequent meetings.
Powell City Council members said they’ll discuss a resident’s request to remove council member Sara Marie Brenner from the finance committee at subsequent meetings.
Resident Kent Bermingham on Sept. 20 told council Brenner should be removed from the finance committee because the Internal Revenue Service attached two federal tax liens to her business, Prestige Music Studios Inc. The liens total $58,722.
Brenner, who missed the meeting because of illness, told ThisWeek, “Since the doubling of the income tax was defeated last fall, (some people) in the community and on council continue to find every opportunity to attack me, a politically conservative woman with whom they disagree on policy matters. He and members of council have not even asked me about what is really going on with my personal situation, making it clear that they do not wish to know the facts.
“There is a business payroll tax misunderstanding with the IRS that I have hired professionals to handle. It will be resolved very soon. I’ve owned a business for nearly 20 years, and am diligently working to resolve this dispute.
“This matter has nothing to do with council or the city of Powell, but only with the desire of some to continue the politics of personal destruction. They don’t let the facts get in their way.”
At the meeting, Art Schultz said such a discussion should occur in executive session. “That’s the most appropriate way to do that if we should decide to do that,” Schultz said.
Council member Don Grubbs wanted public discussion.
An executive session is “not the most appropriate. It’s talking about the finance committee. It’s not a personnel matter,” Grubbs said.
City attorney Gene Hollins said, “It is council’s prerogative. You can discuss it in executive session, under other council matters or both.”
During “other council matters” discussion, Grubbs said Bermingham’s letter is about an elected official and a “public response is in order.”
Council member Tom Counts said, “I personally would oppose discussing it in executive session.”
Schultz said, “If we’re speaking about someone who’s not here, in fairness we ought to have a discussion with that person present. They’ll obviously have a different perspective than at least some people.”
Council members Jim Hrivnak and Brian Lorenz both said that it should be discussed publicly, but that the individual should be there to represent herself.
Council member Richard Cline said he believes the council rules “are either silent or say that anyone that wants to show up to a committee meeting” is welcome to attend.
City manager Steve Lutz confirmed that council rules say nothing on council’s attendance of committee meetings.
Schultz said historically, the council hasn’t appointed people to committees, but asked people who are interested in a committee to participate.
Grubbs said, “Specifically relating to finance, there is some stamp of approval and official act (of recommendation), so that has to be considered.”
“Also, each committee members are listed in a roster,” said Hrivnak.
“And every committee has a chair,” said Lorenz.
“There have been people that have officially resigned from committees, so it may be more structured than is apparent,” said Hrivnak.
Grubbs said, “In fairness, we’ll wait till Sara Marie is here.”
Bermingham also said council should ask if Brenner’s company has paid its taxes to the city.
“The city constantly is monitoring all of the businesses and will continue to do that regardless of who owns those businesses,” Schultz said.
City finance director Debra Miller told ThisWeek that council does not have the right to look at any person’s or business’ income tax filings.