Opposition to the timing of the session and to the makeup of the panel began to take shape in emails starting well in advance of the meeting. Some of those named to the task force complained about the date while some left off the list expressed displeasure about that.

Opposition to the timing of the session and to the makeup of the panel began to take shape in emails starting well in advance of the meeting. Some of those named to the task force complained about the date while some left off the list expressed displeasure about that.

“When you announced this meeting at the CAC last Thursday (Oct. 6) I didn’t have a calendar in front of me,” District 9 representative D Searcy wrote shortly after noon Oct. 11. “There are two other important meetings for residents living in the area of District 9 to attend. That same evening is the standing Sharon Heights Community Association meeting and it is the candidates’ forum for Sharon Township. It will be nearly impossible for (fellow task force appointees) Rich (Fowler), Keith (Beveridge) and I to attend due to these conflicts. Please reschedule the Oct. 18 meeting.”

“Thank you for the email,” DeFourny replied at 4:17 that afternoon, “However, the Oct. 18 meeting cannot be changed ... as the public and press notices have occurred, the location reserved and many have moved their schedules to be available for it. This was announced weeks ago, not just last week. At the last CAC meeting, you made no announcement for either the Sharon Heights meeting or the Sharon Township meeting being on this date.”

“Thanks for making it very clear that there is no flexibility here,” Beveridge, the Sharon Heights Community Association president, weighed in at 7:52 p.m. “... I find this all a bit interesting that we have a potential site for COTA that COTA has identified and that we have a community, District 9, that will possibly not be represented at the meeting. Let’s be honest, a couple phone calls can easily change the press coverage, and between our collective email lists we could hit a couple hundred community members if we really wanted to.”

“The only one you should be blaming is your own commissioner, Ms. Searcy, who sat on this for 23-plus days and then another five-plus days,” DeFourny fired back at 8:06. “The deadlines for this week’s newspapers had already passed by the time of your commissioner’s email. You and Rich could have also emailed me but failed to before now.

“Sounds like you just wish to lodge accusations which are unfounded and false.”

“I am not lodging any accusations,” Beveridge replied 31 minutes later, “just surprised that there is no flexibility. No, John, actually I am just always surprised at some people’s unwillingness to do what’s in the interest of the most, not the least. Regardless of how long D had the information, the request is just to move the meeting. If we were just talking about the next steps to take then I would agree that keeping the meeting would be fine, but since we all know that it does not affect your district or any other district in the manner that it will affect District 9 then it makes no sense to just move forward because of others at this point. ... It’s not about us, so let’s make positive change for our community.”

“I am, and always have been, for positive change in the community,” DeFourny wrote in his last email of the day on the subject, sent at 8:54. “In the interest of the entire community, two public meetings so far have been scheduled to ensure the broadest possible reach. You may know that D has already been trying to arrange private meetings on a public issue. As for your comment below, I did inquire to D, your representative. As chair, I could have decided on a task force of anyone. Instead, I reached out to two other commissioners for their suggested representatives and accepted those suggestions with no changes. Not my fault she chose not to respond promptly. This meeting involves more than one Clintonville district.”

Things resumed the following day.

“I am writing to you in regards to the COTA meeting that is scheduled for next Tuesday, Oct. 18,” Lori Gerald wrote at 6:21 a.m. on Oct. 12. “I was on the original committee with you to discuss the options of COTA for our community. I am very disappointed in the way you have handled this situation. You created a new committee which excluded a majority of the original members. Why was I was never contacted by you that a new group was being formed or why you felt the need to form this new group? Now that a new location is being discussed, which continues to affect our neighborhoods we should have been included in your discussions. ...”

“I respectfully support the request to move the first meeting,” Sharon Township Trustee John Oberle wrote five minutes later. “As a township trustee I have not seen any notification of this meeting and the meet-the-candidates night on the 18th has critical issues on it for the community that has been on the schedule for some time.”

“From your response, you do not appear to know of the background of this issue nor the factors involved or the background which has occurred,” DeFourny wrote at 7:44 a.m. “It appears that you only are responding based on Ms. Gerald’s email, which is in error. Plus it appears Ms. Gerald is actively campaigning. Both my office and I have been in touch with Sharon Township’s office several times throughout this process which began over 13 months ago. This is the first I have heard back from any Sharon Township trustee regarding this issue.

“This task force ... was announced in accordance with our bylaws and at a public CAC meeting back in early September. It was also re-announced at the October CAC meeting. ...”

“Your assumptions are not accurate so please allow me the opportunity to respond,” Oberle wrote at 8:57 a.m. “I have been following this issue closely for some time and it is a very important issue to our residents and therefore important to the Township. I did receive notice of the meeting late last week, but from a resident. I confirmed with our Township assistant that no notification did come in. There is a lot going on the 18th. We will try to have someone present as possible because it is important.

“I really disagree with your assessment that Ms. Gerald is campaigning. In my personal view, this is not productive on a broad email response. Lori has been engaged on this issue from the beginning and has been a selfless volunteer for her area. ... Lori would have sent that email whether or not she is a candidate. Also, this is not the first time Sharon Township has responded on this issue. We have been involved. ...”

Finally, on Oct. 12 at 12:49 p.m., DeFourny replied:

“If Sharon Township has responded on this issue, then who did they respond to? Having been the chair of the CAC since July 2010 and throughout most, if not all, of the COTA site selection process, I have heard from no Sharon Township trustee regarding any of these issues. Why? As for Ms. Gerald’s email, she is the one who chose to add the ‘broad’ audience on her email which includes false statements about my actions. She claims I ‘have not given those directly impacted by this decision an opportunity to attend or participate’ and that is false, 100 percent false. She is also quoted online answering questions for candidates running for Sharon Township Trustee. ...”