A Powell business owner asked Powell City Council what rights and duties it has to the public in addressing "city official conduct or individual council legal matters."
A Powell business owner asked Powell City Council what rights and duties it has to the public in addressing “city official conduct or individual council legal matters.”
Bill Eddy, of Liberty Township, said Oct. 18 that the city “is at a crossroads that challenges (council) to make decisions” regarding city official conduct.
Eddy didn’t name a particular council member, but later told ThisWeek that his concerns are general in nature prompted by news of federal liens filed against council member Sara Marie Brenner’s business, Prestige Music Studios Inc.
“If issues of this matter are not discussed, voted and resolved, a pattern will continue whereby future council members who are under investigation by state or federal agencies can cite the past as reasons for not disclosing proper information deserved by the public taxpayers,” Eddy told council.
Council has discussed the issue since Sept. 20, when resident Kent Bermingham said Brenner should be removed from council’s finance committee because of the liens. The three liens filed since July by the Internal Revenue Service total more than $70,000 and are related to withholding taxes.
Brenner was absent from the Oct. 18 meeting. On Oct.4, council members asked Brenner to explain the liens. She declined, saying it was a private business matter that could not be discussed publicly. She also declined to step down from the finance committee until the liens are resolved when asked to do so by council member Jim Hrivnak.
Eddy wanted to know what action council can take in such circumstances.
Neither the city charter nor council rules say anything about appointing or removing council members from committees. Members typically have attended committee meetings of their choice, officials have said. On Oct. 4, council sent proposed legislation addressing such issues to its operations committee for review.
Eddy also wanted to know what attendance rules apply to council and committee meetings and what vetting process exists for candidates running for office.
City attorney Gene Hollins said he believes no attendance requirements exist for council or committee members.
Hrivnak asked city manager Steve Lutz to compile a report of council members’ record of attendance at such meetings.
Eddy said, “If these are issues that are not already involved in the charter, are there provisions to make amendments for these kinds of things? I think they’re are very important and deserve to be looked at.”
Hollins said city council candidates must be city residents for at least one year and the city verifies that fact.
“So, if an official is under federal criminal investigation or in violation of federal code, what duties does the council have to its citizenry to reprimand or impeach said official?” said Eddy.
Hollins said, “There are no mandatory duties.”
Eddy told ThisWeek his concerns are about the future “stability and integrity of council.”