Hilliard City Council will resume an attempt to select leaders at its first regular meeting of the year Jan. 8.
Council members failed to name a president or vice president at an organizational meeting Jan. 4.
Two ballots for president and one ballot for vice president each resulted in a 3-3 deadlock. Councilman Joe Erb resigned in December leaving council with six members until a replacement is appointed.
In addition to failing to select leadership, some members challenged law director Tracy Bradford about whether current President Nathan Painter and Vice President Kelly McGivern remain in their respective roles.
“I made my written opinion to this body and I do not feel the need to continue to debate it,” Bradford said after Les Carrier and Andy Teater questioned her interpretation of the charter and suggested naming a “presiding officer” until official leadership is determined.
Carrier made a motion to name Al Iosue as presiding officer but it was not seconded, voted upon or even withdrawn after Bradford reiterated council already had presiding officers.
Bradford said Jan. 5 that although Carrier’s motion was contrary to her legal opinion, it remains the domain of City Council whether to vote on a given motion.
Carrier said Jan. 5 the charter provides for naming a presiding officer. He cited Section 2.12 of the city charter: “In the absence of the president and the vice president, the council members present shall elect a temporary presiding officer from among their own number to serve during the meeting.”
Bradford told council members Jan. 4 that the positions are not vacant and that Painter and McGivern remain in their respective offices until such a time that council reaches an agreement.
If no leaders are chosen, Bradford said, the organizational meeting has not concluded and continues until such a time that leadership is chosen.
Carrier said his interpretation of the charter is that the terms of Painter and McGivern ended upon the call-to-order of the organizational meeting.
A court reporter was present at the Jan. 4 meeting at his request, Carrier said.
He said he asked for the reporter to ensure it was fully recorded and for ease in transcribing the meeting in advance of a lawsuit Carrier said he will file to “compel the administration to follow the city charter.”
An initial ballot for Iosue to serve as president failed 3-3, with Iosue, McGivern and Painter voting in the affirmative and Tom Baker, Carrier and Teater – who was sworn in after being elected in November – voting against it.
A subsequent ballot for Teater as president failed identically, but with Baker, Carrier and Teater voting for the motion and Iosue, McGivern and Painter voting against it.
Iosue said he voted against Teater because Teater has not gained the council-based experience necessary to serve as president.
“I’m the senior-most member of council (and) the most qualified to serve (as president),” he said.
“Andy has been president of the board of education, how is being president of City Council so different?” Carrier asked in explaining his support for Teater. “More importantly, he represents the change this community wants and deserves.”
Carrier was alluding to Teater as the top vote-getter in the Republican primary in May, in which unseated incumbent Bill Uttley, and the general election in November.
Iosue said his vote not politically motivated.
In 2016, Teater, while a Hilliard school board member, joined Carrier and others to help form Keep Hilliard Beautiful.
The organization backed Issue 9, which voters approved to amend the city charter to prohibit City Council from rezoning by emergency and from using tax-increment-financing agreements for residential developments or those with residential components.
Most City Council members and city leaders opposed Issue 9.
The vote for McGivern as vice president also deadlocked along the same lines, with Iosue, McGivern and Painter in favor of the nomination and Baker, Carrier and Teater against it.