CRAIG BEACH Meeting muddle, allegation of threats mark council session
There are now two council appointments under scrutiny.
By TELA DURBIN
CRAIG BEACH -- Village council's first meeting of the new year erupted in a shouting match and ended with a police complaint filed by the mayor against a village resident.
Mayor Camillo Gaia filed the complaint against Charles Hamrick of Grandview Road, who attended Saturday's meeting, contending that Hamrick threatened him, asking the mayor to step outside.
Hamrick denied the claim.
Hamrick's wife was appointed to council Saturday by some council members in a session that the mayor said didn't follow the law.
Hamrick and the mayor argued before the meeting for unspecified reasons.
"I'm tired of being threatened by Charles Hamrick," Gaia said.
Meetings: The argument occurred after two meetings were called for the same time Saturday afternoon.
The mayor called a meeting to discuss the village fire contract, which is due to expire Monday.
Councilman Larry Ellis also called a meeting, to discuss an appointment to a council seat that was vacated in December upon Yvonne Adams' resignation.
The mayor and a quorum of three council members had appointed Robert Richards to fill the vacant seat in a meeting Dec. 29. Ellis was not at the Dec. 29 meeting because of a trip to Las Vegas and maintains the meeting was illegal because of Richards' allegedly voting himself onto council.
After much argument and discussion, the meeting on the fire contract was called to order by the mayor -- then immediately called to adjourn by Ellis, before roll call was even taken.
By a 2 to 4 vote the meeting was adjourned.
Ellis then called a meeting to order to discuss the seat vacancy, but the mayor, Richards and council member George Meleski left before it began.
Clerk Nancy Patnode refused to call the meeting to order and also left.
"There is no meeting here," Gaia said. "They don't want to follow the law."
Proceedings: Ellis and the three remaining council members, Wanda Ellis-Sobol, Cathy Braham and James Becker, called the meeting to order, appointing Ellis as temporary president and Braham as minute-taker.
After continued discussion and a short recess to call the village solicitor, James Vivo, the remaining council members decided to appoint village resident Joyce Hamrick -- Charles Hamrick's wife -- to council.
Vivo is looking into Ellis' concern that Richards' appointment is illegal, Ellis said.
The council members appointed Joyce Hamrick to avoid the possibility of the mayor's appointing a council member Jan. 10, which is 30 days after Adams' resignation and allowed by law.
Gaia said the Ohio Revised Code makes it very clear on how to fill a council seat and that he followed the code.
Becker, Braham, Ellis and Ellis-Sobol don't like Richards' appointment, he said. "They don't have a puppet," Gaia charged. "They don't want to follow the law."
Ellis said the meeting that he and the council members held was legal.
"We tried and we did what we thought was right," Ellis said. "Whether the appointment is legal or not, I believe that I will wait for a legal opinion of the solicitor to make sure."