CRAIG BEACH Councilman's vote being reviewed

Bob Richards acted as a voting member at the meeting.
CRAIG BEACH -- Confusion over a council seat is still a key issue for village council.
Council members took time Monday to review the tape from a Dec. 29, 2001, meeting, in which Bob Richards was appointed to fill a council seat left vacant earlier in December.
Council members Larry Ellis and Cathy Braham both expressed concern about procedure at the Dec. 29 meeting, when Richards first voted himself onto council -- but then changed his vote, to abstain.
After viewing the tape, Ellis called the vote flawed, and asked for council to have village Solicitor James Vivo review the vote and the law.
Council approved the measure, with Richards seconding the motion.
Ellis said he still doesn't agree with having a member of council voting for himself.
"I am under the impression that if someone votes illegally that the whole vote is void," Ellis said. "I just haven't gotten a concrete answer yet."
Mayor Camille Gaia said what council did was legal.
Vivo said he wasn't completely sure, but his opinion is that the Dec. 29 meeting and vote were legal, and he would check case laws to make sure.
Richards acted as a voting member throughout the meeting.
Support for builder: Council also went through the second reading of a resolution supporting Neighborhood Revitalization Partners of Cleveland in its quest to build an affordable development of single-family homes in Craig Beach.
Al Scott of NRP said he would be holding an informational meeting at the Craig Beach Fire House Feb. 1 about the development, to seek community input. Scott added that all the houses built in the development, primarily to be located on Triumph Avenue and Hercules Drive, would be ranch-style homes.
In December, council asked Vivo to look over the resolution and at the meeting Monday he assured council that the village would have no liability or financial issues if they choose to back NRP's plan.
The village's fire contract, which expired Jan. 7, has yet to be finalized so Craig Beach still technically has no fire protection.
Council Monday made some amendments to the volunteer fire department's contract, and because of that, Fire Chief Kevin Fegler said the amended contract had to be reviewed by the fire department's attorney before it can be ratified.
Council also went through the first readings of two new village ordinances.
One will require that all village employees submit to random and mandatory drug testing at the request of council; the other would notify all council members of any meetings, including committee meetings, at least 24 hours before the start of the meeting.

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