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MetroParks board tables measure to strip exec director of some authority

Monday, August 15, 2016

CANFIELD

The Mill Creek MetroParks board tonight, to some outcry from members of the public, tabled a proposal that would have stripped the executive director of the authority to make major decisions without public board approval.

The motion, introduced by board member Tom Shipka, stated that the board "must approve in a public session of a board meeting, prior to implementation, any proposal, plan, or decision of the executive director of the Mill Creek MetroParks, which has a significant impact on the employees, services, programs, or facilities of the Mill Creek MetroParks, including but not limited to, the budget, capital improvements, reorganization, restructuring, retrenchment, reassignment, labor agreements, and property acquisition."

Board member Germaine Bennett moved to table the motion, citing ongoing litigation in which the MetroParks is involved. Her motion was supported by board members John Ragan and Bob Durick; it was opposed by Shipka and Lee Frey.

The MetroParks, executive director Aaron Young and several current and former board members currently are being sued by a group of three area residents who allege park leaders violated state open meetings law in their planning and implementation of staff cuts earlier this year.

It was that staff restructuring that prompted Shipka to seek a board seat, and its private planning without a board vote that led him to come up with the motion he proposed at tonight's board meeting.