Maple Heights Senior Center

Maple Heights City Council Meeting: November 4, 2015

Caucus is at 6:30 PM at the Maple Heights Senior Center followed by the Meeting at 7 PM.

2015-66 An ordinance enacting Chapter 891 of the Codified Ordinances regarding Municipal Income Tax commencing January 1, 2016 (state mandated code change).

Resolutions 2015-71  & 2015-72 have different wording but both Authorizing the settlement an Agreed Judgement Entry and Injunction in the case of State Ex Rel John Chapman, et al vs City of Maple Heights (CV-15-839493).

This article by Maggie Thurber explains the case in more detail. Briefly, the case was filed because Council was violating the Ohio Open Meetings Act by not keeping minutes of their caucus’ and work sessions and had improperly called an illegal executive session. According to the Ohio Sunshine Law Manual (pages 95-105):

[t]he Open Meetings Act requires that an action for injunction be filed in the court of common pleas in the county where the alleged violation took place.

If the court issues an injunction, the court will order the public body to pay a civil forfeiture of $500 to the person who filed the action. Courts that find that a public body has violated the law on repeated occasions have awarded a $500 civil forfeiture for each violation.

If the court issues an injunction, it will order the public body to pay all court costs and the reasonable attorney fees of the person who filed the action. Courts have discretion to reduce or completely eliminate attorney fees, however, if they find that, (1) based on the state of the law when the violation occurred, a well-informed public body could have reasonably believed it was not violating the law; and (2) it was reasonable for the public body to believe its actions served public policy. If the court does not issue an injunction and deems the lawsuit to have been frivolous, the court will order the person who filed the suit to pay all of the public body’s court costs and reasonable attorney fees as determined by the court. A public body is entitled to attorney fees even when those fees are paid by its insurance company.

There was also a countersuit filed in April on behalf of Council, and voluntarily dismissed in July. Council approved the expenditure at it’s May 6, 2015 meeting. Council could have authorized a settlement at in April and drastically reduced the settlement amount.

Additionally, approval of Expenditures Over $1000 and minutes from the October 12, 2015 Work Session and the October 21, 2015 Regular meeting are on the agenda.

Video of the meeting will be available here within a few days of the meeting.

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