On Wednesday, January 6, 2016, newly elected Maple Heights Officials will be sworn in at the Maple Heights High School at 6:30 PM. Mayor Annette Blackwell, Council President Richard Trojanski, and Councilpersons Stafford Shenett (District 1), Toni Jones (District 2), Ebony Miller (District 3), Ron Jackson (District 4), Tanglyn Madden (District 5), Sharri Thomas (District 6), and Edwina Agee (District 7).
Maple Heights City Charter Snubbed
Article VII, Section 3 of the Maple Heights City Charter specifies that
At seven (7) o’clock p.m. on the first Wednesday of the new term following a regular Municipal election and certification of the newly elected officials by the Board of Elections of Cuyahoga County, the Council shall meet at the usual place of holding Council meetings, at which time the newly elected members of Council shall be officially sworn in and assume the duties of their office.”
This fact was brought to the attention of the current and newly elected officials before Christmas. A piece of legislation to change the location was introduced by Councilman Trojanski but was withdrawn. Instead, Current Council Members addressed it by passing a motion at their December 28th, 2015 meeting to have the ceremony at the Maple Heights High School. Who knew? It is just that easy. The Charter can be overridden by a motion of council. Maybe the new council will make a motion to bring back the traffic cameras?
“Large Venue for Greater Public Participation”
It’s a little bit ironic, that NOW council is concerned about having enough room for the public, when they have special meetings at City Hall in room 7 or caucus in the “conference room” at the Senior Center where there is hardly enough room for all the city officials let alone, the public. Obviously, High School has a larger seating capacity than the Maple Heights Senior Center, but if we are expecting a big turn out then maybe the administration should have planned ahead by having a Ceremony on a different day and time so as to not conflict with the Charter’s official swearing in. Then again, maybe they didn’t’ realize there was a conflict… that’s not really any better is it?
The Proper way to Change the Charter
The Charter was reviewed 5 years ago and changing the time and location for swearing in of newly elected officials was not brought forward as Charter Amendment (page 25). Mayor Blackwell was part of that Charter Review Committee which made recommendations to City Council (numerous current members of council were on council then, too). 2016 is a Charter Review year, maybe a Charter Amendment can be introduced before the next round of elections to allow council to pick a location other than its “usual place of holding meetings” for the swearing in ceremonies.