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Re-appointment of board member opposed

November 24, 2012
Morning Journal News

COLUMBIANA The recent decision by council to re-appoint Richard McBane to the planning commission elicited more dissension among some members this week.

Councilman Bryan Blakeman made a motion to repeal the Nov. 6 vote that put McBane back on the commission for another six years.

The matter was discussed at length during the previous meeting, with councilman Bob Bieshelt voting to table the appointment, but council moved it forward with a 3-2 vote. He and Blakeman opposed because the position was not advertised as open first.

Blakeman said council should have taken letters of interest from the public for the position and requested the repeal of the vote in order to do so. He recommended council accept resumes until Dec 13 and have someone appointed on Dec. 18 for the new term that begins Jan. 1.

"That table was voted down and rammed through knowing someone else" wanted the position, he said of Bieshelt's motion.

"That doesn't in my mind, nor should it in yours, present a level of trust ... We are going to silence it from the public and ram it through and we don't have a full council here," he said of the Nov. 6 meeting in which Councilman James King was absent.

Councilman Tom Ferguson was incensed at Blakeman's comments and a discussion then ensued between himself, Blakeman and James King that ended with Mayor David Spatholt interrupting by pounding the gavel.

"You're going to have a hard time proving that's the object," Ferguson said of Blakeman's statement that it was "rammed through."

"I take offense to that," he added. "Don't you tell me how I voted. Don't you tell me that I ram-rodded something through. Don't you use those words about me."

He then went on to say that he was pleased with the appointment and didn't feel anything had been done wrong because it was clear the public was also pleased with McBane since he had earned votes to be on council last year.

McBane was running against Bieshelt who was running as an incumbent. Bieshelt retained the seat by earning 20 more votes.

"I would say that the public has spoken. I know the citizens accepted that; he almost became a councilman. I know that everyone on the commission is happy with Dick," Ferguson said.

But King responded that the city "didn't speak on the planning commission" because they were voting for McBane to be on council at that time.

"The man got votes to be councilman, you don't think (they would) support him as chairman?" Ferguson said.

Don Oberholtzer, who was in the audience and who had submitted an application for the commission position held by McBane, said he was "offended" that he wasn't given an opportunity.

"I did send a letter in with my name," he said, adding that he believes the public should have a right to be told of an open position.

Keith Chamberlin said he "probably did" get the letter but that he doesn't "keep them."

"The decision we made that night was a good decision and I am sticking with it. I think we got the best man for the job," Ferguson said.

King then asked how he knew the best man was chosen when others hadn't even been given a chance to apply, and the question began a heated exchange between the two that resulted in Spatholt's interruption.

"From now on anyone interested in any position, send your letter in at any time and they are to be filed and kept on record until any position is open," Spatholt said.

He also said that term expirations dates for city-held positions should be posted on the plaque in city hall. The information will also be made available on the city's website,

Blakeman's motion to repeal McBane's appointment then died following a 3-3 vote broken by Spatholt who voted against. Those opposed were Ferguson, Mary Calinger and Lowell Schloneger.



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