Questions Highlight First Meeting of New G.R. Town Council
Updated: Feb 25
Meeting Minutes from the January 10 Village of Grand Rapids Council meeting are now available at GrandRapidsOhio.com. Multiple issues were brought up including nomination of a council president, filling the vacant council seat, and questions about the status of past and present village employees.
Council Member Lynn Sylvain, who was elected in November 2022, brought up issues regarding the previous village administrator and the current interim administrator. Sylvain requested to review the status of previous administrator Chad Hoffman and his relationship with the village. She inquired if there was a contract still existing and if the village has gone through a termination checklist including recovering all assets, credit cards, keys, changing the locks to town hall, and changing access to village computers. Hoffman retired at the end of 2021.
According to the published minutes, Mayor John Berry replied, “What we can do for Chad Hoffman is to wish him a good life for the 45 years of service he gave the village.” The motion then died.
Council also complimented new interim administrator Chad Beyer on his hard work. Sylvain stated Beyer has been fantastic but brought up the issue of his spouse also being an employee of the village.
According to the minutes, Sylvain stated, “You cannot have a spouse reporting directly or indirectly to each other.” She went on to say that the village is in a quandary and that a scenario such as this is not ideal for the village.
The published minutes report Mayor Berry stated, “Right now this that is the way it is going to stay.” Sylvain stated that the mayor can’t decide that on his own to which the mayor replied, “There are many places that have wives and husbands work (sic) at the same place in governmental jobs.” Sylvain made the suggestion to look at the employee handbook and contact the village solicitor.
Councilperson Sylvain brought up the authorized $70,000 that is to be paid to former administrator Hoffman. A payout of $70,933.89 was recommended by the Finances, Wages, and Audit Committee and approved by council during the December 13 meeting. According to previous minutes, the amount reflects accrued sick leave and unused vacation time. Sylvain made a request of order because she believed it should have been taken to executive committee and Hoffman should not have been present. Sylvain then motioned to discuss the payout and take it to executive committee to see the math behind the decision. Council person Rick Tolles seconded the motion. The motion was voted down by council, receiving three “no” votes from Jody Donsbach, Rachel Smith, and Martha Frantz.
As of the January 10 meeting, a seat on council remained open. In previous minutes it was reported that Bob Krabill was appointed to the open seat. Sylvain stated the open council seat should not have been voted on then and should be an open issue as of this meeting. There were three candidates for the open seat including 18-year-old Matthew Snyder, Bob Krabill, and Angie Miller. Each candidate introduced themselves. Council then voted for the appointment, however no candidate received the four votes needed. The vote was then tabled, however the Grand Rapids website shows Krabill as a council member.
A similar situation happened as council attempted to vote for a council president. Four votes were needed, however no one received the four votes and issue was tabled. The website shows Rachel Smith as the president.
The village will be purchasing a new hand held meter for water readings at the price of $12,446.23 after the previous device stopped working. The village has been using a temporary unit. Other options presented included changing companies which would cost the village over $30,000 and require employees to enter homes. All members on council are on the record as approving the purchase of the new handled unit that won’t require employees to enter homes.
Meetings are held the second and fourth Monday of every month at the old fire hall on Front Street in Grand Rapids and are open to the public. You can read the full meeting minutes at GrandRapidsOhio.com.
(Note that this report is from the meeting that was held on January 10, the date of the most recent available meeting minutes, meetings have been held since but minutes have not been made available.
Update 2/25/22: Notes from the 2/14/22 meeting have been submitted and indicated that council person Rachel Smith was nominated council president with 5 votes. The notes also indicated that Mr. Krabill was sworn in to the empty council seat.)