Huber Heights council may change rules amid city manager fight

Two votes are possible Monday: one on council member absences, and one on hiring Dzik as manager

Huber Heights City Council may vote Monday on a proposed change to council attendance rules. The proposal was triggered by the drawn-out city manager hiring process, which could also see a vote Monday.

The proposed amendment would deem any council member’s absence as the submission of a “no” vote on any legislation considered during that meeting.

At Tuesday’s work session, council had a long, tense discussion, with council members Don Webb, Nancy Byrge, Mark Campbell and Kathleen Baker asking that the amendment be added to Monday’s regular meeting agenda for a vote. The meeting ended with no objection to that request.

“The reason I asked for this to be on the agenda tonight was to address the issue of council members missing meetings to affect the outcome of a vote,” Webb said.

During last week’s council meeting, Councilman Ed Lyons was absent, prompting Mayor Jeff Gore to delay the resolution to appoint Richard Dzik as city manager. Lyons said he missed the meeting due to a prior engagement and denied his absence had anything to do with purposefully skipping the vote to appoint Dzik.

Councilmen Glenn Otto and Richard Shaw pushed back against the proposal, with Otto claiming it’s a “very shallow attempt ... to create an outcome that some members would like to see.”

“Why don’t we set standard rules because we think those are the best rules and just live by those rules?” Otto said. “There are definitely games being played here.”

Both Shaw and Lyons said the rule change doesn’t take into consideration basic situations that might require a council member to miss a meeting, like tending to a family emergency.

Later in the discussion, Gore pointed out that all council members are paid the same flat monthly rate of $675 regardless of any missed meetings. The mayor receives a flat monthly rate of $1,000.

“The fact that there are people who would not show up to a meeting on purpose but still be more than happy to cash the taxpayer’s checks; yeah, I think the taxpayers have a right to be pissed off, quite frankly,” Gore said. “You’re willing to take their money for doing the job, but then you make excuses for why you don’t show up and actually do the job.”

Dzik’s hiring could be voted on Monday, but Gore said in a press conference last week that he wants the vote to be pushed back until all council members show up to vote.

“The city manager vote is just one of the many decisions that this council has to make,” Webb said Tuesday. “Our votes impact the lives of every citizen in Huber Heights. I believe it is our responsibility to show up and vote.”

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