Huber Heights council members, mayor discussed city manager’s resignation separately before meeting

Huber Heights Mayor Jeff Gore said he met privately with two councilmen to discuss how they would ask former city manager Rob Schommer to resign two days before it was discussed with the full city council.

Schommer was not present at the meeting.

Gore said he asked councilmen Mark Campbell, Richard Shaw and Glenn Otto to a private meeting at city hall on Saturday, March 6. Otto did not attend because he said he had other obligations, but he said he spoke with Shaw about the meeting afterwards.

Campbell and Shaw agreed they also had a separate discussion about payment to Schommer.

Those involved in the meeting said no more than four people knew about the meeting or what was discussed. Under Ohio law, more than a quorum - in this case five members of council - gathering and discussing city business in a planned meeting is not legal.

The Saturday meeting was not mentioned during the executive session on March 8, after which council voted unanimously to accept Schommer’s resignation and approved a consulting agreement.

Shaw, Gore and Campbell said they talked in the meeting about Schommer’s leaving the city. Campbell said he met with Schommer before Monday and they discussed what was said at the meeting on Saturday.

Gore said there had been no illegal or nefarious actions and it was “the culmination of lots of things” that led to Schommer’s resignation.

“I believed for us to progress in the direction that we wanted to go, it was time,” Gore said.

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Schommer’s resignation letter cites “new personal opportunities.”

In a special meeting Monday, March 15, some council members asked why Gore wanted Schommer to resign. Shaw asked if it was something false Schommer said during a recent city council work session. Councilman Ed Lyons also asked if it was related to an issue that he’d discussed with Schommer about hiring of firefighters.

“It seems like everyone was ok with paying Rob to go away,” Gore said, adding, “It seems like you are angry you didn’t get to fire Rob Schommer.”

Council members have previously voiced displeasure with Schommer. Shaw said he stopped doing performance reviews for Schommer a few years ago because he “wasn’t getting feedback on what was being said.” Otto also previously seconded a motion to remove Schommer in October 2017, which did not pass.

Also Monday night, Huber Heights city council voted again to accept the resignation of and approve a consulting contract with Schommer in a five to three vote. City law director Gerald McDonald said the previous vote was still binding, but the mayor wanted to allow city council members who said they were “confused” to express their opinions.

In a Tuesday night special meeting, the city approved funds in a five to three vote to pay Schommer a $150,000 lump sum for a six-month consulting contract, which would come out of the general fund.

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“I just want you to know there isn’t anything mysterious or backhanded about what happened here,” said councilman Don Webb to the citizens who attended Monday’s meeting. “We’re moving forward in a good direction for the city and we are doing so with the best possible outcome at the least cost to the city.”

Several citizens in attendance criticized the city council for their handling of Schommer’s leaving the city. Some members of the public said they didn’t appreciate that members of council didn’t understand what they were voting for.

“What you do is appreciated, but please lead with integrity in all that you do,” said Rhonda Sumlin during the part of the meeting for citizen’s comments.

She also asked council to consider a diverse pool of candidates when searching for a new city manager. Gore also said he would recommend to the city council the city manager should live in Huber Heights.

The full video is available on the Huber Heights city website, http://huberheightsoh.new.swagit.com/videos/116285

Contact Eileen McClory at 937-694-2016 or eileen.mcclory@coxinc.com.

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