Huber mayor’s action not authorized, memo to be removed

Council is scheduled to vote to ratify Schommer’s contract and approve it without the memo, according to Huber Heights city attorney Alan Schaeffer.

Schaeffer said McMasters’ memo had no legal effect, and he was not authorized nor was it within his powers of mayor to add it. An approval by council would mitigate any potential risk to the city, he said.

“The purpose for it is to keep the records of the city clean and unadulterated,” Schaeffer said.

McMasters has said he had no prior discussions with council before he added the memo. He said if Schaeffer had informed him of any issues when the memo was initially attached, he would have considered those concerns at that time.

“The whole point was to get people to realize my objections,” McMasters said. “It wasn’t really to beat up on Rob or anything. … I have no objections to signing a fresh contract, especially if it makes Rob feel better.”

Huber Heights City Council voted 7-1 on April 14 to appoint Schommer as city manager, removing the interim tag from his title and paying him $130,000 annually, which was what he was paid as the interim city manager.

The Huber Heights mayor does not vote on legislation. Councilman Tyler Starline cast the lone vote against Schommer’s appointment, saying he opposed waiving the second and third readings.

Four days later, in a memo attached to Schommer’s contract that McMasters signed, he wrote, “I wish to make clear that my signature on this document is not an endorsement in any manner of the process that led to the approval of this employment agreement or to the terms or conditions contained in this employment agreement.”

Councilman Ed Lyons questioned the legality of the memo and if McMasters’ “action potentially increase(s) the litigation risk to the city and the taxpaying citizens,” according to an April 29 email he sent to council members.

Lyons asked Schaeffer to look into the issue, and the Administration Committee discussed it at its meeting June 3.

“It’s been over a month, and (McMasters) had every opportunity to rectify the situation and he flat out did not,” Lyons said. “It’s starting to appear that the rules apply for everybody else, except for Mayor McMasters.”

Lyons previously said the memo could create a hostile work environment, and council needed to reduce any potential damages that could result in the future if Schommer is reprimanded or terminated.

Prior to attaching the memo to Schommer’s contract, McMasters tried to remove himself from his mayoral duties for a 12-hour period in order to give Vice Mayor Tracy Dudley the authority to sign the contract, according to documents obtained by the Dayton Daily News.

McMasters eventually signed the contract in the window that he originally requested to be “absent and unavailable to perform the duties of the mayor,” according to a letter he sent to the city. Dudley was out of the country at the time.

“I’m honored that City Council wants to make sure the resolution and agreement they voted to pass is exact and follows the process,” Schommer said. “I certainly appreciate their support of me being their city manager and taking this action to make sure there’s no obstacles standing in the way of their stated support.”