No penalties for Huber Heights mayor after discrimination complaint

Huber Heights Mayor Tom McMasters will receive no penalties following an investigation into a complaint alleging he discriminated against a female council member by not adding her items to a work session agenda.

Councilwoman Janell Smith filed a complaint against McMasters last month alleging he was not following proper procedure in adding items to work session agendas. She argued McMasters wasn’t adding her items because she is female.

An investigation by Vice Mayor Tyler Starline found the mayor “appears to have added a procedural step” to the council’s work sessions by requiring “read ahead” attachments, but noted there is no penalty in the city’s governing documents for doing so.

But McMasters told this news organization he has authority to make decisions about what goes on the agenda. His standard is for all agenda items to have attached “read ahead” material for reference.

“In this instance, I had control over what went on and what requirements needed to be met in order for it to go on the agenda,” McMasters said.

The Rules of Council state the mayor “may also solicit input from council members for the agendas for all council meetings.” It does not mention council members needing to meet specific standards to have items on the agenda.

McMasters said he has not written his standards down, as “everybody knows” his requirements.

The mayor said this Tuesday’s work session agenda includes items from Smith without “read ahead” material because the city council voted to add them. He called this “idiocy” because he believes this does not allow residents to know what the item is regarding.

Even without Smith’s material, the work packet for Tuesday night’s meeting is more than 250 pages.

As for sex discrimination, Starline’s investigation found the “discord appears to be personal due to differences of opinion, not to be a manifestation of sex discrimination.”

Smith disagreed, telling this newspaper that “giving birth in a Muslim country” was less oppressive than serving as a council member under the mayor. Smith, a military spouse, said she once gave birth in Turkey, a secular country with a predominately Muslim population.

She said the mayor’s behavior “is unbecoming of a human, let alone an elected official.”

McMasters responded to Smith’s claims by stating his personality “is the same toward both sexes.”

“If the sexes react differently, that’s a different story,” he said.

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