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    Posted: Feb 19 2017 at 8:40pm
Don't normally do this but just went to the City Manager's Blog and the initial post described the inner workings regarding communication in preparation for upcoming council meetings. Mr. Adkins goes on to explain that he has a senior staff meeting to discuss city matters and also has a system where discussions between he and council members occur and council members are given the chance to ask questions concerning upcoming legislation prior to the actual meeting. This allows the council meetings to go more smoothly as the questioning portion has already been accomplished outside the meeting resulting in the council members aligning their votes in quick fashion that usually results in a rubber stamp 5-0 vote. This is why we never see any council member ask a question during the meetings. Any questions council has has already been answered outside the council chambers by the time the council meeting rolls around. It is almost as if the council meetings are programmed, preconceived and are for public appeasement purposes only.

All of this activity seems quite efficient but.........

Isn't this city business that is conducted outside the normal format of a council meeting and as such, isn't this a violation of the Sunshine Law where all city business discussion must occur in public view to allow the public to actually see the decision making as it happens? Are all city meetings, in most cities, held in a public venue, conducted this way?


Anyone have some clarity on this?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote swohio75 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 20 2017 at 9:17am
Depends.  I would not think an exchange between the City Manager and a Council member over email seeking clarification as a violation. 

While efficient, I think it can be harmful to the general population's understanding of the issue at hand.  Anita Scott Jones, while on council, would often as for clarification for sake of the public's understanding.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MattR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 20 2017 at 9:36am
smells like Doug's duck
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whistlersmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 20 2017 at 10:33am
Read Doug Adkins own words below, and determine for yourself if this not admission of a direct violation of our Sunshine Law and an affront to our democracy which depends on open honest government.

Middletown City Manager Douglas Adkins
www.cityofmiddletown.org

City Council Deliberations
February 17, 2017City Manager Middletown Leave a comment

I’m sometimes asked why Council seems to rubber stamp whatever I put in front of them.
It may seem as though there is no consideration given when the actual vote is taken, but let me explain how we get to Tuesday night’s vote at each Council meeting.
When I interviewed with City Council to take this position, I laid out for them a five year plan which I’ve talked about extensively in this blog.  I proposed a style of government, and changes in policies and strategies to return us to sustainable revenues by 2020.  The plan covered almost every aspect of City government.  City Council liked the style of the plan and its concepts and I got the job.
As I’ve moved through my first two years, everything I’ve put in front of City Council has been consistent with the five year plan I outlined when I took the job.  So… as long as I’m putting things in front of them that are consistent with what I told them I was going to do and what they told me that wanted me to do, that immediately takes care of one level of scrutiny.   What Council votes on looks like Doug’s duck, smells like Doug’s duck, so it’s probably Doug’s duck.
Next, City Council each year passes an annual budget a couple hundred pages long that lists by fund and by line item what I am proposing to spend in the next year.  That budget is passed each November for the next year.  When I bring an item to City Council, we let them know if this is part of the budget and the projects in the budget that they have already passed.  If it is, then again, there is reduced scrutiny needed because they have already approved the spending and the matter before them is the actual contract for the project and for spending that they have already approved in the annual budget.
Third, we have bidding requirements set by state law and local ordinance.  If the matter before council requires bidding, we include information showing that we followed the appropriate bidding process and why we selected the vendor chosen.  If project was in the budget and the money is appropriated for that project, and we followed the bidding procedures, then less scrutiny is needed.  The matter is consistent with the five year plan, in the budget, and properly bid.
Finally, we have items or opportunities or problems that come up unexpectedly during the year.  The burden is on city staff to provide City Council with enough information ahead of time to make educated decisions on unexpected events.   Grants are notorious for having a small window to apply for  and then spend the funds provided.
For example, we recently were awarded a grant from BWC for two power cots to assist in lifting patients into ambulances.  The funds were released quickly and the window to order the cots and spend the money was less than the 60 days normally required for two readings and 30 days to take effect.  So that one was an Emergency.
For each item to be taken before City Council requiring legislation, I have the relevant department head prepare a staff report that explains why the legislation is needed, where the funding will come from, which project this relates to, etc.   Those staff reports are due about two weeks before the actual council meeting date.
I review and approve the staff reports two Thursdays before the actual meeting.  For the February 21 meeting, I approved the staff reports on February 9th.  After approving the staff reports, I send City Council information letting them know the tentative subjects of the upcoming meeting and the general nature of what will be coming before them.
If there is something unusual, I try to provide more thorough information earlier so that they can think about the issue and ask preliminary questions.  When one council member asks a question, I answer the question and send the information to all Council members for review.
On the Wednesday before the City Council meeting, or in this case,  February 15th for the February 21 meeting, I have a senior staff meeting and we review the entire agenda and staff reports and finalize the next week’s meeting.
At that point, the final agenda and the workbook for the meeting is sent to each Council member with all  staff reports and documents needed to be ready to vote on Tuesday for the meeting.  This is the agenda and workbook that are posted on the City web page for public review.
City Council then has from about Thursday afternoon the prior week to the council meeting at 5:30pm on Tuesday night to review the detailed information provided and ask any final questions before the meeting.
My policy has always been that City Council can ask anything about anything on the agenda up until Tuesday night.   On Tuesday night, I want them to come to Council with all of their questions answered and with a full understanding of what I want them to vote on.  The only question Tuesday night should generally be whether or not to pass the legislation presented.  They should fully understand what we are proposing and why we believe it is in the best interest of the city to pass the requested legislation.
If there is a serious problem with what I have proposed, generally it would have been raised by City Council two weeks ago when I first told them what was coming on the agenda.  At that point, we can either answers questions and provide information sufficient to resolve their concerns, or we can pull the items from the agenda before we finalize the meeting because City Council is not ready to move forward with whatever the issue is in its current form.
So theoretically, Tuesday is a pretty mundane experience.  All questions previously and completely answered.  All information previously provided.   City Council makes a fully understood and educated decision on each piece of legislation.
Don’t be upset that your council doesn’t ask a lot of questions on Tuesday night.  You should be confident that a mundane Tuesday night means that your City Council has done  their homework and had all of their questions answered, documentation provided, and that they are making informed decisions on each item presented.
Most of the time, that’s exactly how it goes….
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote swohio75 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 20 2017 at 10:58am
What is a meeting, as defined in the Ohio Open Meetings Act?
In order for the Open Meetings Act to apply, the members of a public body must be meeting to discuss the public’s business. A meeting is a prearranged gathering of a majority of the members of a public body for the purpose of discussing public business. R.C. 121.22(B)(2). For example, if there are five members of a school board, and only two get together to discuss public business, this is not a meeting and the Open Meetings Act would not require it to be open to the public. However, if three members gather to discuss public business, this is a meeting and the Open Meetings Act would require it to be open to the public. Also, if there is a meeting as defined by the Open Meetings Act, the public body must give notice to the public.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote swohio75 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 20 2017 at 11:03am
Also:

Beginning on page 97:

Prearranged
 The Open Meetings Act governs prearranged discussions,871 but does not prohibit unplanned encounters between members of public bodies, such as hallway discussions. One court has found that an unsolicited and unexpected email sent from one board member to other board members is clearly not a prearranged meeting; nor is a spontaneous one-on-one telephone conversation between two members of a five-member board.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whistlersmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 20 2017 at 11:41am
This is in violation of the Sunshine laws! Doug said that council’s vote is predetermined before the meeting, and if there are not enough votes it will be pulled from the agenda. That is a violation. When is council going to realize that rules and laws matter? Honesty and integrity should be of utmost importance of local governments. Hiding council discussion and decisions behind phone calls and emails which are not spontaneous, not unexpected, not unsolicited among and including all the council members, is cutting the public out of our city government. Maybe the secrecy and dishonesty is the reason Middletown is morally and fiscally bankrupt.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Analytical Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 20 2017 at 12:41pm
I encourage MUSA participants to do an internet search of many other U.S. municipalities that hold pre-city council agenda meetings and/or workshops regarding same.  You will find communities that even televise these pre-city council meetings that are open to the public.  You will also find meeting minutes of said pre-city council meetings posted on their respective websites.  Information is power and the citizenry deserves open, honest, accountable and competent governance.  The truth shall set the captives free.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MattR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 20 2017 at 2:37pm
roll-up yer window and hold yer nose
there's a dead duck in the middle of the road
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mike_Presta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 20 2017 at 5:42pm
Originally posted by whistlersmom whistlersmom wrote:


... If there is something unusual, I try to provide more thorough information earlier so that they can think about the issue and ask preliminary questions.  When one council member asks a question, I answer the question and send the information to all Council members for review. ...

This is essentially the same issue that was litigated in Cincinnati Post v. City of Cincinnati (I believe that is the citation), except this is the electronic version!!!

If anyone has the time or money to litigate this, I believe that they would also be successful, as this is essentially an "electronic city council meeting" that is NOT open to the public. 
“Mulligan said he ... doesn’t believe they necessarily make the return on investment necessary to keep funding them.” …The Middletown Journal, January 30, 2012
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MattR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 20 2017 at 5:48pm
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is it Doug's duck or a cooked goose?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote middielover Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 21 2017 at 7:13am
Everything City Manager described is within the legal requirements of the sunshine law.
Making up issues where none exists seems to be the primary purpose of this website and most of it's contributors.
With so many real issues to discuss perhaps it is time for an alternative to middletownusa.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote What A City Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 21 2017 at 11:42am
middielover:

"With so many real issues to discuss perhaps it is time for an alternative to middletownusa"

Then why bother to participate middielover? By your post, isn't this a waste of your time to read this forum?


Please do find an alternative middielover. I encourage it. It is very simple. If you don't like what is said on this forum, knowing that the forum leans more toward favoring an independent/adversarial theme versus the old "support anything and everything the city does/says" mantra, I would suggest you start your own blog inclusive to only those who support the city leaders 100%. Go......Blog......Drink the Jim Jones Kool-Aid. You will be happy....we will be happy and your buddies in the city building will be happy that there is a forum solely devoted to their endeavors with only positive praise for anything they do. That will solve the occasional city shill/court jester, bought and paid for and incapable of any independent thinking what so ever, from cluttering up the pages on this forum.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote swohio75 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 21 2017 at 12:11pm
I would encourage any and all parties who believe there is a violation of sunshine/open meeting act to file a formal grievance. 

Below is taken from the link listed above.  

I will give Doug and his team much credit for advance publishing of the Council workbook.  Workbooks are available for public viewing most of the time a full week in advance of the Council meeting.  This is much improvement over the previous Admin.  At times, workbooks would not be available until a day before the meeting.

This advance publishing allows for resident consumption and the ability to reach out to their elected officials in advance to have their concerns or questions answered.

Much thanks to Vivian, who posts the Agenda on MUSA in advance of meeting. 

Discussing Public Business 
With narrow exemptions, the Open Meetings Act requires the members of a public body to discuss and deliberate on official business only in open meetings. 881 “Discussion” is the exchange of words, comments, or ideas by the members of a public body.882 “Deliberation” means the act of weighing and examining reasons for and against a choice.883 One court has described “deliberation” as a thorough discussion of all factors involved, a careful weighing of positive and negative factors, and a cautious consideration of the ramifications of the proposal, while gradually arriving at a decision.884 Another court described the term as involving “a decisional analysis, i.e., an exchange of views on the facts in an attempt to reach a decision.”885 In evaluating whether particular gatherings of public officials constituted “meetings,” several courts of appeals have opined that the Open Meetings Act “is intended to apply to those situations where there has been actual formal action taken; to wit, formal deliberations concerning the public business.”886 Under this analysis, those courts have determined that gatherings strictly of an investigative and information-seeking nature that do not involve actual discussion or deliberation of public business are not “meetings” for purposes of the Open Meetings Act.887 More importantly, the Ohio Supreme Court has not ruled on whether “investigative and informational” gatherings are or are not “meetings.” Consequently, public bodies should seek guidance from their legal counsel about how such gatherings are viewed by the court of appeals in their district, before convening this kind of private gathering as other than a regular or special meeting. Those courts that have distinguished between “discussions” or “deliberations” that must take place in public, and other exchanges between a majority of its members at a prearranged gathering, have opined that the following are not “meetings” subject to the Open Meetings Act: • Question-and-answer sessions between board members, the public body’s legal counsel, and others who were not public officials, was not a meeting because a majority of the board members did not engage in discussion or deliberation of public business with one another
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MattR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 21 2017 at 1:05pm
"The liberties of a people never were, nor never will be , secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them...To cover with the veil of secrecy the common routine of business, is an abomination in the eyes of every intelligent man."
Patrick Henry
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whistlersmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 21 2017 at 5:30pm
Listed again below, in Doug’s own words, are instances where Doug and council, as a group, appear to be discussing and deliberating public business before council meetings. This is a violation of the Open Meetings Act according to the highlighted excerpt posted by swohio75 from, I believe, ORC 886...

Under this analysis, those courts have determined that gatherings strictly of an investigative and information-seeking nature that do not involve actual discussion or deliberation of public business are not “meetings” for purposes of the Open Meetings Act

To be absolutely clear, in other words, this states that discussion or deliberation of public business by public officials (council) IS considered a meeting. And therefore it appears that Doug and council are in violation. Middletown’s citizens have the right to see, hear and be involved in discussions and deliberations of all public city business. Our council meetings seem to be carefully planned, orchestrated, and finalized for the council rubber stamp.
Quotes from Doug:

“When one council member asks a question, I answer the question and send the information to all Council members for review.”

“At that point, the final agenda and the workbook for the meeting is sent to each Council member with all  staff reports and documents needed to be ready to vote on Tuesday for the meeting.”

“City Council then has from about Thursday afternoon the prior week to the council meeting at 5:30pm on Tuesday night to review the detailed information provided and ask any final questions before the meeting.”

“My policy has always been that City Council can ask anything about anything on the agenda up until Tuesday night.   On Tuesday night, I want them to come to Council with all of their questions answered and with a full understanding of what I want them to vote on.  The only question Tuesday night should generally be whether or not to pass the legislation presented.  They should fully understand what we are proposing and why we believe it is in the best interest of the city to pass the requested legislation.”

“If there is a serious problem with what I have proposed, generally it would have been raised by City Council two weeks ago when I first told them what was coming on the agenda.  At that point, we can either answers questions and provide information sufficient to resolve their concerns, or we can pull the items from the agenda before we finalize the meeting because City Council is not ready to move forward with whatever the issue is in its current form.”

“So theoretically, Tuesday is a pretty mundane experience.  All questions previously and completely answered.  All information previously provided.   City Council makes a fully understood and educated decision on each piece of legislation.”

“Don’t be upset that your council doesn’t ask a lot of questions on Tuesday night.  You should be confident that a mundane Tuesday night means that your City Council has done  their homework and had all of their questions answered, documentation provided, and that they are making informed decisions on each item presented.
Most of the time, that’s exactly how it goes….”
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whistlersmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 21 2017 at 6:41pm
Please note that Doug is extremely careful not to use the terms discussion or deliberation anywhere in the text, but uses only the term information. This careful wording seems to be an effort to avoid revealing that in fact discussion IS taking place via question and answer. All this out of view and earshot of the public. In Doug's own words:

"When one council member asks a question, I answer the question and send the information to all Council members for review"

"The only question Tuesday night should generally be whether or not to pass the legislation presented. They should fully understand what we are proposing and why we believe it is in the best interest of the city to pass the requested legislation.”

“So theoretically, Tuesday is a pretty mundane experience. All questions previously and completely answered. All information previously provided.   City Council makes a fully understood and educated decision on each piece of legislation.”


No wonder there is no discussion at council meetings! It's already been discussed and council has its orders to vote as directed.
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 22 2017 at 6:16am
swohio75:

"Under this analysis, those courts have determined that gatherings strictly of an investigative and information-seeking nature that do not involve actual discussion or deliberation of public business are not “meetings” for purposes of the Open Meetings Act"

But these are NOT "gatherings" ohio75. The communication is a phone call, an E-mail, text or a communication method OTHER THAN a "gathering" or open meeting between the city manager and the council members done in the private format out of the public's eye. A "gathering" would constitute an assembly of members in one common location. If one reads Adkin's post on his blog, one could conclude that there is discussion concerning city business that is conducted outside the council chambers that ultimately leads to a formation of a decision that is then brought to council meetings and a vote by the council member is rendered. Therefore, one might conclude that the discussion outside the chamber is where the decision was made and as such, would be in violation of the Sunshine Law. The city manager and council member(s) is not only seeking information as your line suggests, they are making the decision right then and there out of public view. It is a secretive way of operating using the system Adkins describes in his post.

This answers the discussion......

"Those courts that have distinguished between “discussions” or “deliberations” that must take place in public"

This is not happening according to Adkin's post.

Bottom line.....it really shouldn't have gotten this far. If Adkins and the council were straight shooters, they would want to discuss city business in view of the public to eliminate this type of distrust. Adkins is always repeating that he has nothing to hide and is forthcoming in his information. If that is so, why do we have this situation. Right or wrong, this makes the city manager look like a back room, secretive dealer to the people when he/council discuss city business out of the public's view. The secrecy is re-enforced when we see council ask no questions at meeting time as it appears the decisions have already been made prior to the meeting. The people deserve better than that.
I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote swohio75 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 22 2017 at 8:27am
This is my final comment on this issue.

If you have a problem and believe the city is non compliant with the Sunshine Law, file a grievance.

Either sh*t or get of the pot as the old saying goes. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MattR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 22 2017 at 10:09am
Yes, a full business day has passed since this was posted.  Old news.  Sad!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whistlersmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 22 2017 at 10:55pm
Now that Doug Adkins has established, in his own words, how he circumvents the Open Meetings Act, let’s review the ugly consequences of this.

And dear news media of all sorts (Journal-News, TV channels 9 & 12 in Cincinnati, etc.), here’s your opportunity to report other views of Middletown’s news than the trumped up rosy pictured fluff dictated to you by city officials.

Below is a brief and partial list of Council’s rubber stamp legislation which Doug Adkins had carefully prepared for Council’s immediate vote of approval, no discussion needed. Closer scrutiny of each item in other forums on this blog will reveal favoritism, mismanagement, and misuse of city funds ad infinitum. A complete list can not be contained in this post.

(1). The Journal News reported the “Middletown Fiscal Condition Alert” but allowed city officials to put their spin on it, to make it appear of no consequence. Evidence to the contrary, Moody’s downgrading of Middletown’s credit rating (twice in the last few years), was swept under the table by city officials.

(2). Here is a brief list of notorious, pet downtown properties which have been touted as prime for revitalization: Goetz Tower, Rose Furniture, Manchester Inn, Journal Building and Liberty Spirits. Some of these have been tossed between LLC’s of (sometimes) unknown ownership for nominal dollars; and some have been virtually given away and/or are vacant and deteriorating, perhaps beyond recovering. The former C G & E building and First National Bank building had high end tenants (lawyers, etc.) in upper floors, but were forced out in favor of less viable owners and/or tenants (Cincinnati State), or buildings were left empty. Cincinnati State was subsidized, but never lived up to their promises of 5000 (then 3000, now ?) students. Don’t forget the give away then buy back by the city, of the old senior citizens building which now sits empty while the city rents unnecessary office space in Goetz Tower (in effect subsidizing that LLC).

(3). Separation of sewers funds which have been, and continue to be, collected for years, also continue to be raided and misappropriated. Water, sewer and trash rates are on a scheduled series of raises for a slush fund to be siphoned away for who knows what. The level of arsenic in our city water may be above the allowable limit but our citizens remain unaware. This may have been discussed in advance of council meetings but never during the meetings.
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whistlersmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 24 2017 at 5:28pm
Now let’s see...how many more feathers can we pluck from Doug Adkins’ self described ducks?

And dear media, if you have enough pluck to do some investigative reporting, this blog is a good resource! Let’s stop aiding and abetting the city’s misguidance.

Oh, and dear past and present council members, who do you think will ultimately be held responsible for the dire consequences Middletown has suffered? Not Judy Gilleland! Not Doug Adkins! You hired him(them). You are the governing body. And you can bet they will say that they were only carrying out your orders. I would not want to be under that cloud of pressure and responsibility!!!

Back to plucking feathers. Here’s a continuation of the list of Doug’s suggested legislation which council has rubber stamped for him.

(4).   Many of our non-profit programs that were benefiting our city have disappeared as a result of funding being confiscated. Because non-profit funds must pass through a government agency, Adkins seems to think any or all of that money is subject to his and Councils discretion. At Adkins direction, city council further curtailed the funds which came from the cable company monopoly expressly for the public access channel, TV Middletown. The city was already retaining the majority of this fund but council and Adkins said “out of the goodness of our hearts we will pass on some of it” to TV Middletown. What happened to the remaining funds?? As a result, for lack of sufficient funds, TV Middletown could no longer function, was dismantled and the public lost an important access to city council meetings. Public oversight of council meetings became more difficult or impossible for the majority of citizens who can not attend in person. All the better for Adkins to keep the public in the dark! Is the cable company still sending funds for the defunct TV Middletown? Probably not. Did PAWS move to Monroe for similar reason? Did we lose the non-profit funds for historic Middletown Cemetery this way?

(5). Citizens passed a safety levy that assured the citizens of no lay-offs in safety personnel. So why are our streets now patrolled by State Highway Patrol? Was money siphoned from this fund or is the highest paid police department in the state unable to do the job of protecting the citizens? Are the special police/inspectors who may be looking for abandoned properties to raze, paid from the safety funds more important than law and order police? Being one of the highest crime areas in the state is another reason for the steady decline of Middletown. For years there have been complaints that the police department is not answering their phone when called to report non-emergency crimes/problems. (Are they screening their calls with caller ID?) This does not lower the reported crime rate, it just means they don’t take crime reports.

(6). It appears that Weatherwax Golf Course was illegally sold to an investor who turned around and sold it to Metro Parks at a profit. It took our legal department, perhaps months, to transfer the deed because there were restrictions not allowing the sale to a private owner. How did this suddenly become legal and who in the Butler Co. office expedited it? Where did the money from this “deal” go? The land (which included Sebald Park) was gifted to Middletown and the deed originally said that it would all remain in public hands and remain green space. Since Council failed to make a profit did they ever think to get a professional golf course management company to run Weatherwax? Selling Sebald Park, giving away Bicentennial Commons and destroying our swimming pools are also all mistakes from which Middletown can never recover. Now we pay ever higher taxes for lower performing schools and no amenities. Know any prospective business or resident who finds this attractive?
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whistlersmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 27 2017 at 9:06pm
Umm...there are so many ducks to pluck in Adkins row it’s difficult to chose. But there are a few that stand out more than others. So, here are more of Doug’s suggestions that council rubber stamped.

(7). This one began in the form of an egg, and while Adkins was heading up revitalization under Judy Gilleland. It’s name is Section 8. Adkins announced that if council would give him the power he would fix the problems we had with this program. After falling well below and failing to fill the required 95% of 1662 vouchers, the federal agency, HUD, notified city officials that they were in violation. The city was given two choices to avoid being prosecuted for non-compliance. (1). Come back into compliance OR (2). Transfer Section 8 to the counties (Butler and Warren). Adkins announced that they didn’t need to comply or follow the rules and that, anyway, HUD would not do anything about it for years. So, when the notification was ignored, HUD officials transferred the local Section 8 program to the two counties.   Please NOTE that when the city lost the program we also lost the administrative fees and payroll for the inspectors (some newly hired by Adkins) and other personnel, being paid through and by the HUD program; all because Adkins refused to follow the rules. Is there any pending litigation for the non-compliance? Are all the, now unneeded, new inspectors still on city payroll? YES, and that’s expensive. HOW, and WHY would council hire Adkins as city manager after witnessing his debacle of Section 8? Recently, as city manager, Adkins tried to tell us, on this blog, that it was part of his “plan” under his “management” that Middletown had less than 1000 vouchers filled as some sort of brag. Where did he get his figures and why would he make such a statement when he no longer had anything to do with Section 8? When questioned, he had no answer!!!


(8). Adkins’ misuse of funds from the Moving Ohio Forward grants was behind the destruction of about 400 properties in Middletown. Originally under this program, ONLY residential property was eligible and must be considered blighted or in disrepair AND be abandoned or foreclosed. Some homes in good neighborhoods were razed ONLY because they were vacant or the owner walked away from it (abandoned it) when they could no longer afford to live there and pay the taxes. (Perhaps they lost their job …. no surprise in Middletown’s economic desert.) Some commercial properties were razed under false claims that they were residences. Please NOTE, after the initial tear down of notably blighted properties, in order to balloon the $ amount from the grant, Adkins unleashed his “nuisance” inspectors (the real nuisances in Middletown who work in the city building) to go on the hunt of ANY property that they could declare unoccupied (therefore consider abandoned) or could trump up “nuisance” violations of things like real or imagined peeling paint (that they could consider blight) to harass home owners. After three nuisance violations trumped up by the city, true or not, they might want to declare your property blighted and tear it down. Therefore ANY house can become a nuisance on the whim of an inspector. Maybe your house is next unless you’re one of their buddies!
Under the grant, the city had to take possession of the properties to be razed, but the city DID NOT take possession. Without taking possession, the properties could not legally be transferred to the land bank. It’s unconstitutional for any entity to demolish someone else’s property. Doug said that we have not been reimbursed for demolitions. (Could Adkins be in trouble with Moving Ohio Forward?) So, Adkins had the cost of demolition (multiplied by two and a half) tacked onto each individual owner’s property taxes!!! How’s that for gouging citizens (who are already vulnerable) and for using the system to commit such dirty tricks??? Looks like Doug Adkins wants reimbursement several times from different sources.
Also, under the Moving Ohio Forward grant Middletown was required to make matching funds. So when Adkins found himself short of funds again, he tried to raid other funds including the Community Development Block Grant money as matching funds, but was told that was illegal. So he laundered the CDBG money by moving CDBG money to a fund for a new fire engine (legally allowable) but then removed (laundered) the money from the “fire engine fund” to use as matching funds anyway. Multiple funds were raided in a similar manner. May not be illegal, but it should be.

The consequences of this Dougie Duck are permanent loss of tax revenue on now vacant lots with the added expense to the city for mowing and other upkeep on them, and our bombed out appearance which may be on a par with the blighted appearance.

(9). Having high taxes, no amenities, incompetent government and very poor performing schools has encouraged businesses and residents to move away. Under Adkins “management” we have fewer businesses and jobs. Now we have many vacant commercial and residential properties which could have been assets, bringing in property tax, income tax and sales tax from resident families that would be able to shop locally. Attracting jobs and having more people paying into the system will always be better than demolishing our city. Council, can’t you see that destroying our homes, businesses and amenities (swimming pools and parks) is NOT revitalization? Adkins is still pursuing government grants to raze more buildings. But this is just a smoke screen for his inability to attract businesses, create jobs and build our tax base which would then allow us to lower our taxes, not raise them as he continues to insist. Lower taxes will make us more attractive to businesses and residents!! When is council going to wake up and address the real problems that plague Middletown, which are all mainly the result of gross mismanagement?

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whistlersmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 27 2017 at 9:15pm
"When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." Thomas Jefferson
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Analytical Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 05 2017 at 1:25pm
The workbook for next week's City Council meeting includes the city staff proposed budget for the 2017-18 CDBG
Annual Action Plan.  Of the $670,261 provided to the city by HUD, $474,397 (70% plus) will be spent for
administrative purposes (Rehab Program Delivery, Code Enforcement and Administration).

Emergency Repair Assistance - $50,000
Rehab Program Delivery - $15,000
Fair Housing (H.O.M.E.) - $5,000
Legal Aid of Southwest Ohio, LLC - $15,000
Community Center - $41,000
Senior Center - $46,000
Code Enforcement - $330,345
Demolition - $38,864
Administration - $129,052 (Estimated)
TOTAL = $670,261

For some reason, the workbook does not mention the amount of HUD funds to be received for the 2017-18 HOME
Program, NSP program income, etc.
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