Updated on 1/15/2018 - Cleveland.com confirmed that the State Auditor has opened an inquiry into this incident.
Statement on The State of Ohio opening an Investigation Into The Strongsville City Council
Strongsville GOP Calls on DeMio, Carbone and Schonhut to Recuse Themselves in Tainted Appointment Process
It has come to our attention that the State Auditor has opened an inquiry into the alleged illegal actions of Council President DeMio, Councilman Carbone and Councilman Schonhut to determine if the Ohio Open Meetings Act was violated and if legal action must be taken. Their abuse of power as it relates to the back room dealing in the flawed Council appointment process resulted in Council throwing out their work and completely restarting the process on Monday night. These actions likely violated the Open Meetings Act as is being reported by Cleveland.com. In cases where violations of Open Meetings Act have been found, these instances have been referred to the State Attorney General for legal action.
In light of these facts, we are calling on the three members that are likely under investigation in this matter (DeMio, Carbone and Schonhut) to recuse themselves in the execution of the restarted appointment process. Failure to do so would further taint the process and result in the loss of confidence of the Strongsville Voters.
Late last year, Strongsville City Council initiated a process to appoint replacements to the Ward 2 and Ward 3 seats in Council that were expected to be vacated by Councilmen Schonhut and Carbone after winning At-Large position in the November 7th elections. The positions were publicly posted and 18 qualified residents applied for the position.
On December 31st, Councilmen Carbone and Schonhut resigned their ward council seats to take their newly elected At-Large seats. All 5 Council members interviewed the 18 candidates and then met in a closed door, secret Executive Session on January 4th to discuss the results of the interviews. Ohio Open Meetings Act (commonly referred to as the Sunshine Laws) prevents Council from making any decision or taking any votes in closed "Executive Sessions." Cleveland.com is reporting that between the Executive Session on Thursday the 4th and Sunday the 7th, Council President DeMio, Councilman Carbone and Councilman Schonhut not only allegedly colluded to pick appointments illegally outside of a publicly posted meeting, they did so without including Councilman Daymut or Councilman Short in the process -- a direct contradiction to claims by these Councilmen during the 2017 campaign that all of council would vote on the replacements and that back-room deals would not happen. On Sunday the 7th, Councilman Carbone and Councilman Schonhut then proceeded to contact select losing candidates and inform then that they were not selected without the authority to do so.
Due to the alleged illegal actions of Council President DeMio, Councilman Carbone and Councilman Schonhut, on Monday, January 8th, City Council made the unprecedented move to eliminate all of the work accomplished and completely restarted the process to appoint for Ward 2 and Ward 3.
1/9/18 Cleveland.com Article
Please contact these three councilmen today and demand that they recuse themselves from the process. Let them know that the Strongsville Voters deserve a fair and transparent process, not back room deals.
Council President Joe DeMio 440-846-4563
Councilman Jim Carbone 440-268-8089 firstname.lastname@example.org
Councilman Jim Carbone 440-554-9840 email@example.com
President, Strongsville GOP