HUBER HEIGHTS — Huber Heights Mayor Thomas McMasters has been cleared of any wrongdoing related to a complaint filed against him by a prominent member of the business community.
Melissa McGhee had alleged in a June 17 complaint that McMasters had violated the Rules of Council due to “public notice put out for the council work session meeting dated for June 21, 2016 by including pictures of councilmen (Glen) Otto and (Richard) Shaw.”
McGhee said any “implication of wrong doing by a council member” should be filed in the form of a complaint to the Mayor or needed to be discussed in Executive Session.
The still pictures included in the packet were part of an investigation into the alleged mishandling of public records by Otto and Shaw.
The Auditor of State investigated those allegations and ultimately cleared Otto and Shaw of any wrongdoing.
Vice Mayor Tyler Starline, who has the responsibility to investigate allegations against the Mayor under the City Charter, found that that while the Rules of Council are “unclear” on some issues. However, those rules do state that if three council members ask for an item to be placed on the council agenda it must be included.
In this case, Council Member Ed Lyons submitted the photos in question to McMasters and requested the matter of missing documents be placed on the agenda. Council Members Janell Smith, Judy Blankenship, and Nancy Byrge each “contacted the Mayor directly expressing their support for inclusion of the 3 still pictures,” said Starline. “It appears that the Mayor acquiesced to that request based on the ‘compulsion’ of at least 3 other council members.”
Starline concluded that McMasters “reasonably followed existing protocol and interpretation of the Rules of Council” and says determining whether other council members were acting “prudently” in forcing the photos into the agenda is “outside my jurisdiction as Vice Mayor.”
McGhee also complained that that attorney/client privilege was violated by the release of a letter from the City Attorney to the Mayor and Council.
“Any government official that has had any part of this notice being put out publically (sic) in its current form needs to be reprimanded for possibly exposing the city to a defamation of character lawsuit,” she wrote in her complaint.”
Starline again noted that the second part was out of his jurisdiction.
Reach Darrell Wacker at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @HH_Courier.