McMasters vetoes electrical aggregation contract

By David Lindeman - For the Courier



File Photo

HUBER HEIGHTS — Hubert Heights Mayor Tom McMasters gave the reasons for his veto of council’s approval of an electricity aggregation program at Monday night’s city council meeting. Council members then heard what comes after the veto.

McMaster’s veto is the first anyone at Monday’s meeting could recall ever being used in the city.

Council approved a resolution at its Aug. 22 meeting by a 5-3 vote authorizing the city manager to hire a consultant for the program. City residents would have the option of joining the program with the aim of saving on electricity bills.

McMasters said he was in favor of the program, but felt council acted on insufficient information.

In a written explanation of his veto, McMasters gave the following reasons for his action:

“1. The resolution authorizing the City Manager to enter into a contract with the consultant did not state any requirements Council expected the City Manager to incorporate within the contract, nor did it state satisfactory ways to correct the issue should the consultant fail to perform, nor did it require the City Manager to return to Council after the contract was negotiated for Council to approve the final version of the contract.

“2. The background information needed for Council to make an informed decision and to provide an understandable record for Huber Heights residents to reference in the future was incomplete and poorly formatted.”

McMasters further explained his reasoning at Monday’s meeting.

He said he felt the city staff needed to do a better job in presenting the information about the performance and capabilities of the companies that want to serve as the city’s energy consultant.

”I have vetoed with the hope that council will ask for that information and bring it back to us in an efficient and well formatted way so we can judge the quality of the companies,” he said.

In response to a question from Councilman Richard Shaw, Clerk of Council Anthony Rodgers explained what happens now that the resolution has been vetoed.

Council must wait 10 days before reconsidering the resolution. At that time, council can attempt to override the mayor’s veto. It will take six votes to override the veto. Since the original issue passed 5-3, that means at least one of the council members who voted no would have to change his vote if the resolution is to be passed. Glenn Otto, Tyler Starline and Richard Shaw voted no at the Aug. 22 meeting.

If the veto is not overridden, it would be back to the drawing board for the aggregation program.

While there is no deadline for the veto to be taken up by council, it is likely council would do so at the next council meeting, scheduled for Sept. 26.

Otto asked if city staff could use the ensuing time to compile a comparison for council members and McMasters asked that the 17 items that were listed as important in influencing council in the selection process be included in the comparison.

City Manager Rob Schommer said he would hope to address those issues in a work session discussion.

The next city council work session is scheduled for Sept. 20.

McMasters File Photo

By David Lindeman

For the Courier

Reach Dave Lindeman through the Courier office at 937-684-8983.

Reach Dave Lindeman through the Courier office at 937-684-8983.