HUBER HEIGHTS — The contract status of Huber Heights City Manager Rob Schommer will have to wait until next year.
In its final meeting of 2017, city council decided to pass onto a third reading that resolution that would have approved a contract that would have approved Schommer’s retirement and then his rehiring.
Schommer asked to speak before the resolution was to be considered and asked that the resolution be moved to a third reading.
He gave a background on the history of the contract, saying the process started when council told Schommer he had to move into the city to meet the city charter’s residency requirement “within six months or be terminated.” A vote in November supported the charter’s requirement that the city manager live inside the city limits. However, the constitutionality of similar residence laws has been successfully challenged in Ohio’s courts.
Schommer said he then had discussions with Council Member Tyler Starline, which started the process that led to the proposed contract. The contract calls for Schommer to retire, then to be rehired and continue at his current salary of $141,060. It also states that Schommer has agreed to voluntarily secure an apartment or home within the city limits and maintain his residency there as long as he his employed by the city.
Mayor Tom McMasters is opposed to the contract and provided written reasons for his opposition. He said in the written statement that he felt the city should pursue other applicants for the job and felt that “either his capabilities show he is overpaid or his character deems him unqualified to represent the city.” The statement said Schommer’s salary should be reduced to $105,000 if the city decides to rehire him. It also called for a full search for a new city manager should Schommer retire.
The written statement cited a number of issues where McMasters felt Schommer’s performance was not acceptable.
However, the expected debate on the subject didn’t materialize Monday once Schommer suggested the issue be put off until the next council meeting, which will take place in January.
“It’s likely at this point in time, I would say, that if it were called to a vote it would have likely at most five votes and the mayor would veto that particular piece of legislation,” Schommer said. “That does not resolve the discussion nor does it really serve the purpose and intent of the process itself. So with that, I am recommending and respectfully requesting that this item without further discussion be moved to a third reading.”
Council members agreed with Schommer and decided to wait until the next meeting in January to take up the issue again.
That left it up to residents to make the remaining comments on the proposal.
Linda Morin said moving the issue to a third reading was unfair to the people who came to the meeting Monday night and unfair to council members who have been part of the contract negotiations.
“I believe it should just be tabled and leave Mr. Schommer under the contract he is under and move our city forward,” she said.
Gerry Gustin said he agreed and that it was “time to move this forward and move onto something else.” He said Schommer has been “dedicated to public service his entire life.” Gustin recounted Schommer’s history in Huber Heights as police officer, police chief and city manager and urged council to keep Schommer on and “put this to bed.”
Councilman Glenn Otto said he also would like to see the city move forward, “which is why I have previously recommended that we just indefinitely table this subject and go along with the contract we have right now and just be done with it.” Otto then made a motion to table the resolution.
Other council members weren’t quite ready for that and the motion failed for lack of a second. The bottom line: the contract will be back at council’s Jan. 8 meeting, but the mayor and two other council members won’t. McMasters and Council Members Judy Blankenship and Starline have retired from council and will be replaced at the January meeting with new Mayor Jeffrey Gore and new Council Members Andrew Hill and Seth Morgan, who were elected in November.
Reach Dave Lindeman at (937) 684-8983 or on Twitter @HH_Courier.