COLUMBUS — Recently appointed Third Ward Council member Scott Roddy and long-time At-Large Council member Mike Barhorst spent Saturday, March 12, attending a day-long seminar on municipal government. The seminar, sponsored by the Ohio Municipal League, was the second of three similar sessions held across the state.
The initial session was held in Mason. The final session is scheduled for March 26 in Independence in Cuyahoga County.
Each of the seminars feature similar topics. Those subjects include home rule, government finances, open meetings, public records, ethics, council powers and procedures, municipal liability and economic development.
Barhorst did double duty. In addition to taking notes during the presentations, as president of the Association of Ohio Mayors, he welcomed the more than 150 attendees and then introduced the individual speakers.
Speakers were selected for their expertise in the individual areas. Several were attorneys from major Columbus firms with expertise in municipal law.
The Ohio Municipal League was incorporated as an Ohio non-profit corporation in 1952 by city and village officials who saw the need for a statewide association to serve the interests of Ohio municipal government.
“In plain terms,” Barhorst said in his opening remarks, according to a city of Sidney press release, “we lobby the members of the General Assembly, the governor and his cabinet to pass legislation that is helpful to Ohio’s cities and villages. In addition, we encourage them not to pass legislation that is harmful to Ohio’s municipalities.”
“If you think that’s an easy task, it’s certainly not,” Barhorst continued. “Just yesterday I was in a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Association of Ohio Mayors. There are currently 38 bills we are watching that if passed, will make your jobs that much more difficult,” he told the audience of primarily newly elected municipal officials.
The Ohio Municipal League is governed by a board of trustees, elected by the membership. The board consists of two immediate past presidents of the league, as long as they are municipal officials, and 22 trustees elected for four-year terms. Of the 22 trustees, at least one must be: the mayor of a city or village; a city manager; a fiscal officer or finance director; a solicitor or director of law; a member of a municipal legislative body, other than the mayor. The board is the policy-making body and appoints an executive director to manage the league under their general direction.
“As the new kid on the block, I found the day to be tremendously helpful,” Roddy said in the release. “The day was primarily designed for new council members and as a refresher for more experienced members. Having knowledgeable presenters who could answer the myriad questions that were asked was a huge plus.”
“Believe it or not, I also ran into Terry Spiegel,” Roddy continued. “I coached Terry’s son when I taught at Bucyrus. Terry was elected to serve as the third ward council member in Bucyrus this past November.”
“To show what a small world it is, Mike (Barhorst) took a photo of us during lunch, and Terry posted it online. Late Sunday, Mike received a note from Rob Ratliff, who briefly considered being appointed Sidney’s law director before accepting a Federal judicial appointment. Rob’s father Bud Ratliff, was the head coach for the Bucyrus Redmen when I first began coaching there. I seceded him as head coach in 1983,” Roddy concluded.