Whitehall councilman seeks mayor's ouster over missteps
A gaffe that could cost Whitehall grant money and keep the city from taking possession of a vacated army reserve center has a councilman looking into the possible ouster of Mayor Lynn Ochsendorf before her term expires.
City Councilman Chris Rodriguez reported at the Nov. 27 meeting that Matt Shad, the city's former development director hired to oversee planning for the reserve center, had missed the deadline for submitting documents to the architects.
Rodriguez was upset that the mayor was not at the meeting to answer questions about the situation. He feels that it should have been up to her to work more aggressively with Shad to ensure he followed through with the process.
Due to several absences since the November election, he asked Council President Brent Howard if there was any way to remove the mayor from office, and appoint mayor-elect John Wolfe to the seat.
Rodriguez said that it is his opinion that Ochsendorf is in malfeasance of her position. Howard said that he would contact interim City Attorney Kevin Shannon immediately to see what action can be taken.
Council had approved hiring Shad to continue on an as-needed contract to complete some of the projects he started before he left for a new position at Upper Arlington last summer.
Recently Shad appeared at a council meeting, saying that the final plan would be submitted to the Department of Army by Dec. 15. The proposal decided upon by the Land Redevelopment Authority and city council was for a multi-use park facility.
A representative from Ochsendorf's office explained the morning after the Nov. 27 meeting that the original date to submit all necessary paperwork to the Department of Army was June 15; however, that date was extended to Dec. 15.
The mayor's office was not informed until late September that the grant closed on Aug. 30, the reason for the extension.
Rogers and Krajnak Architects needed to have plans in their hands no later than Nov. 26 so they could be publicized and on public display for 14 days prior to submission.
On Nov. 26 the mayor's office received an email from the architects saying that the paperwork had not been received, and numerous phone calls to Shad had gone unanswered. The mayor's office then called Shad. He promised to have the paperwork to the architect by 5 p.m. on November 28, which would be too late.
According to the mayor's office Shad said that he was very sorry for letting the city down.
Rodriguez said that he was also notified by a representative from the architect's office that they had not heard anything from Shad or received the documents.
About $44,000 of the $62,000 grant has been spent for the architect's services. If there is no resolution, the city will have to pay back the $62,000 grant.
Shad has yet to submit any time sheets for his work, so no money has been paid to him.
Before adjourning to an executive session, Councilwoman Leslie LaCorte said that she would attempt to reach Shad by phone after the meeting since he is on the LRA committee.
The mayor's office is working to obtain an extension for submitting the plans.
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