Special meeting called by Roseville Council


Photo courtesy of the Village of Roseville

By Staff Report

A special meeting called by three members of the Roseville Village Council to discuss hiring a new village police chief over the weekend has spurred online discussions and threats of a protest.

Due to an order by the Mayor, Council will convene at the Village’s Municipal Building Wednesday evening without any members of the public or press allowed to attend.

Village Chief Fiscal Officer Heidi Milner says it is the first time in her nearly 15 years of employment at the village that council members have called a special meeting.

Council rules state that a special meeting may be called by either the mayor or at least three members of the council.

Those rules also give Mayor Darrin Strate, who serves as president of the village council, the authority to decide when and where that special meeting is held.

When the pandemic first began the village continued to hold its meetings publicly until requirements signed by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine prohibited gatherings of more than ten people.

That order caused the village to close its council meetings to the public, with guidance from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, on how to ensure the public could still participate and view its meetings.

According to Milner, demands from the public temporarily moved the meetings to the Village’s Community Center, where proper social distancing and safety guidelines could be followed.

Due to a large number of residents attending those meetings and concerns of attendees not following the mask mandate, as well as social distancing requirements, the Mayor ultimately made the decision to move the meetings back to the municipal building and exclude members of the public and media from attending once again.

Milner said that the Mayor reached out to other villages and both the Muskingum and Perry County Health Departments for guidance, and that along with the concern of active COVID-19 cases in the community, he determined it was best to hold the meetings without others in attendance.

Council will still meet in person along with the Mayor and village staff, with the meeting streamed live to its Facebook page.

Many residents are concerned that the live feed won’t work as it’s intended to, as has happened in the past, and that the public will miss important discussions between elected officials and village employees.

On a Facebook post to the village’s social media page, Strate said he is placing the public’s safety and wellbeing over “politics or agendas” in his decision to prohibit public attendance.

“Putting 40-50 people in a single room where individuals are moving chairs, gathering in small groups, pulling down masks to speak from the audience, all while COVID cases are increasing in our area is not the right thing to do no matter what the backlash (that) comes from it,” said Strate.

In the post, Strate reassured the public that they would still be able to be placed on the agenda and speak to council during meetings.

Wednesday’s special council session convened by Roseville Council Members Lois Guy, Nancy Williams and Bryan Stickel is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m., with protesters allegedly planning to arrive outside the Municipal Building a short time before.

Those looking to watch the live stream of the meeting can do so on the Village’s Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/rosevilleoh

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Roseville Village Council is currently scheduled for Tuesday, October 20 at 6:30 p.m. in the Roseville Municipal Building.