A special meeting has been called for the Village of Mount Sterling on Monday, Oct. 16 at 2 p.m. Village solicitor Mark Pitstick said Friday that the meeting will cover a variety of issues going on in the village including their “fiscal emergency” and the proposed termination of village administrator John Martin.
On Monday, the Mount Sterling Village Council voted on a motion to terminate Martin’s contract just after the conclusion of the finance report. In a three to two vote, council members Rebecca Burns, Diane Spradlin and David Timmons voted in favor of the termination after the motion was made by councilwoman Burns. Martin, however, still holds the position, leaving the vote from Monday contested.
There was no clear reasoning given for the motion for termination except that Burns said it was “with recommendation of the finance committee.”
“The mayor has not told me to leave the premises at this point,” Martin said. “It is the mayor’s decision.” Martin said only the mayor has the power to make the decision while being advised by Pitstick. “I am employed with the village of Mount Sterling.”
Martin referred to the Ohio Revised Code, section 735.271, regarding the hiring and establishment of a village administrator. The code states with regard to removal, “The village administrator shall serve at the pleasure of the mayor and legislative authority of the village and may be removed without cause by the mayor with the consent of a majority of the members elected to the legislative authority of the village; or he may be removed without cause by the affirmative vote of three-fourths of the members elected to the legislative authority of the village, without the consent of the mayor. The legislative authority of the village may abolish the position of village administrator by ordinance.”
Although the code makes mention of a majority vote, it also specifies “three-fourths of the members,” which Martin points out is “a problem with the math.”
Pitstick reiterated Martin’s point by saying the decision will come down to the mayor. He referred to the financial issues with the village and said they contribute heavily to any problems in town. Since the validity of the vote from Oct. 9 hasn’t been sorted out, many of the village officials contacted would not discuss with The Madison Press any more specifics. Martin, Pitstick and the other council members deferred to the meeting on Monday, Oct. 16 to reach a resolution.
“There are things the village has to do to reach the standards of the state of Ohio,” Pitstick said. “The village is in a fiscal emergency.”
He went on to say, “At this point in time, the village council, the mayor and Mr. Martin are all working together to resolve the issues being discussed.”
The meeting is open to the public and will involve council and other village officials. It will be held at the Town Hall building at 1 S. London St. in Mount Sterling.
Reach Michael Williamson at 740-852-1616, ext. 1619.