DOVER (WJER) (April 5, 2022) – City officials Monday expressed concerns about how the mayor’s recent conduct is impacting city business.
Mayor Richard Homrighausen did not attend the meeting. He has stayed mostly out of the public’s eye since a grand jury indicted him on 15 criminal counts March 11. He pleaded not guilty last week.
Payroll forms go unsigned
Dover Auditor Nicole Stoldt informed council that Homrighausen is not signing the payroll forms for three employees who recently returned to their jobs. Homrighausen had fired them, but council brought them back with a settlement approved by the state personnel board of review.
Law Director Doug O’Meara says the city will still pay them as the settlement says the mayor can’t interfere with their jobs, and he doesn’t sign the paychecks.
“From the point of view of the agreement, they get paid their wages for the work they’ve performed,” he said.
Traffic signal project bids expire
Service Director Dave Douglas, one of the employees who just returned to work, told council the city and ODOT have to throw away bids on a $1.7 million traffic signal upgrade project.
Council President Shane Gunnoe says Homrighausen and then service director Aaron Feller didn’t do anything with the bids after Douglas was fired, essentially allowing them to expire. The city and ODOT will rebid the project, but prices have gone up in those 100 days.
“The failure of the mayor and the previous service director to act on those bids is unacceptable and could, if the bids come in higher this time, cost the citizens of Dover, the taxpayers, a substantial amount of money,” Gunnoe said.
Power plant needs a welder
Dover Light and Power Plant Superintendent told City Council he’s getting desperate for a welder to get the annual spring maintenance work done at the plant.
“I’m just to the point where I don’t care who strikes the arc, I just need a welder,” Hall said.
O’Meara said the welding contract is ready, but the mayor hasn’t advanced it.
“It wasn’t brought before the board of control by the mayor even though he had it in front of him a week ago,” he said.
O’Meara says the contract must be approved by the city’s board of control, which consists of Homrighausen, Douglas, and Safety and Human Resources Director Gerry Mroczkowski, who was also fired by the mayor but returned to work recently.
O’Meara encouraged Douglas and Mroczkowski to call a board of controls meeting if Homrighausen isn’t going to do it so they can get the welding contract approved.
Mayor’s veto attempt ‘out of order’
O’Meara and Gunnoe seemed perplexed by Homrighausen’s attempt to veto an ordinance council approved March 7.
Homrighausen signed the ordinance that day but emailed a veto message this past Friday. Gunnoe said that’s well past the 10-day window for a veto.
“So because the mayor’s veto … was signed by the mayor and returned initially to the clerk in the 10-day window, and also because the mayor’s veto did not occur in the timeline of [Ohio Revised Code] section 731.27, the mayor’s veto is out of order,” Gunnoe said.
He added Homrighausen’s message to the record, but did not allow the veto.
The ordinance was about replacing some records that had gone missing from City Council Chambers. O’Meara and Council members had implied the mayor’s wife removed them.