DAYTON — Taxpayers are paying the tab - $30,000 - for outside consultants to teach Dayton city commissioners how to talk with each other more effectively.
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“Going through this process will help us to become our best selves,” Mayor Jeff Mims told News Center 7′s Mike Campbell.
The City Commission’s impetus to pay two Maryland-based consultants to solve the governmental dysfunction began after the 2023 budget talks ran afoul of decorum and became strained and emotional.
Second-term Commissioner Darryl Fairchild said citizens last December asked the body to consider mediation.
“So I’m one that supported that and [was] excited about that,” he said.
Fairchild claimed the conflict went back to early 2022 and the changes in the make-up of the Commission.
He also said there has been an effort to minimize his and fellow Commissioner Shenise Turner-Sloss’s ability to participate fully in Commission business.
“I hope my colleagues come with integrity,” Fairchild said.
Turner-Sloss, who is in her first term in office, said, “I just really, truly hope we can do better.”
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Mims and veteran Commissioners Matt Joseph and Chris Shaw disagree that anyone minimized Fairchild or Turner-Sloss.
Many Commission debates have become much slower and commissioners rarely appear to be on the same page, Campbell reports.
Joseph and Shaw, often on the losing side of 3-2 votes, pushed hardest for the mediation. But both said they are not optimistic about the process.
The $30,000, which amounts to $6,000 per commissioner, will come from the city’s general fund.
According to the contracts, the cash is “for professional mediation services with members of the Dayton City Commission to improve communication, trust
and working relationships between commission members.”
The contracts last through the end of this year and there is an option for a one-year renewal.
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