New meeting rules draw criticism in Greene County

Published: Friday, December 01, 2017 @ 8:39 AM

The Greene County Board of Commissioners has approved a set of rules and guidelines on how their public meetings will be conducted. 

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The most significant changes are that residents who want to address the board during their public meetings, held every week on Thursdays, will be limited to three minutes at the podium and the subject matter must be directly related to items that are on the commissioner’s agenda for that day.

Also, anyone wishing to address the board during the public meetings will be required to sign in.

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“Questions or topics on non-agenda items may be submitted in writing to the county administrator for consideration and response at a later time. Questions raised during the public comment portion of the meeting will not be addressed,” the rules state.

The move has drawn criticism from some politically-active residents who regularly attend the meetings.

At today’s meeting, Kim McCarthy addressed the board about an email she sent 10 days prior to which she never received a reply.

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In the Nov. 20 email she sent to County Clerk Lisa Mock and copied to Commissioners Tom Koogler and Alan Anderson, McCarthy asked when the new meeting rules were ever discussed in a public session.

“I haven’t received anything back yet. It’s been 10 days. Is that how the response to citizen input is going to go? I have a number of emails actually that have been just neglected in the past,” McCarthy said at the podium.

Commission President Bob Glaser responded, telling McCarthy “The bottom line is, we’re always open.” 

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Glaser said if she has unanswered questions on a topic that isn’t addressed during the commissioners’ “business meeting,” she should schedule an appointment to speak with a commissioner and the same goes for the administrator.

“There’s no intent ... to cut off transparency,” he said.

Glaser clarified that they are happy to answer questions raised from a citizen during a meeting, but the answer may not be provided during the meeting, in the interest of running a more efficient “business meeting.”

Though it is standard practice for local governmental entities to include public comments during open meetings, it is not required by Ohio law

Huddleson said after the meeting that the new rules are an attempt to control the proceedings of open meetings in which members of the public are allowed to comment. He said similar sets of rules and guidelines are used by other surrounding counties and municipalities.

“Without any rules or guidelines, melee can ensue,” he said. “We gleaned what we could from the other municipalities, cities and counties and put together what we thought would work for us.”

Huddleson said he doesn’t think the rules will significantly change how the meetings are conducted.

“Part of the citizen comment portion of the meeting is to allow the commissioners to hear comments from citizens. It’s not to engage in a dialogue. If they want to engage in a dialogue that’s better served in an individual meeting,” he said. “We’re always available to set up a meeting or to have a conversation.”

The county audio records the commission meetings and those recordings can be obtained on compact disc at a cost. County officials have installed cameras in the commissioners room and are in the process of testing the system and training employees on how to use it. The county is expected to start providing video footage of commission meetings some time early next year.

The new rules are posted outside the commissioners meeting room at the county administration building, 69 Greene St., Xenia.

  

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Shooting at vet clinic near Yellow Springs investigated as self-inflicted fatality

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 2:45 PM
Updated: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 8:16 PM

Greene County sheriff removes body from vet clinic near Yellow Springs

UPDATE @ 8:01 p.m.: The shooting at the Hosket Veterinary Services on Thursday is being investigated as a self-inflicted fatality, Greene County sheriff’s Chief Deputy Mike Brown said.

Deputies dispatched about 11:20 a.m. to the business, 4450 U.S. 68 North, found an individual who had suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Chief Deputy Mike Brown said. He declined to release any more information, saying the case remains under investigation. 

STAY CONNECTED: Greene County News on Facebook

A Greene County coroner’s investigator has removed the body.

Community members and friends who went to the business said they are stunned that something like this happened here.

“I mean, this is so devastating. It’s hard to even talk about it,” said Pamela Davis. 

People who had come to the business for appointments found deputies engaged in their investigation of the incident.

“My sympathy is to the family. All we can do is lean on each other and be supportive of them,” Kathy McConehea, of Yellow Springs.

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Pinning ceremony honors new VA Medical Center director Jill Dietrich 

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 7:14 PM

Jill Dietrich
Veteran Affairs
Jill Dietrich(Veteran Affairs)

Newly appointed VA Medical Center Director Jill Dietrich's pinning ceremony was held this afternoon, marking the first time a woman has been sworn in to the leadership role in the VA’s 150 year history. 

"I was just extremely happy to be joining the ranks of the senior executive service and come lead the Dayton VA Medical Center, " said Dietrich. 

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Dietrich says she wants to create a high level of trust with the veterans and increase employee engagement. 

"Listening sessions, and walking around talking to people and tours, the culture here is phenomenal. "People here care and they want to do what is best for the veterans," said Dietrich. 

The Dayton VA has faced issues in the past, from a dental hygiene scandal in 2011 where a dentist was accused of not changing gloves between patients. 

In 2015, a whistleblower brought attention to a patient backlog in the pulmonary clinic. 

Officials say improvements have been made locally. 

The VA is currently facing national issues like concerns over hiring enough qualified staff and providing timely patient access to healthcare. 

The top of the VA is also facing problems.  

President Donald Trump fired VA secretary David Shulkin last month, and has nominated White House doctor Navy Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson to take his place. 

Dietrich says despite what's going on with the VA in Washington, the mission does not change at the local level here in Dayton.

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Layer Park opening could be delayed a few months

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 5:15 PM

Layer Park opening could be delayed a few months

The reopening of Layer Park in Miami Twp. could take a couple more months, despite the sign out front indicating "Park will open in Spring 2018." 

The park has been shut down since January 2016 because of high levels of lead and arsenic found in the ground. 

The lead and arsenic was initially found back in 2013, when the park was the site of a former shooting range.

Those tests only came to light in early 2016, in what the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) admitted was a big mistake. 

The federal EPA used more than $3 million from a super fund to clean up the park, costing the township nothing. 

EPA work initially wrapped up in October, but the grassy areas still need more work, we've been told. 

Dave Hill, a resident who lives next to the park, is glad the digging and hauling of dirt is over so he can regain some peace and quiet. 

"Big semi trucks, hauling it out, all that earth moving equipment back there, steam shovels," Hill said. 

Township contractors installed a new play set, basketball hoop, and planted 60 new trees. 

The parking lot has also been redone. 

Hill says the reopening can't come soon enough, and is hopeful the park will reopen soon so he can take his grand kids.

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Street back open after gas leak in Fairborn

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 6:08 PM

UPDATE @ 6:30 p.m.

The street is back open and the scene clear after a gas leak shut down a portion of West Hebble Avenue this evening in Fairborn.

FIRST REPORT

A gas leak has forced the closure this evening of a portion of West Hebble Avenue.

The street is closed from Third Street to Central Avenue.

Vectren is on the scene to start digging for the gas shutoff, according to a social media post from the Fairborn Fire Department.

There are no evacuations, Fairborn police dispatch said.

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