NORWOOD, Ohio (FOX19) - Norwood City Council held an emergency meeting Friday to pass a last-minute resolution to stop the mayor from spending beyond the financial recovery plan.
Council members say that if he makes the hires he wants, it could leave police and fire without paychecks at the end of the year.
Not everyone was on-board with this vote, but it did pass 5-2. Council said they needed to do something to stop the mayor from hiring new police and fire beyond what the state-mandated recovery plan allows for.
"This is serious,” said Council Member Marilyn Hanrahan. “This concerns the future of our entire city.”
Council members Leslie Stevenson and Joseph Sanker were the two “No” votes.
"(The vote is) not enforceable,” said Sanker. “So we’re kind of spinning our wheels here.”
“So, state law says you cannot spend money that you don’t have, if money’s not appropriated, you can’t spend it, so we’re essentially putting a framework in place to try to prevent spending,” said Council Member James Bonsall.
"The Financial Recovery Commission will make us project out five years based on our current spending, so if we hire people now, it removes a lot of those great things, the fire engine, the ladder truck later, because we now have to find money to budget for, later on,” said Bonsall.
Bonsall added Mayor Tom Williams is trying to hire more police and fire above what they’ve been budgeted for, which some Council members believe could leave hundreds of public works employees without a paycheck at the end of the year.
”These guys, in my opinion, took away the administrative rights of the Mayor,” said Bobby Schlachter, who is Union President of Local 445. “He authorized us to hire some personnel and now Council’s going against his wishes and trying to stop him from doing that."
Schlachter believes the current financial recovery plan calls for hiring up to 49 firefighters total, which they are below right now.
"We feel it’s unsafe by having this lower number of firefighters on the streets and we just don’t feel we have support from Council at this time,” said Schlachter.
He said his department makes some 5,000 runs a year, that Norwood first responders, whether it’s police or fire, are incredibly busy, yet remain working understaffed, despite what their contract calls for.
Williams did not attend the meeting and we were not able to reach him for comment. Council said he has 10 days to respond to their resolution, which they readily admit, he will almost certainly veto. Then it’s back to square one, with the City’s legal department trying to get all sides together to stay on budget.