Mayor: Councilman's 'Illegal Activity' Comments Are Unfounded
Zilka said a meeting first would have been prudent.
Avon Lake Mayor Greg Zilka took an opportunity at the March 26 council meeting to say that neither City Hall nor the Utilities Department would be “distracted by unfounded charges of illegal activity based on incomplete information.”
Zilka’s comments were in response to Councilman Larry Meiners’ comments on March 12 that members of the Municipal Utilities department had conducted “illegal inspections” during the city’s sump pump inspection program. He asked for the program, put into place to help alleviate basement flooding, to be rescinded but received no support.
In the meeting, Meiners said 61 homes were affected and the city had opened itself up to serious legal exposure.
Zilka said Meiners should have requested a meeting before speaking publicly.
“A more prudent approach to the problem would have been to meet with officials from the Utilities and gather more information before speaking out on the problem in order to gain a clearer understanding of what transpired.
“Unfortunately, that was not done.”
Four days after Meiners’ comments a meeting was held that included members of the Utilities board and executive team, Council President Marty O’Donnell and the city’s Chief Building Official.
At the meeting, Utilities representatives said there was a misunderstanding and said each home affected would be checked and inspected by the building department to assure compliance with state and local requirements.
On March 14, Chief Utilities Executive Todd Danielson said the miscommunication that led to the initial inspections had been internally rectified.
“We are sorry that we neglected to inform residents that plumbing and electrical permits were required and that some residents now need to go through the permitting and inspecting process after the fact,” Danielson said.
Zilka wanted to ensure residents that both City Hall and the Utilities Department were in compliance with state and municipal requirements.
Meiners said he had no comment regarding Zilka’s statement.