The agenda for Tuesday’s Liberty Township Board of Trustees special meeting contained three resolutions for consideration, but only one was put to a vote and approved.
The first resolution, which was approved by a 2-0 vote, authorizes Township Administrator Michael Schuiling to deliver notice to the Olentangy Local School District and the Delaware Area Career Center of a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) that calls for a “75% tax exemption on the increase in the assessed value” of a certain property that is being developed.
In the absence of Trustee Melanie Leneghan, board chair, Trustee Michael Gemperline, vice-chair, made the decision not to call for a motion to discuss, vote on, or table the two remaining resolutions due to what he said could be misconstrued as a “conflict of interest” on his behalf.
“I’m not going to make a motion on the following two resolutions,” he said. “The last resolution I fear would be perceived as a conflict of interest given that Bryan Newell did run against me in being trustee. Though I did beat his socks off, I think it will be considered a conflict of interest for me to vote on this without the full board.”
The third resolution would have confirmed the re-appointment of Newell to his first full five-year term as a member of the Liberty Township Board of Zoning Appeals.
Newell announced a few days ago his intention to run for Liberty Township trustee in the Nov. 5 general election. Leneghan’s current term as a trustee ends Dec. 31, 2019.
“To be consistent, I’m also not going to motion the other BZA (Board of Zoning Appeals) Cover resolution,” Gemperline added.
The second resolution was to appoint Michael Cover as an alternate member to the BZA for a term of two years.
Trustee Shyra Eichhorn said she thought it was “unfortunate” that Gemperline would not move to make a motion to move forward with the appointment of Cover as alternate for the BZA since he had been interviewed by the board at the last trustees meeting.
“Regarding Bryan Newell, he has done an outstanding job in the BZA and he has voted on many, many issues and done a fantastic job for this community,” she said. “And thank you for that Bryan Newell. I really appreciate all that you’ve done on zoning.”
Eichhorn then apologized for Gemperline’s comment of “I did beat his socks off.”
“I do apologize for that rude comment about he (Gemperline) beat you in the election,” she said. “That was completely unprofessional.”
Gemperline agreed with Eichhorn that it was unfortunate they couldn’t go forward with the resolutions, but said he could see it perceived as a “conflict of interest.”
Newell attended Tuesday’s meeting, but he declined to comment on Gemperline’s comment.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.