One last dictator in the many banana republics of Montgomery County- at least for a minute. Sources tell me that Huber Heights City Manager Rob Schommer “resigned last night” after an ultimatum from council to resign or be fired. The resignation triggered a clause in the city manager contract which was left over from the previous city managers deal, that supplies Schommer with a $150K severance payday. Most of the people of Huber Heights have to work pretty damn hard to earn $150K- and none of them get a lump sum check like that when they are told they are no longer needed at their jobs.
I’ve filed a Public Records request with the city to find out the details. One thing Huber Heights deserves props for is their PRR portal- where documents will be made available to EVERYONE. Unfortunately, that’s not been enough to stop insider deals and shenanigans by council, the city manager and developers in the past. From their agenda from last night, you can’t tell that anything happened. I don’t have time to review the video yet. http://huberheightsoh.new.swagit.com/videos/114142#21146283
That any public official gets a $150K buyout to go away is a criminal misuse of tax dollars. But of course, politicians don’t think like the rest of us – or act like us. I’ll be updating this post as more info develops.
The Dayton Daily newsless has this:
High placed sources tell Esrati.com that they never heard anything about other opportunities- it was resign and take a buyout or be fired. We’ll continue to update.
Here is Schommer’s employment contract:421_2343_Public Records – White – 022421 – Part 1
Without giving 30 days notice, this wasn’t a resignation as called for in Sec 2 B:
B. Nothing in this Agreement shall prevent, limit or otherwise interfere with the right of Schommer to resign or retire at any time from his position with City. However, Schommer agrees to provide thirty (30) days’ notice of his resignation and such resignation shall forfeit any right of severance, except as provided for in Section 3 (F) of this agreement.
F. Resignation or retirement by Schommer forfeits any rights of severance under this Agreement, except for such rights as would be provided to any city employee upon resignation or retirement pursuant to the City personnel rules, policies and regulations.
So if Huber Heights Council did try to pay him a severance package as sources have said, it’s in violation of this contract.
The clauses for termination with cause, or without cause would not apply, since he “resigned.” Considering the context- the risk of Schommer being exposed for something that was cause for termination must have been enough to get him to walk away. Now, the question remains is what that was.
11 Mar 2021
I’ve received the city manager’s resignation- dated Mar 9, the day AFTER he supposedly resigned to the commission in executive session (without being there).
Here is the agreement, to pay Schommer $150K to “provide consulting” and to waive his 30 day notice requirements. Frankly, there is no grounds to pay him, or to accept the terms of this agreement. This is either a payoff to keep him quiet- or an illegal deal in and of itself. The citizens of Huber Heights, who have standing, should sue the city for gross misuse of tax dollars and dereliction of duty. All communications between the mayor, the commissioners and the city manager should be investigated by the Feds.428_2388_Public Records – Esrati – 030921 – (2) – Part 3
I’ve also got the keycard data showing that Mayor Jeff Gore and Councilman Richard Shaw entered city hall and met on 3/6/2021 I’m waiting for video from the doors. Mark Campbell was also in that meeting according to sources. There is no reason anyone who is elected, should be meeting to discuss city business in anything other than a legal public meeting.
I will continue to add to this story as it continues to unfold.
Update Mar 13: Citizens, empowered by a robust public record that’s accessible and searchable (kudo’s to Huber Heights – who are leaders in the region), are putting together a case to investigate this corruption. Here’s a well organized summation of the crimes at hand over the last week.
I am posting it as a PDF-Letter to City of Huber Heights_March 2021
And- as a bad HTML paste:
March 11, 2021
Honorable Mayor and City Councilmembers,
I am writing you to express my discontent with recent decisions made involving the resignation and hiring of Resigned City Manager, Rob Schommer, as a consultant through Executive Session. While I laud Mr. Schommer’s dedicated services as a Retired Huber Heights Police Chief and City Manager, the actions of the City in March 2021 have raised a level of discomfort regarding the level of leadership and transparency the City reflected.
Several areas of concern include government transparency, ability to follow the City Charter, wasteful spending of taxpayer’s funds, unclear Assistant Manager Duties, and flawed processes during a transition of power for the City Manager. I also diligently researched over 10 years’ worth of city records involving City Manager transitions, and this year has been the first in 10 that decisions regarding the resigning of the City Manager and hiring was not made in public forum.
The following dives into the concerns I have as a Huber Heights resident, as well as the history of City Manager transitions.
Areas of Concern
1) Government Transparency – Huber Heights City Council held General Sessions for the resignations and appointments of City Managers since at least 2009. These General Sessions allow the public to voice their opinion on whom the city appoints as City Manager. This year, 2021, was the first time that City Council held an Executive Session to discuss the resignation of a City Manager and voted shortly thereafter without public input.
2) Failure to Follow City Ordinance – Section 6.02, Power and Duties, states: “Is shall be the responsibility of the [City] Manager to (9) prepare and award contract, franchises and other agreements. Such contracts, franchises or agreements shall be authorized by ordinance or resolution of the Council.” 1 The Agreement executed to pay Mr. Schommer was only voted on preceding an Executive Session and not authorized by ordinance or resolution in accordance with the Charter of the City of Huber Heights, OH. Without proper procedure, the agreement should be nulled and void until passed by the City through ordinance or resolution like previously done.
3) Wasteful Spending of Taxpayers Dollars – Records indicate only one instance in the past decade that a consultation agreement was offered to a resigning City Manager. That was Gary Adams on March 12, 2012. The City was willing to pay Gary Adams up to $10,000 to assist in the transition. This year, 2021, the City was willing to pay at least 15 times that amount. They offered the resigning City Manager, Rob Schommer, $150,000 plus medical and additional benefits as a consultation agreement. The discussion regarding the consultation agreement was held under an Executive Session without public comment.
4) Duties and Responsibilities on Assistant City Manager – Often times the Assistant City Manager could take over City Manager duties and responsibilities which is a part of government continuity. However, actions have indicated that the hiring of the resigning City Manager indicates the lack of confidence in the Assistant City Manager performing their duties when called upon.
5) Transition and Selection of Power for the City Manager – City records indicate that there are inconsistent practices when City Manager’s resign as well as the appointing of new City Managers. The transition of such an integral part of a thriving city should not be taken lightly. Legislation is silent on the loopholes on the transition of power, Assistant City Manager roles during this transition, and “Consultation Agreements/Contracts” limitations.
History of City Manager Transitions
The accessibility of the City of Huber Height City Council online records goes back to at least 2009 through AgendaQuick. Using those resources, the transition of the City Manager through the past decade was analyzed to understand how the City operates during transition of power. Beginning with Eileen Bensen, who was appointed in 2008, City records indicate that due to her absence in December 2010 that James Borland would be Interim City Manager via a General Session.2 It seemed that during this time her absence would be for an unknown period, the City passed a resolution to acquire Kent State University’s (KSU) service to assistance in the recruitment and selection process for $20,000 on November 22, 2010. This recruitment process was conducted while James was serving as Interim City Manager. The resolution to acquire KSU’s services was also discussed and passed via City Council General Session.
KSU Center for Public Administration and Public Policy (CPAPP) efforts lasted for approximately 15 months to identify a new City Manager after receiving 61 applications across the nation.4 James Borland stepped down, and Gary Adams stepped up as the newly appointed City Manager on March 21, 20115. After a year as serving of as the City Manager, a resolution was passed on March 13, 2012 to accept the resignation of Gary Adams held via General Session by City Council. Within the same resolution, the City acquired his consultation services after his resignation for compensation. The City agreed, as compensation, to pay for $50 per hour, and not to exceed $10,000, for the consulting services.6 James Borland was appointed as the new City Manager by Ordinance via General Session by City Council on March 13, 2012.7
James Borland held position as City Manager for the rest of 2012 before submitting his resignation letter to City Council on December 23, 2012, informing the city that his last day will be March 15, 2013.8 Before James’ last day, the City passed an Ordinance via General Session by City Council on January 29, 2013 to appoint David Studebaker as the City Manager of Huber Heights.9 David served for less than a year before providing his letter of resignation to City Council on November 26, 2013 stating his last day as December 27, 2013.10
The City Council again passed an Ordinance via General Session on December 10, 2013 appoint Rob Schommer as Interim City Manager.11 Rob Schommer served as Interim City Manager before receiving an official appointment as City Manager on April 14, 2014.12 Rob served more than six years as City Manager before City Council held an Executive Session on March 08, 2021 to discuss his resignment and consultation agreement.13 Within 48 hours, City Council held an Emergency Session to appoint Scott Falkowski as the Interim City Manager.14 March 2021 is the first time the City of Huber Heights held an Executive Session regarding the resignation and appointment of a City Manager and Interim City Manager in the past decade.
I urge the City to reflect on their actions, and improve government transparency, City Charter compliance, responsible spending of taxpayer dollars, define Assistant Manager Duties, and improve the transition of power for the City Manager position.
Thank you for your service to our community, and thoughtful considerations of these important matters.
Mr. Estephon S. Ramirez Huber Heights, OH 45424
CWard No. VI
1 https://library.municode.com/oh/huber_heights/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=CHHUHEOH_ARTVICIMA_S6. 02PODU
4 https://www.daytondailynews.com/news/local/huber-heights-hire-new-city-manager- soon/NQlijWMsSDmMg9y0c4NlfJ/
13 https://destinyhosted.com/agenda_publish.cfm?id=48237&mt=ALL&get_month=3&get_year=2021&dsp=ag&seq= 4057
14 https://destinyhosted.com/agenda_publish.cfm?id=48237&mt=ALL&get_month=3&get_year=2021&dsp=ag&seq= 4217
Citizens are now collecting evidence to request an investigation by the FBI, the Ohio AG and Auditor.
I’ll be updating as more information becomes available.