The Perry Township Board of Trustees meets in Regular Meeting format on the first and third Tuesday of every month at 7:00 PM.
The meetings are held at the Township Hall located at
3111 Hilton Street NW
in Massillon. Regular Meetings include reports by Department Heads, the Law Director, and the Township Administrator. The public is welcome to offer comments during the Public Speaks portion of the agenda on township related matters.
Perry Township Board of Trustees
February 3, 2015 7:00 pm
Call to Order/ Pledge of Allegiance:
Additions/Deletions to Agenda:
Public Hearings/Invited Guests:
Public Speaks on items up for Board Approval: None.
Township Business requiring Board Action: None.
Unfinished Business: None.
Trustee Chessler made a motion to approve bills and payroll in the amount of $298,932.24 for the week ending December 27, 2014 and bills in the amount of $27,171.64 for the week ending February 3, 2015 for a combined total of $326,103.88; Seconded by Trustee Haines.
ROLL CALL: Mr. Chessler, yes. Mr. Haines, yes. Mr. Laubacher, yes.
Trustee Chessler stated that this is an Executive Session that will be called pursuant to ORC 121.22 (G)(3) pending litigation that advised by the Law Director we would like a brief conference with the Board and the Fire Chief. Trustee Chessler made a motion that the Board of Trustees, Law Director, Fiscal Officer and Fire Chief adjourn for a brief Executive Session pursuant to ORC 121.22 (G)(3); Seconded by Trustee Haines.
ROLL CALL: Mr. Chessler, yes. Mr. Haines, yes. Mr. Laubacher, yes.
The Board adjourned into Executive Session at: 7:03 pm
The Board adjourned from Executive Session at: 7:11 pm
Trustee Chessler stated that no action will be taken as a result of the Executive Session.
Consider Accepting a Donation from Al Neifert in the Amount of $1,000.00
Trustee Chessler stated that there is one item under the Police Department and asked if Chief Pomesky could please detail this donation amount for the Board.
Police Chief Pomesky stated that the Police Department recently received a donation from Al Neifert in the form of two (2) checks for $500.00 each, totaling $1,000.00. The first is a personal check from Mr. Neifert and the second is a check in the amount of $500.00 from GSW Trust for a property he manages located in Perry Township. Chief Pomesky stated that the purpose of the donation is for us to acquire an all purpose vehicle for off-road incidents that calls for services that deals primarily with the area that is north of 12th Street. Chief Pomesky stated that they have received repeated calls in that area for our department to respond to juvenile complaints and trespassers. Chief Pomesky stated that this is really something that we have struggled to have a response with because once it goes off-road, our Crown Vics are not very successful in doing so. Chief Pomesky stated that this will put us in the right direction to be able to acquire an off-road vehicle to help address those areas of the Township that draw us off the beaten path a little bit. Chief Pomesky stated that Mr. Neifert was very pleased to be able to bring that forward to help us.
Trustee Haines made a motion that the Board accept the donation from Al Neifert in the amount of $1,000.00 for an ATV security patrol; Seconded by Trustee Haines.
ROLL CALL: Mr. Chessler, yes. Mr. Haines, yes. Mr. Laubacher, yes.
Consider Mailbox Damage Complaint/Replacement Procedure
Trustee Chessler stated that the Road Superintendent has asked the Board to consider adopting a policy to address mailbox damage complaints and replacements due to a high volume of damaged mailboxes because of the wet snow. Trustee Chessler stated that this is a problem that we have dealt with for years and added that he commends Superintendent Masalko for bringing forth a uniform and organized way to address this. Trustee Chessler asked Road Superintendent Masalko to go through the process that he is proposing.
Road Superintendent Masalko stated that when a call comes into the Road Department, it is written down and then the situation is evaluated. Mr. Masalko stated that what they are finding is due to the heavy, wet snow, it’s not actually being hit by the plow, referring to the mailboxes, it is the heavy, wet snow that is pushing these mailboxes over. Mr. Masalko stated that they have found that because of deteriorating and rusting posts, some of these mailboxes cannot withstand the weight of the snow. Mr. Masalko stated that he contacted Law Director Hall to come up with a procedure regarding this matter. The procedure states that the Township will not replace mailboxes that have been pushed over due to decaying posts. Mr. Masalko stated that the Township does replace any mailbox that has been hit by a plow up to an amount of $60.00.
Trustee Haines verified that the Township will continue to replace any mailbox that has been hit by a plow. Mr. Masalko stated that was correct and added again that due to a deterioration of a post or rusting at the ground level, that will be the responsibility of the homeowner.
Trustee Laubacher stated that in a previous conversation with the Road Superintendent, it was indicated that the Road Crew has gone back out to put a mailbox back up, temporarily. Mr. Masalko stated that was correct, as a courtesy.
Trustee Chessler stated that this contemplates a form being completed and an investigation to determine the circumstances whether it is our fault or whether it is from other circumstances. Trustee Chessler stated that we would have them sign off on the terms and conditions by which they would be receiving a new mailbox. Trustee Chessler inquired of Law Director Hall if there was anything else that we should be concerned about. Mr. Hall indicated that this would cover it.
Trustee Chessler made a motion that pursuant to the request of the Road Superintendent, the Board of Trustees adopt a Mailbox Damage Complaint and Replacement Procedure Policy to be effective immediately upon passage of the resolution; Seconded by Trustee Haines.
ROLL CALL: Mr. Chessler, yes. Mr. Haines, yes. Mr. Laubacher, yes.
Consider Acceptance of All Material Quotes
Trustee Chessler stated that as the Board is aware, we had advertised for and solicited bids for material quotes for 2015 and at the January 20, 2015 Regular Meeting the Board accepted those and tabled that action for further review by the Law Director and Road Superintendent and has a memo from the Road Superintendent of all the businesses that submitted quotes that are in compliance, reviewed by the Law Director to be in compliance, and will list the following:
- D & R Supply, Inc.
- Roio Sand & Gravel
- Kimble Clay & Limestone
- Central Allied Enterprises, Inc.
- Huth Ready Mix & Supply Co.
- Massillon Asphalt Company
- Oster Sand & Gravel, Inc.
- Diano Supply Company
- National Lime and Stone Co.
- Northstar Asphalt, Inc.
- The Shelly Company
- Tiger Sand & Gravel, LLC
- American Sand & Gravel
Trustee Chessler made a motion that the Board accept those bids for material for 2015; Seconded by Trustee Laubacher.
Trustee Laubacher verified of Road Superintendent Masalko that he goes to these companies and individually, with no particular picking of any of the companies to get these materials. Mr. Masalko stated that was correct. Mr. Masalko stated that if it is a slow day, they will look and see what company bid the cheapest and send someone there.
ROLL CALL: Mr. Chessler, yes. Mr. Haines, yes. Mr. Laubacher, yes.
Trustee Chessler stated that this next item on the Agenda is again another matter the Board has previously discussed; the Board had made a motion and passed a resolution asking the Auditor to certify the amount that would be generated by the renewal of the current levy and the additional 2.9 mills. Trustee Chessler stated that we have received that certification back dated January 21, 2015; the tax revenue that would be produced by the levy by the stated millage assuming tax valuation remains constant through the life of the levies calculated be $2,466,859. Trustee Chessler verified of Law Director Hall of the resolution he prepared for the Board this evening. Mr. Hall stated that in Mr. Schlegel’s hands is a resolution; tomorrow is the deadline and should the Board approve this tonight, he and Mr. Schlegel will certify it and take it to the Board of Elections tomorrow; basically placing the issue of a 2.9 mil renewal and a 2 mil additional for the voter’s consideration for the May 5th primary election.
Trustee Chessler stated that we have previously been apprised by the Chief and the Fiscal Officer of the current levels of revenue generation; the basics of what the costs were for additional employees and the money that would be generated by the additional levy. Trustee Chessler stated that with that, would like to call upon the Fire Chief once again, prior to doing that for discussion purposes, makes a motion that the Board adopt a resolution to place on the ballot for the May primary election, the resolution involving the Fire Department for 2.9 mills of renewal and 2 additional mills; Seconded by Trustee Laubacher.
Trustee Chessler stated that with the resolution before the Board will ask the Fire Chief if there is anything else for the record tonight that we need to consider. Fire Chief Martin stated there was not.
Trustee Laubacher stated that the money that this is going to generate is really going to provide the Township with a good group of firemen in all three (3) of our fire districts and will cover the Township so that we do not have the lack of time for the firemen to be able to get to a scene, especially in the middle of the night. Trustee Laubacher stated that this is going to help the Township immensely. Trustee Laubacher briefly mentioned someone from Richville who has constantly asked to have the fire station in that area manned 24 hours a day and further added that he thought this information regarding the levy should be shared with him so that he understands what is going to be happening with the levy.
Trustee Haines indicated that for those in the audience to understand, right now, between the hours of 11 and 9 at night, Stations #2 and #3 are not staffed so this will put staffing at those stations during the night. Trustee Haines explained that we have Station #1 staffed but if we get sent out on calls, that is not staffed and at that point then it is call backs; this will staff the Township so we will be able to respond and have people at Stations to respond during the night as well as what we would do during the day. Trustee Haines stated that this is the biggest challenge that we are looking at with this levy. Trustee Haines stated that for those who are looking at reasons why more money is needed; this is because we do not feel that we are staffed properly at night.
Fiscal Officer Schlegel stated that so that the people in the audience understand this, this is an all or nothing situation. Mr. Schlegel stated that at the time to place votes, you either vote for the 2.9 renewal and also the 2.0 new money, it is not separate.
Trustee Chessler stated that in regard to this one matter, the resolution that is before the Board to ask the voters in May to pass a levy of a combined renewal and additional amount; Trustee Chessler asked if there was anyone in the audience that has a comment to make on this particular topic.
Tom Ross, 2845 Standish SW, Canton – Mr. Ross stated that as the Board is aware, he is a veteran of our Fire Department and wanted to take a minute to thank the Chief for all the work he has done in the last eight (8) years and to the Board for recognizing what is needed next. Mr. Ross stated that we have made a lot of progress in eight (8) years and by doing this, it is that next step forward. Mr. Ross commented that for him, progress cannot come fast enough. Mr. Ross stated that he understands that it takes time to do this and it is a big step but this will be a great thing for the fire department and thanked Chief Martin again for what he has done for us so far.
ROLL CALL: Mr. Chessler, yes. Mr. Haines, yes. Mr. Laubacher, yes.
Consider Accepting the Resignation Letter of Marc Shefelton Resigning from the BZA and Appointing Karen Ramos from Alternate to Regular Member
Trustee Chessler stated that the next item on the Agenda is a letter the Board received dated January 6, 2015 from Marc Shefelton thanking the Board of Trustees, the Board of Zoning Appeals and the Zoning Inspector for the opportunity to serve the community for the past eight (8) years. In Mr. Shefelton’s letter he states that it is with great sadness that he is informing us of his resignation from the Perry Township Board of Zoning Appeals effective February 28, 2015 due to his acceptance of a call to the Pastor of Buffalo Prairie Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Buffalo Prairie, Illinois. Trustee Chessler stated that we want to wish Marc well in his new endeavors and makes a motion that we accept his letter of resignation from the Board of Zoning Appeals; Seconded by Trustee Haines.
ROLL CALL: Mr. Chessler, yes. Mr. Haines, yes. Mr. Laubacher, yes.
Trustee Chessler stated that it was earlier this year that we had appointed Karen Ramos to the position of Alternate on the Board of Zoning Appeals and it has been the Board’s practice over the past several years to appoint an alternate to be at the ready and to sit at the meetings and to learn the process and do all things but vote, unless necessary. Trustee Chessler stated that although it has been a short period of time, he believes that Mrs. Ramos would be best suited to step up into that role and makes a motion that by virtue of the vacancy that was created by Marc’s resignation that we appoint Karen Ramos as a regular member of the Perry Township Board of Zoning Appeals; Seconded by Trustee Laubacher.
ROLL CALL: Mr. Chessler, yes. Mr. Haines, yes. Mr. Laubacher, yes.
Trustee Chessler inquired as to the Board’s wishes of whether to advertise or indicate on the Township Website, the solicitation for any community members that would be interested in being considered as an alternate to the Board of Zoning Appeals. Trustee Chessler verified that this is the Board of Zoning Appeals not the Zoning Commission, and stated that it would not be appropriate to take all the time to distinguish between the two positions tonight, but the Board of Zoning Appeals now has an alternate position open and we can provide anyone interested with the information on how to indicate interest for that.
Department Matters Not Requiring Board Action:
Fire Department: None.
Statistics of December 2014
Trustee Chessler stated that Chief Pomesky has statistics that he has submitted to the Board for 2014. Chief Pomesky stated that was correct and added that this was the end of the year report for the crime stats for the Police Department for the Board’s review.
Trustee Chessler stated that the Board will accept those statistics from the Police Department for the period activities of December 2014.
Trustee Chessler stated that noting the large number of people here tonight, he wanted to note for the record the Board’s position on Public Speaks and remind those in the public, that any member of the public may speak to matters not on the Agenda at this time relating to Township affairs. Trustee Chessler added that questions and comments must be directed to the Board of Trustees and not to any individual Department Head; each person addressing the Board shall refrain from making personal, slanderous or profane remarks to any member of the Board, staff or general public; any member of the public intending to speak should state their name and address for the record. Trustee Chessler stated with that asks if there is anyone that wishes to address the Board of Trustees in Public Speaks.
Carolyn Dick, 2625 Barnstone Ave. SW – Ms. Dick stated that she has successfully chaired all the Perry Police levies since 2006 and added that all of these ‘guys and gals are very dear’ to her heart. Ms. Dick stated that she has a little issue with the Red Center and inquired if the Board had voted on this matter that we are going to do the Red Center. Ms. Dick stated that another question she had was what is going to happen to our dispatchers that are now working in the Police Department and further asked if they would be put out and about in other locations and additionally, will their jobs be secure.
Trustee Chessler stated that he is referring back to a meeting in January wherein the Board entertained a discussion on the Police Chief’s idea to examine dispatch as we currently do it and to look into other alternatives. Trustee Chessler stated that the Board of Trustees authorized the Chief to go out and look at other alternatives so no decision has been made. Trustee Chessler stated that Ms. Dick had spoken about the Red Center and added that they were one of four (4) entities that do dispatching in the area. Trustee Chessler stated that no decisions have been made. Trustee Chessler further indicated that the Chief, along with a Board representative, have convened meetings wherein both the Police Chief and the Fire Chief were involved in the process of meeting and gathering information. Trustee Chessler stated that there is nothing that the Board has voted on as yet and added that it would be premature to speak in regard to details at this point and time without that.
Ms. Dick stated that she was here to support the police and the people who work on the dispatch.
Trustee Chessler stated that part of that discussion would be if the Board would consider moving somewhere else to have those dispatchers placed into that operation as well, but added that we do not have any details and no decisions have been made yet.
Ms. Dick inquired if she could be made aware of when these decisions are being made so that she could be aware of what is going on as a citizen.
Trustee Chessler stated that in advance of every meeting, everything that is being considered before the Board is on the Agenda. Trustee Chessler verified that the Agenda information is forwarded to the Township Website at 3 pm the day of the Board of Trustees meeting. The next regular meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 17, 2015.
Debbie Ponieski, 5268 14th St. SW – Debbie indicated that she is a dispatcher at Perry and added that as these talks go on, inquired if the dispatchers would be made aware of what is going on since this matter affects them, the dispatchers, directly and not have to hear the details ‘after the fact’. Debbie stated that the dispatchers would like to be a part of those discussions so that they know where their futures are led. Debbie stated that they would like to be kept up to date on what is going on and added that they want to know if they need to start looking for a job as well as having questions that they would like to ask of these places as this process goes on.
Trustee Laubacher indicated that of the three (3) dispatching services that were here at the last meeting; they all said that if they were to take us in, they cannot do it without hiring a number of personnel. Trustee Laubacher briefly summarized by saying that if this matter was to go forward in this particular way, the Board cannot say whether everyone would be hired by one dispatch service or another.
Debbie inquired that if it would come to that particular point, they would no longer be Perry Township employees. Trustee Laubacher indicated that if they would go to another dispatching service, then yes.
Debbie briefly indicated that due to her age it may not be as easy to get a job and added that she had a large amount of sick hours built up and stated that she could potentially lose that.
Trustee Haines indicated that these are questions that they have not gotten that far on and further added that obviously there are contracts and everything else that has to be looked at and stated that we are nowhere near that far.
Debbie indicated that since they missed out on that meeting, referring to the dispatchers, because we weren’t aware that it was going on and that they were going to be there, referring to other dispatch services, we would like to be involved in the next meeting that is coming up, if possible. Trustee Haines stated absolutely.
Damian Hollar, 4881 Whipple Ave. SW, Canton – stated that he had a question in regard to an outside dispatching service and added that the residents voted to pass a levy and gave a quote from the Massillon Independent newspaper regarding the levy. Mr. Hollar also inquired why after only two months of passing the levy that it was being suggested to take this hard earned money and do away with it to put into a different dispatch company and not our Perry employees. Mr. Hollar inquired who suggested the fact of going to a separate dispatch service.
Trustee Haines stated that Mr. Hollar brought up a lot of good comments. Mr. Hollar again inquired who suggested going to a different dispatch service.
Trustee Haines stated that a lot of this started with the recent 911 outage that we had and how it could be better corresponded. Trustee Haines explained that everyone’s 911 was out and it was a disaster.
Mr. Hollar stated that it was AT & T and that was not his concern; that was not part of his question. Mr. Hollar stated that he wanted to know whose idea it was. Trustee Haines stated that was what brought it to light.
Police Chief Pomesky stated that as the Department Head and the Chief of Police, he is responsible to look at service packages delivered to the Township on a regular basis. Chief Pomesky stated that it would be very foolish and frivolous to not look at everything from a top down perspective. Chief Pomesky gave a brief explanation and stated that we are in an information gathering stage at this point; no decisions have been made, but we need to put ourselves in a position, long term, that we are solvent, that we have good sound emergency response plans.
Chief Pomesky stated that the dispatch service that he is looking at is no different than what we already do with our fire department. Chief Pomesky briefly explained also having conversations back in 2010 regarding outside dispatch services and added that we must revisit this again because there are certain service issues that we are not meeting; there are safety issues for not only our officers, but for our community. Chief Pomesky stated that we are very limited in the capacity that the dispatching room can handle and indicated that it is not to say that our dispatchers are not performing, but when down to one person, one person can only do so much. Chief Pomesky stated that in looking at our region in Western Stark County, we are the only Police Department that dispatches for ourselves. Chief Pomesky stated that we are going to weigh the options and look at what that package will deliver, but added that it was his responsibility to bring forward viable, long term solutions to critical incidents and that is what this is about.
Chief Pomesky stated that as we said earlier on, we want our dispatchers to be part of the process if that is the direction that it goes, and we might go through this process and it may turn out that it might not be the direction that we go. Chief Pomesky stated that we have not made those decisions yet and added that he has not made a recommendation.
Mr. Hollar stated that his next question is that you say you may go to this other center and they would have to employ more people for the dispatching, but you cannot guarantee your current Perry dispatchers a position in that job, is that correct. Trustee Chessler stated that was correct. Mr. Hollar stated his next question to Chief Pomesky was if this was his idea to suggest going to a separate dispatching service. Chief Pomesky stated that he has not made a suggestion or a recommendation at this point. Mr. Hollar again inquired if Chief Pomesky made the recommendation.
Law Director Hall stated that Mr. Hollar did not hear the Chief’s answer because he was not listening and further added that Chief Pomesky had indicated to the Board that an investigation into this matter was merited. Mr. Hall also stated that there is no recommendation because it is under investigation.
Mr. Hollar stated that his next question was that concern for safety was the subject matter but indicated that there aren’t enough people on hand. Mr. Hollar went on to say that when the police levy was passed, it was to hire more people and further added that we pay for personal Perry dispatchers and asked why it would even be considered going to a separate dispatching service.
Trustee Chessler stated that he thought Mr. Hollar was trying to put words in the Boards’, mouths but added that he wanted to clarify one thing. Trustee Chessler stated that we did what we did last year with the police levies because we had one that we had to renew and we went to the voters in August in order to secure that one and get the largest amount of funding. Trustee Chessler added that we had an additional request that we then made in September.
Trustee Chessler briefly summarized that Chief Pomesky had laid out his plan for safety, but added that in addition to safety, we only have so many dollars that we get and we have to rely on the Chief to come up with how to best spend those dollars. Trustee Chessler stated that he thinks a lot of those discussions involved with staffing involved people that were patrol officers and putting officers on the streets. Trustee Chessler stated that the discussion regarding staffing levels was what Mr. Hollar read and quoted from the newspaper. Mr. Hollar stated that it was current staffing, to be correct, that was quoted from the newspaper. Trustee Chessler stated that it was current staffing that was being addressed concerning the problems in the past of having officers on the street and having officers sitting behind the dispatching console doing dispatching when they weren’t out on the street. Trustee Chessler stated that this is the context in which the discussion took place regarding increasing staffing with increased money.
Chief Pomesky briefly stated that in regard to hiring in a police department, this is not something where you can just grab somebody off the street and bring them in; there is an extensive background check that has to happen and there are training qualifications and standards that an individual needs to have. Chief Pomesky summarized by saying that in regard to hiring good qualified candidates, we have to have a good fit, they have to be community minded and added that he is not going to settle for less.
Mr. Hollar stated that he understands that and added that the Police Department has great officers, no doubt about that.
Chief Pomesky stated that hiring is one way that he can protect the core of our Township police officers; to hire based upon a time frame is frivolous and foolish because to let a bad candidate slip into the door, it could potentially be a 25 year nightmare for the Township to bare and is not to be taken lightly.
Trustee Laubacher briefly explained that we do not have the money to go out and hire until we are in receipt of the tax monies. Fiscal Officer Schlegel indicated that we are just beginning to receive some advance monies.
Timothy Blythe, 2956 Bridgeton St. NW, Massillon 44646 – Mr. Blythe stated that during the levy campaign there was discussion about bringing staffing up to where it needed to be in dispatch as well as hiring additional officers and alluded to the fact that it might be full time or part time officers. Mr. Blythe also added that Chief Pomesky had previously shared with him that our dispatch center was far beyond the other dispatch centers in the area and inquired if we have the best, why would we want to retract back to another dispatch center. Mr. Blythe further added that he couldn’t imagine a better scenario than a person answering the phone for one specific community. Mr. Blythe stated that Chief Pomesky had mentioned that there was a safety issue with not having central dispatching and inquired what that issue was.
Chief Pomesky stated that mutual aid has always been a struggle for us; we are constantly on the phone with other agencies when we are on our fringes and briefly explained a previous incident wherein communication could not happen fast enough to alert our department thus creating a service gap. Chief Pomesky briefly explained that we need to be working together as teams with other agencies and added that the fire departments in our county already do this; collaborating on a regular basis. Chief Pomesky added that police have been slow to migrate to this point, but it is something that, long term, we will have to look at doing in order to work together in a collaborate environment.
Chief Pomesky briefly explained that the goal is to get an environment that when significant events happen we are also able to answer all other calls as well and continue on. Chief Pomesky stated that while we are doing a good job right now, the potential is there for the hiccups; we need to work to minimize that and it is no different than what we are doing for our fire department currently.
Mr. Blythe inquired how often we have a pursuit situation where we need mutual assist that doesn’t involve the State Highway Patrol. Mr. Blythe added that he believes all of the dispatch centers realize that we cannot communicate with the State Highway Patrol in any other fashion than we are right now.
Chief Pomesky stated that we have several instances where that happens and briefly explained that we have the instances that are substantial enough and those are the things we have to work toward a long term plan to build. Chief Pomesky added that this is about addressing a safety issue for a community in building a better response for tomorrow. Chief Pomesky stated that while we have a good quality dispatch right now, we need to take it to the next level and we need to build a better plan. Chief Pomesky added that the 911 outage was a heads up with that; we were very much confined to an island and further added that it was not good for the safety of our residents, employees and others. Chief Pomesky stated that when you collaborate in a communication center, everything gets pushed up in a more seamless range and added that we can do that much more effectively with working with other entities.
Mr. Blythe stated that he had not spoken with one police officer that thinks that this is a good idea and added that this is alarming to him. Mr. Blythe inquired if it would be smart for a study to be done, much like the fire department had a few years back. Mr. Blythe added that would it not be a good investment to have that study done to identify what the weaknesses are and then at least you have some substantial evidence.
Chief Pomesky stated that he believes those studies have been done on a county-wide level prior to.
Mr. Blythe replied not to give up Perry Township.
Carolyn Dick stated that we all want what is best for the Township and added that foremost she agrees that we have to keep our officers safe and the community safe. Ms. Dick made comment that if a study were to be done, it might prove that outsourcing would be something that would be able to work, otherwise there are going to be lots of problems.
Trustee Chessler briefly stated that outsourcing dispatch is something we have looked at from time to time but has not received the kind of public response or public scrutiny that it has at this time. Trustee Chessler summarized by saying that in looking at our dispatching model, we have to take into account how ours varies from just about every other police agency in the community as well as cost, the model that we choose and how it will enhance or effect safety.
Trustee Chessler addressed Carolyn Dick by saying that no system will be foolproof and addressed Tim Blythe by addressing the point that by spending money to have a study done, this is what Chief Pomesky has done, this is who we look to in our community, with our resources, with our personnel. Trustee Chessler added that we have to look at the way that other communities do this as well; and see if this is something that is workable and cost effective as well as recognizing the new technologies and what new movement there is to consolidate region wise.
Mr. Blythe briefly made the point that sometimes it is important for somebody outside of the box to take a look at this matter because they are of a neutral standpoint.
Trustee Chessler briefly commented that there are two sides to discuss this issue and that naturally the vested interests in each person’s jobs and relationships would affect their opinions on this matter.
Chief Pomesky stated that he would like to make comment in regard to the study. Chief Pomesky made reference to the first segment of the regional dispatch concept wherein an outside committee was formed and incorporated with the Fire Department. Chief Pomesky stated that many viable things were touched upon and solutions to implement and added that we still have to go back and address things inside to improve our service and look at some things the way we do it. Chief Pomesky stated that the end result is that we want to be the most progressive agency that we can be and there is a lot that we can do by working with other agencies.
Mr. Blythe stated that he appreciated the fact that studies have been done in the past, but as stated, it is a changing model every day so some of the information that was received from the study three to five years ago, means nothing. Mr. Blythe summarized by saying that he thinks that it is time for a new one.
Steve Toohey, 642 Summerdale Ave. NW, Massillon – Mr. Toohey made the comment that ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. Mr. Toohey also made reference to a traffic accident in December that involved two of his trailers at his business on Navarre Road. Mr. Toohey added that upon contacting the police dispatch, it was comforting that they knew who he was and where he was located. Mr. Toohey stated that is what a township is about; having your citizens know your people, your residents, your streets, your companies and knowing where they are at. Mr. Toohey stated that he would not get this through the Red Center. Mr. Toohey asked to please consider this is our township, this is our taxpayer, these are our people.
Melissa Elliott, 109 Crescentview Dr. SW, Massillon – Ms. Elliott stated that she is also an employee of the Township for almost 16 years. Ms. Elliott added that the department is a family, we always have been and added that her job is going to be affected by this. Ms. Elliott stated that Chief Pomesky stated that there are safety issues at hand and added that whether she is sitting at the Sheriff’s Office, she will still have to pick up the phone to call Massillon. Ms. Elliott stated that we are all trying to keep each other safe and gave an example of when one of the officers calls out on the radio during a traffic stop and stated that she can tell by the tone of their voice if they are going to have a problem; they don’t have to tell her to send another unit, she knows to do that. Ms. Elliott stated they were told that if the levy passed they would be put at full staff and hire another full time dispatcher since they had been back a dispatcher for almost a year. Ms. Elliott added that it was written in the newspaper that if the levy would not pass, they would have to look into other options for the dispatch center and added that we are still doing that. Ms. Elliott stated in regard to the levy, the residents voted to have a full functioning police department and briefly added that when another levy would come up it would be a hard pass because she feels that ‘you were not honest with us the first time’.
Greg Brinkerhoff, 3844 Clark St. SW, Massillon – Mr. Brinkerhoff stated that he is not in support of this. Mr. Brinkerhoff added that he pays taxes in this township and he voted for a levy to have a full police department; and now for someone to get an 18% raise and they only get 5% but they requested an 18% raise and request their secretary to get a 15% raise. Mr. Brinkerhoff stated that we voted that money to fund our department and added that all he is going to say is the cost of living raise is not at 18%.
Steve Slone, 313 Gregwood SW, Beach City, OH – Officer Slone stated that he has been dispatched through the Red Center and he has been dispatched through Stark County and added that you get mediocre dispatch. Officer Slone stated that the problem with that is that there is no recourse and added that the Massillon Police Department has a stack of complaints on the Red Center (gesture with his hand) this high. In addition, Officer Slone stated that as a police officer in this Township, he does not want to go back to that.
Trustee Chessler inquired of Officer Slone if he is saying that the police officers are calling their dispatch and dispatch is not responding.
Officer Slone stated that when he was with Red Center and Stark Com, yes sir. Trustee Chessler inquired how long ago that was. Officer Slone stated that he was with the Brewster P.D. and the Rangers and has been here nine (9) years.
Trustee Haines inquired if that was with Red Center. Officer Slone stated that he was with both. Trustee Haines stated that he would like to sit down and talk to him for a few minutes but inquired if the incident with Massillon City was recent. Officer Slone stated that he was told by a patrolman over there that they still have a stack (gesture with his hand) this high to complain about the Red Center.
Officer Slone also made reference to a previously mentioned issue on Navarre Road and added that no matter where we go, we are still going to have to call another agency. Officer Slone stated that the last thing we want to do is put all our dispatchers together; he feels that would be the worst possible scenario. Officer Slone stated that if a natural disaster would knock out the system, there would be no dispatchers anywhere in the county however, if another dispatch center would go down, their calls could be absorbed by us and the remaining dispatch centers. Officer Slone sated that we can help each other out and assist but if you put everyone altogether and the system goes down there would be no dispatch for anyone.
Trustee Haines stated that he did not think that all four would go together but added that who knows what is down the road with countywide.
Officer Slone stated that he thinks it is very scary and added that his last point is this: as a Perry resident, when they call the Perry Township Police Department, the person calling believes that they are talking to the Perry Police Department. Officer Slone added that he has urged Chief Pomesky to talk to the other agencies in regard to once receiving the bid for dispatch services the price would go through the roof, sometimes bidding double.
Chief Pomesky stated that in regard to the bids doubling, if that was something that had legs or of standing, there would have been a discussion at one of the Chief’s Association meetings. Chief Pomesky stated that contracts and dispatching are discussed on a regular basis at these meetings; comparing things across the board.
Jeannie Elliottt, 2601 Graydon Ave. SW, Canton – Mrs. Elliott stated that the dispatchers do not have enough help, they need another full time dispatcher, they were promised that. Mrs. Elliott also indicated that they were also told that there would be a couple more fulltime police officers put on the road. Mrs. Elliott added that she agreed with Chief Pomesky, it takes a long time to find the right candidate, you can’t just put somebody on the road, you have to do extensive interviewing and inquired if there was anything in the works with that, if there was anything in the works to get the dispatchers help.
Chief Pomesky stated that there were plenty of things in the works and added that when looking at hiring, it is a process and the process has to be fair to all the candidates. Chief Pomesky also stated that previously we could not hire because we were not in a position to do any hiring. Chief Pomesky briefly explained that at the first of the year, he had started sorting and categorizing resumes and paperwork in regard to the people expressing their intent to come to Perry Township and added that when everything needs done with that process, we will move it forward and he will make recommendations to the Board.
Mrs. Elliott inquired if Chief Pomesky was looking for a dispatcher. Chief Pomesky stated that he has all the officers’ resumes that he had been going through at this point, and will bring those at first.
Mrs. Elliott stated that Chief Pomesky promised them a dispatcher. Chief Pomesky stated that he stated that he would look at staffing enhancements during the campaign and did not confirm what direction that he would hire first or what directions the hiring were going to go. Chief Pomesky stated that we want to look at the total plan for service delivery to the Township and we have to address the officers first and build up from there.
Mrs. Elliott stated that she did not think that it was put out there, that if the levy was passed this is what we are going to do and then the levy passed and we don’t get anything.
Trustee Chessler stated to Mrs. Elliott that he did not recall in this room that this Chief before this Board ever said that he was promising to do this, hire dispatch or whatever it was.
Mrs. Elliott stated that it was in the newspaper. Trustee Chessler stated that Mrs. Elliott seems convinced that the promise was made, but added that he attended all of the meetings for the levy committee and he never heard that discussed there.
Mrs. Elliott stated that she had other businesses tell her that they had gotten things that stated that the police force was going to be kept complete, dispatchers were going to get extra help, the policemen were going to get extra help. Mrs. Elliott stated that she does not see any of this being done and added that she felt that if this goes down where they remove the dispatchers and pull us apart, there are a lot of people who will never vote for another levy in Perry Township.
Trustee Chessler stated that we understand the gravity of the decision, but added that if it is based on the fact that somebody said ‘I heard a promise made that if this levy passes, a dispatcher will be hired’, that didn’t happen.
Ms. Dick stated that you cannot believe everything you read in the newspaper. Ms. Dick added that she sat in the meetings for the levy committee and she never heard Chief Pomesky say dispatchers, he said it would be additional patrols.
Chief Pomesky stated that question was asked very pointedly to him by Mr. Blythe and added that he responded to him that he would look at the enhancements to the patrol division wholeheartedly because he feels we need to do that.
Mr. Blythe added that there was no promise made since the question he had was ‘what services are we going to get if the levy passes and what services would we lose if it fails’ and that question could never be answered. Mr. Blythe stated that he said then and says now that it is a bad thing to do because there is no plan. We do not know what is being done with the money. Mr. Blythe stated that he told Chief Pomesky then that this would come back to haunt him and added that he believes it is haunting him now.
Chief Pomesky stated that he didn’t think so.
Trustee Chessler stated that before we get into second rounds, inquired if there was anyone who had not spoken yet that wished to address the Board.
Tim Cecil, 921 Duncan St. SW, Massillon – Mr. Cecil stated that he wants to back up Officer Slone and stated that he has done lots of work with the Red Center and stated that he was on that shift that had a stack of complaints against the Red Center (gesture with hands) like this and there wasn’t anything done. Officer Cecil stated that the Red Center is horrible and added that he could not answer personally for the other three, but added that he was against outsourcing the dispatching. Officer Cecil stated ‘I can’t protect you if my dispatcher doesn’t protect me’.
Bill Watson, 1740 Sedwick Ave., Massillon – Mr. Watson stated that he has been a proud Perry Police Officer since September 8, 1992 and added that he has been in a variety of situations here at the Police Department. Officer Watson stated that he works with Debbie and Melissa, referring to the dispatchers, on a daily basis and stated ‘kudos’ to them because they do an awesome job. Officer Watson briefly stated that by knowing the tone of each officer’s voice, the dispatchers know when they are in need of help. Officer Watson added that the dispatchers are also helpful behind the scenes as well and indicated that when he or another officer is out on the road, they, the dispatchers, will enter the needed data, saving time for the officers that enable them to get back out on patrol.
Officer Watson addressed Trustee Chessler and inquired in regard to consolidating dispatching; if the dispatchers are being considered to be outsourced, would the police officers be next; are we looking into possibly looking to go to the sheriff’s office and lose our jobs.
Trustee Chessler stated that there has never been any discussion to that regard but added that there has been, over a long period of time, discussion regarding our dispatching model. Trustee Chessler briefly explained a previous levy back in the 1980’s wherein it was being discussed to have the police department go out of existence, but not since that time has there been discussion otherwise.
Officer Watson stated that he is proud to come to work everyday and work with these ladies and gentlemen, both dispatch and police officers, they do a fine job for all of us and further stated that he is proud to be a resident because of them.
Tom Ross, 2845 Standish, Canton – Mr. Ross inquired what dispatch center have been looked at. Trustee Chessler indicated that there are four (4). Stark Com, the Sheriff’s office; Can Com is Canton Communications Center, and is run through the Canton Police Department; Cen Com is in Nimishillen Township and are a predominately fire oriented dispatch, but do dispatch for police agencies; and the Red Center, a collection of western stark county safety service organizations that have their own Board and they make their own decisions and they govern themselves. Trustee Chessler stated that if there are problems within and we would go to the Red Center, we would have a seat at the table and we would handle complaints like we would here, through a process. Trustee Chessler stated that whether it is good or not, he is not making a comment in that regard but added that to contract with the Red Center would entail Perry Township entering into an agreement to be part of that Board, part of the decision making process that determines the cost and the governments of that entity.
Steve Toohey – Mr. Toohey inquired if we have established the fact that we are a dispatcher short. Mr. Toohey also inquired that if something happened in our Township that our dispatch center did not handle properly or could not handle properly because of lack of morale due to the lack of staffing due to the amount of work overload, he stated that he wouldn’t want the dispatchers to take that burden upon themselves that they created something like that. Mr. Toohey added that these dispatchers are in incredibly strenuous positions to make moment-to-moment calls as to what to do and do it properly, by the book and make sure it is handled properly by our police officers. Mr. Toohey stated that if we have established a certain amount of need, not promises that should have come forth, or did not, for more dispatchers now, at least lets get the dispatchers that we need now to handle today’s business today.
Trustee Chessler stated to preface that in addition to what Mr. Toohey described, inquired of Chief Pomesky what some of the challenges were, as the manager of an organization that does dispatching, what are all the things that go into that and what are some of the problem areas that you would like to address.
Chief Pomesky stated that these are very good points and added that it is the safety issue that he is looking to address. Chief Pomesky stated that he understands that our dispatchers are taxed; it will take a significant amount of staff to address that issue, that is why he would like them to become part of a larger team so when we have those stressful incidents and we have significant calls for service, they are not the lone person in that room. Chief Pomesky briefly stated that when you have a larger facility and you collaborate and you bring those individuals together, you have assigned roles in that instance and it becomes a safety benefit to the people that we serve as opposed to putting it on one person’s shoulders, the tasks are divided. Chief Pomesky also summarized by adding that when you look at a regional approach and have additional people helping out, it relieves that stress and it becomes more effective to deliver your service in the Township; that is exactly what we are striving for and looking at.
Steve Toohey – Mr. Toohey stated let’s not wait until it’s too late to do something we should do today.
Debbie Ponieski, 5268 14th St. SW, Canton – stated that she wanted to make a comment about the stress issue and added that she is speaking for herself, she cannot speak for everybody else; she likes to multitask and added that if you are not a person that is able to multitask, you don’t need to sit in that chair, you have got to be able to handle many things at one time. Ms. Ponieski referred to a previous incident that she described that she did not feel taxed because she felt she had support from her supervisor helping the sergeant on duty. Ms. Ponieski referred to the sixth dispatcher, previously to retiring, that there were two dispatchers on each shift except for the days off. Ms. Ponieski stated that for her the biggest stress is the fact that when there is another dispatcher on vacation or there is a call off, not having that sixth person means that we end up being short working the overtime. Ms. Ponieski stated that overtime will kill a budget and knowing that or worrying that someone will call off is the biggest stress for her.
Becky Anania, 4061 Knolls Ave. SW – stated that she loves this Police Department; many of them are her friends and she added that she has had nothing but good experience with them. Mrs. Anania stated that judging from the turn out this evening and from what she is hearing, thinks that the morale and the feelings of all the police officers should be considered. Mrs. Anania stated that it seems like no one wants this to happen and added that she thinks that their feelings needed to be respected in this matter.
Carol Maney, 2844 South St. SW – Ms. Maney stated that she felt that the waters were being muddied in that too much was being put into this matter. Trustee Chessler asked Ms. Maney to elaborate on this point. Ms. Maney stated that she felt this would get very cloudy once you get more people at the distribution center and people will start getting passed off. Ms. Maney stated that she has not complained to the police department in eighteen (18) years, she is very satisfied.
Ms. Maney stated that she also is inquiring about the situation with R.G. Drage and Perry Township and the technical career aspect of that and asked how long it has been since the annexation. Trustee Haines stated that this was with the previous Massillon mayor so it would be four (4) plus years ago. Ms. Maney stated that she has called counselors at Perry High School trying to get her children involved in a technical training career and was told that Perry High School was not affiliated with R.G. Drage any longer. Ms. Maney stated that the answer she has been given was because of a conflict between Perry and Massillon Board of Trustees.
Law Director Hall stated that was confusion and added that Ms. Maney should be talking to the Board of Education.
Trustee Haines stated that Ms. Maney could direct her questions to the Board of Education since the Board of Trustees have no governance over the school.
Law Director Hall stated that neither Perry Local nor Massillon City Schools have open enrollment and verified that Ms. Maney should address her question to the Perry Local Board of Education or the Massillon City Board of Education. Mr. Hall stated that this has nothing to do with the annexation other than the fact that the school boards do not have an open enrollment policy back and forth.
Trustee Haines stated that he knows there are students from Perry Local Schools that take part in the trade school at Canton Local which is Canton South but added that he does not know if there is any affiliation between Massillon schools and Perry schools or where R.G. Drage falls into that.
Mr. Hall stated to Ms. Maney that we could obtain the contact information for both of those entities.
Todd Dean, 1509 Isler Circle NW, Canton – Mr. Dean stated he wanted to thank the Board, especially Joyce and Lee, for helping the residents of Isler Circle to finally get Aqua Ohio water. Mr. Dean stated that he has worked twenty-five (25) years to make this happen and stated thank you again for the support, use of the township hall, setting up of the meetings and added that without you, does not think this would have happened. Mr. Dean stated that he also wanted to let Chief Martin know that there are now two (2) fire hydrants on Isler Circle because he didn’t know how the fire department was notified about that. Chief Martin stated they were aware of that and added that they were happy to have them there as well noting that they hope to never have to use them but glad that they are there. Mr. Dean also explained now that the work has been done by Aqua Ohio, their streets are in disrepair and inquired of Road Superintendent Masalko if they could be put on the road paving list.
Trustee Chessler inquired if the restoration of the road surfaces was part of the bid process. Road Superintendent Masalko stated that it was.
Trustee Laubacher stated that there were several people from Isler Circle who had done some residential painting for him and indicated that the day they were painting was the same day they were getting their water lines put in and added how happy and excited they were about that.
Josh Luke, 5547 Baycrest St., Canton – Officer Luke stated that he wanted to make a comment in regard to the dispatching issue. In speaking of the safety issues, the biggest issue is how many do you think are going to be working tonight while you are sleeping. Officer Luke stated that it would be him and Officer Cecil tonight. Officer Luke stated that last night it was himself and Officer Dale. Officer Luke stated that they will have two (2) dispatchers and will only have two (2) officers working the road and added that this happens quite often. Officer Luke stated that he thinks the biggest safety issue in Perry when it comes to the Police Department is that we are only running two (2) a shift most of the time. Officer Luke stated that he knows it is a process to hire but added that he hopes we can get on that as soon as possible because it effects us a lot.
Road Department: None.
Law Director: None.
Public Speaks-Open Forum: None.
With nothing further to come before the Board, Trustee Haines made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:30 pm; Seconded by Trustee Chessler.
ROLL CALL: Mr. Chessler, yes. Mr. Haines, yes. Mr. Laubacher, yes.
Craig Chessler, President Joe Schlegel, Fiscal Officer