Judge denies attempt by city of Alliance to dismiss public meeting lawsuit

From The Alliance Review

The city of Alliance’s attempt to have a public meetings lawsuit dismissed was denied by Stark County Common Pleas judge Taryn L. Heath on Tuesday. 

Alliance requested a summary judgment — which seeks a ruling by a court without a trial — in a lawsuit filed by a city man, who contends an executive session in Alliance City Council was a violation of the Ohio Sunshine Law. 

Heath noted in the five-page judgment entry that she “cannot, and will not, accept (the city’s) contention that a Court must blindly accept the meeting minutes of a public body because they have been approved — particularly in the face of evidence that they are incorrect.” 

In April 2017, days after city council’s regular meeting, attorney Steven Okey filed the court action on behalf of resident Leslie J. Young, citing public meetings law violations after council recessed into an executive session without giving the reason. The complaint alleged this violated the Ohio Revised Code rules, pointing to a video of the meeting posted by the Alliance Review on its YouTube channel. 

“The video accurately records that no member of council cited any purpose (for the executive session),” Okey wrote in a 12-page memorandum Nov. 13 responding to the city’s motion for summary judgment against his case. “Yet the statutory purpose (personnel) conveniently appears in the minutes.” 

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