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City Council starts year with a hiccup

January 8, 2020
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

On Jan. 2, Canfield Mayor Richard Duffet held a special swearing in meeting at City Hall prior to the first regular meeting of the new year. At the 5 p.m. gathering, families and friends were on hand as re-elected officials John Morvay, Bruce Neff and Chuck Tieche, and newly elected Anthony Nacarato took the oath of office for the four council seats.

Following the oath, councilmen were available to talk with families and friends prior to the start of the regular 5:30 p.m. meeting.

In the regular session, the first order of business was to select the council president for 2020. Mark Fortunato presided and called for nominees. The first nominee was presented by Duffet, who nominated Neff. Chuck Tieche seconded.

Fortunato then called for any other nominations and Nacarato nominated John Morvay with Tieche again giving a second. With two names in the hat for council president, Tieche asked that each candidate give a brief talk on why they should serve as president. Morvay was the first to talk.

"I feel there is unfinished business I have to bring to the city as council president," Morvay said.

He mentioned two reasons where he and Neff disagreed. One was the renegotiated contract with City Manager Wade Calhoun. Morvay said he felt the city had a "jewel" in Calhoun and he didn't want to lose him.

"I like his ideas and inspiration and wanted to be sure he stayed around," Morvay said. "That is one reason I am running for president."

He said the second reason has to do with the Canfield Board of Education and the situation with the Canfield Police Chief. He said Chief Chuck Colucci was fed up with the school district and wanted to speak at the school board meeting. He went to the city manager and talked it out and Calhoun was behind him.

Morvay said it is alright to disagree, but there are things he feels strong about.

Neff commended Morvay's last few years on city council, but added they weren't perfect.

"I was against the raise we gave the city manager," Neff said. "But I didn't want to lose him either."

On the issue of the Police Chief confronting the school board, Neff said, "The chief should not have been there with seven uniformed officers."

Tieche replied," If that is the way the city manager wanted to handle the school board, then the police chief is under him."

Neff jumped in and said, "We have put a mark on it."

Calhoun then replied, "We did not. The schools have put themselves in that position."

Following the conversation, a vote was called for to elect the new president of council. Morvay got three votes and Neff received two. Morvay then took over the meeting as president for 2020.

Later in the meeting, a motion came up to name who would serve as acting city manager in the event Calhoun was unable to be present to handle the city. In prior years, the task always fell on the police chief first and the finance director second.

"Couldn't we name someone else other than the police chief," Neff said. He felt the chief would be in a conflict of interest since he serves under the city manager.

Calhoun spoke up and said, "Chuck Colucci is the best qualified to take over."

Morvay agreed saying Colucci has the task of writing the city's job descriptions, thereby giving him the knowledge of who does what.

The vote was called for and the police chief was chosen to first to be acting city manager followed by the finance director. It passed 4-1 with Neff casting the no vote.



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