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Council president asks about special meeting

March 25, 2020
Ashley Fox , The Town Crier

Although the purpose behind a March 2 special meeting in Canfield is unclear, the council president is asking for clarification. During the city council meeting Wednesday (March 18), a letter from council President John Morvay was read. Morvay was unable to attend.

The special meeting, which went into executive session, concluded with a resolution passed by those in attendance, which included Mayor Richard Duffet and councilmen Anthony Nacarato and Bruce Neff.

That resolution states that council "deems it necessary to hire an outside firm with human resource qualifications to conduct an independent investigation regarding public employees."

To "set the record straight" from his perspective, on March 11, Morvay sent an email to council, city attorney Mark Fortunato, police Chief Chuck Colucci and Wade Calhoun, city manager. In that letter he had several questions concerning the March 2 meeting, which he, along with Councilmen Charles Tieche, did not attend.

Earlier this month, Nacarato relayed to Calhoun via email that neither Calhoun nor any other city employee was the focus of an investigation.

"Upon review of the motion made at the special meeting held on March 2, 2020, the wording in that motion was misleading," Nacarato stated.

In his email statement to council, Morvay stated that Duffet contacted him about the special meeting in the last week of February, concerning the need for a special council meeting with "the purpose of discussing Wade Calhoun's evaluation."

Calhoun's term expires Dec. 31, 2024. His contract states he is to receive yearly evaluations by members of council.

Morvay stated in the email that in a conversation with Neff, it was communicated that the investigation was intended for both Calhoun and Colucci.

Calhoun and city attorney Mark Fortunato led an investigation into a self-reported relationship between Colucci and a subordinate city employee. The investigation found that both parties did not act on city time, concluding there was "no indication that laws were broken," Calhoun previously stated. Colucci and the employee were issued written warning letters.

Using city email, Neff replied on March 12 to Morvay, stating that while he agrees Calhoun and Colucci are predominantly good at their jobs, there have been many bumps in the road.

Neff stated that Canfield residents have made comments regarding the investigation led by Calhoun, asking what the city is "covering up" and "why the double standards?"

Neff stated, "To be characterized as an investigation has a negative connotation, but a re-evaluation of the process is sound human resources improvement."

In his letter, Morvay expressed that he will not support an investigation into Calhoun or Colucci, adding that an outside adviser, attorney Jonathon Downes, guided the internal investigation.

Morvay added that Calhoun is an outstanding city manager and that he is a valuable asset to Canfield, as is Colucci.

Duffet previously stated that the meeting was held because he was out of town during the regular council meeting March 4 for a bill-signing ceremony with Gov. Mike DeWine in Columbus.

Action was taken after the executive session of the special meeting as Duffet said he was scheduled to have a medical procedure Monday, March 9, and was unsure how long recovery would take.

He was unable to provide comment on the matter Thursday, and Calhoun had no further comment.



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