WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – In a letter to the Warren City law director, the lawyer for the group looking to establish a charter form of government wrote that the group will “except no high jinks or monkeyshines,” and if an ordinance to place a charter amendment is not passed, he will do his “job and hold (Warren City Council) accountable.”
The letter, dated Jan. 13, was sent by attorney Matt Miller-Novak of the Cincinnati based law firm Barron Peck Bennie & Schlemmer. It was sent to Warren City Law Director Enzo Cantalamessa.
“Council knows its obligations and duty under the law,” said Cantalamessa in response to the letter. “They will perform it with care and deliberation. Council will not be bullied by threats of premature litigation.”
Miller-Novak represents the group Warren Deserves Better and its leader Tina Milner, which wants to put an issue on the May primary ballot to create a charter form of government. Warren currently operates under a statutory form of government.
In the letter to Cantalamessa, Miller-Novak wrote that petitions to have the charter issue placed on the ballot were presented to the City Auditor and Clerk of Council and approved by the Trumbull County Board of Elections.
Warren City Council is now obligated to pass an ordinance placing the issue on the ballot in what Miller-Novak called a vote that’s “merely ministerial or symbolic…they have no choice under Ohio law.”
At its meeting last Wednesday, Warren council voted to delay the vote to place the charter issue on the ballot. However, councilman Greg Greathouse later said council does plan to pass it at its Jan. 25 meeting.
“It nonetheless appears that your client,” wrote Miller-Novak to Cantalamessa, “is conducting itself in an obstructive manner, which is why my clients have retained me to represent them.”
The letter also stated, “There are no clever alternatives available to your client to avoid this reality, regardless of their personal opinions about it. The public will vote on this matter in May one way or another.”
Warren City Council’s legislative committee has scheduled a public meeting to discuss a charter form of government for 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17, in council chambers.