Thursday, January 18, 2018


UPDATE:  (Wednesday, 12:53 p.m.)  It appears that the Mayor Alan Andreani administration tried some "surprise" maneuvering at last night's meeting as evidenced in the administration's move to introduce a replacement ordinance near the very end of council session last night to lock in a $8,500 "temporary" appropriation of outside legal counsel funding.

In summary, there is nothing new as of this update as to whether or not there will be a veto override attempt by council to undo what Alliance law director Jennifer Arnold says is the status of the original administration proposal of a $10,000 appropriation of the "temporary" funding of outside legal counsel.

Councilwoman-at-Large Julie Jakmides is standing by her current assessment that the mayor's veto of council's action on December 28, 2017 to reduce the $10,000 appropriation to $0 was an illegal act of the mayor in that it is a violation of the U.S./Ohio "separations of powers" provisions which have the effect of making the executive, legislative and judicial branches of U.S. and Ohio government "co-equal branches of government.



There are political analysts who say that sooner rather than later America is heading for a constitutional crisis in the battle between Donald Trump, some in Congress (all of the Democrats, and, perhaps a few Republicans) and Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller over Mueller's investigation into criminal conduct (two guilty pleas already [Flynn and Papadopulous] on the part of Trump administration/transition team/campaign team officials, if not the president himself.

While nobody is alleging any criminal conduct in the Alliance council/administration standoff over the mayor's veto of council's December 28th resolution paring down the amount for outside legal counsel in 2018, it appears to The Stark County Political Report that a simmering dispute on the level of administration expenditures for outside-legal-counsel between Councilwoman-at-Large Julie Jakmides and Mayor Alan Adreani is escalating rapidly towards a "separation-of-powers" constitutional crisis that has the potential to create legal precedent for Ohio's political subdivision on the proper dividing line for the legislative and executive branches of government on 
government finance.

In a nutshell, Councilwoman Jakmides (chairperson of council's Finance Committee) has led a effort to challenge the Andreani administration in its 2018 budgeting for the funding and hiring of outside legal counsel from an asked for $10,000 by reducing the number to $0 in a temporary budget  (likely running until mid-March, 2018 before a permanent budget is passed) that council passed on December 28, 2017, to wit:

(Note:  see Temporary Budget in Appendix, Item 3)

On January 1 (a legal holiday, mind you), Andreani fired off a veto of Ordinance 80-17 to council.  (See letter  as Item 1 in the appendix at the end of this blog)

It seems likely that an attempt to override the mayor's veto will take place at a special meeting of council scheduled for tonight at 6:00 p.m.

Adding fuel to the fire in Alliance is the fact that Law Director Jennifer Arnold appears to be solidly in the Andreani camp evidenced by her legal opinion on the matter (see letter as Item 2 in the Appendix at the end of this blog) even though she as  the Alliance law director has the responsibility to provide legal advice to all of Alliance government.  

Here is what Jakmides says about the prospects for an override:

First and foremost, I am not entirely confident there are enough votes for the required supermajority we would need to override the Mayor’s veto. While I can say with substantial certainty that there will be at least four votes to override, I’m just not sure if the necessary fifth vote is there. There is an effort underway to earn that fifth vote.

Here is how the SCPR thinks the vote will turn out:

The key person as to whether or not there will be an override seems to be Ward 2 councilwoman Cindy King.

Newly elected councilperson Brian Simeone (a Democrat) says that he would not be surprised if King were to vote to override.   But, he emphasized, he does not know that she will.

Sheila Cherry is said to be a definite "no" vote as is Roger Rhome.

So WHAT IF council fails to override Andreani's veto?

Again, Councilwoman Jakmides:

If the votes are not there to override the veto, I can guarantee there will be litigation. (emphasis added)
 . . .
I would hate to see it come to that, but I am certainly willing to do so in order to establish the difference between right and wrong, and the proper separation of powers.

Jakmides "guarantee" may indicate that a constitutional crisis is looming in Alliance government that might end up be decided the Ohio Supreme Court perhaps even the U.S. Supreme Court.

Want to talk about legal expense to the city of Alliance in that taxpayers would be funding both sides' legal expenses:  Wow!

While Ward 3 councilman Larry Dordea's focus in on his effort to separate the safety/service responsibilities now under the directorship  of Michael Dreger, he does not disagree with Councilwoman Jakmides that Law Director Jennifer Arnold's (she was last elected to the position in 2015 and is up again for election next year having been opposed by Jakmides support Democrat Mark Whitaker) management of the law department is inadequate especially on the matter of hiring of outside counsel on matters that ought to be handled by Arnold and her staff.

In her campaign for re-election to council in November, 2017, Jakmides made, as a focus of her appearance in a University of Mount Union sponsored candidates forum of October 31, 2017, the reining-in of outside legal expenditures by Alliance's administration through 2017 (thought to be about $75,000).

Here is the core of the her differences with Andreani administration and as expressed by Jakmides on her Facebook page:


Councilwoman Jakmides describes Clemans-Nelson thusly:

The “consulting” firm Clemans Nelson which specifically self-identifies as NOT being a law firm has undoubtedly received a lions share of the $75,000, but they do so through creative means. 

Despite having been retained through a one-year contract that expired in 2013 or 2014 for a narrow purpose, they have remained a constant suck on the city’s coffers by providing a vast array of Human Resources-esque work, including a number of tasks I personally find unnecessary, redundant, and/or the job of the Law Director and her office. 

Furthermore, Clemans Nelson has associates who conveniently offer their legal services when the work Clemans Nelson has generated ends up in more formal proceedings. One individual who has billed the City substantially is Attorney Matt Baker, an employee of Clemans Nelson who happens to have a law practice based at the same address.  (emphasis added)

Democrat Brian Simeone (elected councilman at large) is all in with Jakmides on the need for Alliance to shed itself of a relationship with Clemans-Nelson

As is Councilman Larry Dordea.

It will be interesting to see if tonight's council meeting results in success for Dordea in his quest to have council split up the safety/service functions of Dreger's current job.  

Tonight's meeting is a critical one as providing a clue which path that the two co-equal branches of Alliance government is going down.

  • One of working out differences and going forward as a mutual check and balance on one another. or
  • One of discord and disharmony which might possibly lead to the legislative branch taking the executive branch to court to establish its co-equalness.


Item 1 - Andreani letter

Item 2 - Arnold legal opinion

Item 3 - Temporary Budget

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