STOW — An 18-member committee will be formed to work on plans for a playground and other features near the city center site.
Council on Thursday voted 6-0 to override Mayor John Pribonic’s recent veto of the committee that Council approved on Sept. 12. Councilman Brian D’Antonio was not at the meeting.
This proposal adopted by Council calls for the council president to appoint three council members and three separate applicants, and for the mayor to appoint three members from the administration and/or parks and recreation board.
The remaining four to nine committee members that would be appointed by the mayor and confirmed by council would be residents who are not employed by the city and "have some experience/background in parks, splash pads, playgrounds and civic development projects or reside in a neighborhood adjacent to the city center project," the legislation stated. The committee is required to have a minimum of nine members and no more than 18.
Pribonic had vetoed the legislation council had passed Sept. 12 because he said a nine-member committee has already been meeting for a few months. They had "spent countless hours" working on a play trail/playground and splash pad plan, the mayor said. The committee members, who generally come from the city’s boards and commissions, volunteered to serve on the advisory body.
Pribonic instead requested that Council approve a 28-member committee that would’ve included the nine current committee members, nine more new members appointed by the mayor and confirmed by Council, three members of Council, three members that would be appointed by Council, three members of the administration and the mayor himself. Council did not consider the 28-member proposal and voted to override the mayor’s veto
Two current members of the nine-member playground committee — Denise Tonelli and Kari Suhadolnik — voiced objections to Council’s 18-member committee legislation. The legislation includes a provision that the committee should not have more than two members from the same city board or commission. There are currently five members of the arts commission on the administration’s committee. Under Council’s approved legislation, three of those arts commission members would not be allowed on the committee anymore.
"There is simply no reason to force three of us out," said Suhadolnik. "I ... ask you to reconsider the legislation that serves to do nothing more than delay the city center project. Let’s just start working together."
Council Member Mike Rasor said if Council let the veto stand, the committee would have 15 members — due to the legislation approved in July. The 18-member version was an amendment to that 15-member version after Council learned that a nine-member committee was already in place.
Afterward, Pribonic said he would closely review the nine members who are on the committee and the nine additional ones he wants to appoint and make a decision on who would serve.
Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, email@example.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.