PETITION TO RECALL MARK FITZGERALD BACK TO THE BALLOT THIS NOVEMBER 7TH, 2017.
Questions and Answers:
Q: Why are Loveland residents recalling Mark Fitzgerald?
A: Mark Fitzgerald misrepresented himself to the Loveland electorate.
He campaigned and ran for council in 2015 using a resume that did not list his prior employment with North College Hill. He failed to disclose to the electorate the two whistle blower allegations for fraud in an open civil suit by employees of that city. This suit has since been settled; however, video clips show the judge in the case stating that there was enough evidence for a criminal case (see first video linked here). Residents waited in hopes of a legal outcome that never came because the city tired of fighting the case. (See the three news clips posted by reporter Jody Barr, December 18, 2014 to YouTube web sources cited here):
- Video Evidence 1) Barr, Jody. “North College Hill Fraud Investigation Part 2,” Fox 19. December 18, 2014. YouTube video.
- Video Evidence 2) Barr, Jody. “North College Hill Fraud Investigation,” Fox 19. December 16, 2014. YouTube video.
- Sure, North College Hill settled, but only after the case was drug out in court for years. Imagine if this happened in Loveland. See the article by Cameron Knight. “After years in court, settlement could be ‘new start’ for North College Hill,” Cincinnati Enquirer. February 13, 2017. Web.
Q: The civil suit is in the past. What current reasoning do we have to recall Mark Fitzgerald?
A: Ohio Audits of North College Hill Finances are Alarming.
The Ohio state audits of NCH finances during Mark Fitzgerald’s tenure suggest that Loveland is in grave danger. See “Loveland, One Town Away from a Fitzgerald Trainwreck.” If past job performance is an indicator of our future, we must stand up now.
A: Mark Fitzgerald fails to ensure open meetings.
Mark Fitzgerald schedules special, joint sessions between City Council and the Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) at hours that the minority members have publicly objected to as a perceived attempt to purposefully exclude them. Mark Fitzgerald fails to insist that the CIC meetings are held after work hours when all of council and more residents could attend. This lack of transparency warrants a recall by residents.
Miller, David. “Weisgerber and Bailey Accuse Mayor of Calling for a Special Meeting at a Time They Cannot Attend.” Loveland Magazine. March 17, 2017. Web.
Q: Aside from closed-meeting practices, what other reasons do we have to recall Mark Fitzgerald?
A: Mark Fitzgerald stacks the Community Improvement Corporation to do his bidding.
Mark Fitzgerald manipulates CIC operations by selecting and confirming CIC board members with his majority on city council (Settell, Gross, Zamagias) and by strong arming the city manager, Dave Kennedy. As mayor and via the CIC, Fitzgerald pushes public-private partnerships, putting residents on the hook for millions of dollars over decades without resident sanction, without taking bids, and without allowing the public any prior oversight to ensure our interests are met. (Refer to: Loveland Station Apartments, and the current push to demolish Loveland City Hall while refusing to slow down and engage concerned residents.) This willful disregard for resident concerns warrants a recall by residents.
A: Mark Fitzgerald decreased resident oversight of the CIC by shrinking it’s size.
During Mark Fitzgerald’s time as mayor, he has overseen the restructuring of the CIC from an 11-member board to a 5-member board, further ensuring no objections to his development agenda. (A 5-member board is the minimum allowable by law.) This ensured residents have little opportunity for oversight of these operations: The CIC board takes no video of meetings and conducts them in a tiny room when most residents cannot attend. This failure to ensure resident engagement warrants a recall by residents.
Residents now have our eyes on the CIC, and we are especially concerned about the push to demolish city hall and erect a multi-story, multi-use, public-private partnership (up to 4 stories high) in the historic district. Ask yourself, shouldn’t this process involve significant resident engagement rather than the one public hearing required by law?
Even some council members are concerned about Fitzgerald’s influence on the CIC, as is evidenced in these minutes from the meeting that determined the restructuring to a 5-member board:
“Mr. Phelps also felt that the regulations vested too much power in any mayor. The CIC has the power to borrow money, provide loans, buy, lease, sell, or own personal property, charge fees to political subdivisions, enter into contracts, apply to administer grants. He reiterated that he thought the CIC should be a seven member board with one representative from the chamber and one from the school district.” (See minutes here: http://loveland.siretechnologies.com/sirepub/cache/2/m2nigkxasd30jget3hvcriuu/3739405052017100453328.PDF)
Even more disconcerting, Mark Fitzgerald has appointed a dominant council person, Pam Gross, to sit on multiple boards with high-influence on the outcome of development projects. In her appointed positions on the CIC, the Planning and Zoning Commission, and the Finance Committee, Gross manipulates outcomes in favor of an aggressive development policy here in Loveland. More, due to a lack of resident oversight on these committees and activities, a resident has filed a Sunshine Lawsuit to look into possible legal violations. This disregard for the law to ensure open meetings warrants a recall by residents.
Q: Still, why should you worry about Mark Fitzgerald? Why should residents care?
A: Mark Fitzgerald, as mayor of Loveland, controls a City Council that has failed to engage with residents for development planning in eight years.
According to council member Rob Weisgerber, the city has failed to engage residents in productive development planning in nearly a decade. This lack of resident engagement means Fitzgerald’s economic development agenda was written by and for developers without resident oversight or sanction. Loveland Station Apartments? No Resident Sanction. 370 new residential units every year? No resident sanction. No wonder residents are so upset about the city of Loveland. This blatant disregard for resident and taxpayer concerns warrants a recall by residents.
Take a look at the development plan for the city. It was written by developers who referenced goal planning with residents from back in the 90s. And this 2011 report is the last available to residents on the city web site. Resurgence Development Group asks, “Is Loveland committed to reinventing itself as a mini‐metropolis with a sustainable and self‐reliant economy?” Shouldn’t Mark Fitzgerald ask this question of the residents during the annual goal-planning sessions with city council? The fact is, Mark Fitzgerald is driving Loveland forward using a pro-developer plan from 2011 without resident oversight or sanction. (See “Resurgence Group Economic Redevelopment Report,” linked from the Department of Economic Development on the City of Loveland website.)
Finally, Mark Fitzgerald’s economic development agenda, pushed aggressively without resident sanction, represents no one’s interests but his own. He facilitates development contracts without bids, through meetings that lack participation by all council members. He fails to provide transparency to residents by minimizing the opportunity for engagement. Finally, he ensures his success by stacking the deck with people he has hand-selected to push his agenda.
And you, the resident tax payer, are on the hook for all of it.
FOR THESE REASONS, RESIDENTS ARE HOLDING MARK FITZGERALD, MAYOR OF LOVELAND, OHIO, ACCOUNTABLE TO THE ELECTORATE BY RECALL ELECTION. WE ARE PUTTING HIM BACK ON THE BALLOT TWO YEARS EARLY. HE WILL BE CHALLENGED FOR HIS SEAT ON CITY COUNCIL BY CANDIDATE NEAL R. OURY.
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