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St. Clairsville recreation appointments lead to confusion

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Questions and confusion about the latest nominations to fill two expiring terms on the city recreation board for the J.B. Martin Recreation Center dominated the Monday teleconference meeting of St. Clairsville City Council.

After more than a half-hour of debate, council voted in favor of current board members Diane Schubert and Alicia Freeman, daughter of Councilwoman Linda Jordan. Their terms had been set to expire April 17. Each will serve another five-year term.

Councilman Perry Basile had nominated Lisa Amos.

Council members were unsure if one or both terms were set to expire this month, and some members suggested putting off the vote until a later meeting until this could be determined. When Jordan did not withdraw her nomination of Freeman, Law Director Elizabeth Glick consulted prior council minutes and found Schubert had filled an ongoing term rather than a complete one, and so both of the council’s nominations were open.

At the request of Council President Jim Velas, members emailed their votes. Freeman received four, Schubert six and Amos three. The administrator, who received and tallied the votes, did not provide a breakdown of which council member voted for which applicant until Glick could be consulted.

Council members Jordan, Frank Sabatino and Mark Bukmir had spoken in favor of continuing the current board members.

During the prior council meeting, member Mayor Kathryn Thalman reappointed Jennifer Johnson and Cinda Weisgerber for four-year terms and named Erica Basile, wife of Councilman Perry Basile, as a new appointment.

“She brings a lot of energy, enthusiasm and creativity,” Thalman said.

However, Thalman may have overstepped her authority in that matter.

Council approved the nominations, but Perry Basile, Linda Jordan and Frank Sabatino abstained.

Thalman also had reappointed Ed Bober in August.

During that meeting, Jordan raised questions about the need to change a board member.

“Why are we changing what’s working well?” she asked. “Both Alicia and Diane are very good, very faithful, they’re very devoted. … I’m saying keep the two on.”

Jordan reiterated this during Monday’s meeting.

“She is Rotary board, she’s Underground Railroad Museum board, she is currently the marketing director for Belmont Savings Bank. She’s just very involved and very, very helpful with the rec center,” Jordan said.

Jordan also said Shubert had raised about $1,000 in donations for the recreation center.

“No board member has ever done that, Jordan said. “She did it single-handedly in a short amount of time.”

“It sounds to me like those are the kind of people we want involved,” Councilman Mark Bukmir said.

In answer to a question from Councilwoman Beth Oprisch, Glick said Jordan was able to nominate Freeman but should abstain from voting for her.

The current board is composed of Bober, Freeman, Weisgerber, Johnson, Schubert, Perry Jones and Lauren Florence, along with Safety and Service Director Jeremy Greenwood.

The mayor nominates four people, council nominates two and the St. Clairsville-Richland City Board of Education nominates one, Florence.

However, during Monday’s meeting, Velas said there had been an oversight and Thalman had appointed an additional person to the board and this will be adjusted in the next meeting.

“As far as the mayor’s appointment, she technically has one too many. One of them has to go, but at this point in time, we do not know who that’s going to be,” Velas said. “It was an oversight, not realizing previously a year ago she nominated Eb Bober, who was the president. She made three additional nominations when she only has two.”

Afterward, Jordan said she believes Greenwood to be the fifth nomination and Thalman should not have nominated Erica Basile to Jones’ expiring term. It is unclear who is responsible for nominating someone to Jones’ seat.

In other matters, Ryan Denham, operator at the water department, was named Employee of the Month of April. He has worked for the water department for more than five years and has earned a Level 3 water certification license and is seeking a Level 1 wastewater certification license.

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