Exclusive report and video: Beautification committee resigns en-mass at Tuesday council meeting

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“We simply refuse to be identified with a governing majority that resorts to petty, vindictive actions against citizens.”

Loveland, Ohio – Fighting back emotions, Loveland Beautification Committee chair Lynn Oury read from a statement Tuesday night, announcing the mass resignation of seven members because Mayor Mark Fitzgerald did not re-appoint Donna Bednar to another term.

Oury said they are “Deeply disappointed that Council Majority voted to accept a committee roster that excluded the name of Donna Bednar.” The vote excluding Bednar came at the council meeting on January 5. Fitzgerald, Vice-Mayor Pam Gross, Linda Cox, and Angie Settell voted for the list that excluded Bednar. Rob Weisgerber, Ted Phelps, and Kathy Bailey expressed disappointment, and voted, “No.” (Read and watch videos: Committee upset that Donna Bednar was not re-oppointed to Beautification Committee)

Oury’s statement also said, “We simply refuse to be identified with a governing majority that resorts to petty, vindictive actions against citizens with long-standing, stellar records of service to the community. Long-serving volunteers should not be callously cast aside and used as pawns for political gamemanship.”

The statement was signed by, Oury, (16-years service) vice-chair, Becky Giver (16-years service), secretary, Emily Hicks (2-years service), and members, Mike Wise (20-years service), Cindy Jones (9-years service), Peggy Goodwin, (20-years service) and Cynthia Tate (16-years service). Newley named committee member Brittany Byrd is the only person to remain on the committee list, however since she is yet to attend her first meeting or take an oath of office, the viability of the committee is not known.

Both Fitzgerald and councilwoman, Pam Gross spoke to Loveland Magazine after the meeting and expressed their appreciation for the volunteer’s service to the community.

The only explanation previously given was that “new blood” is sometimes needed on committees. On Tuesday Fitzgerald added another justification, when asked if a good compromise would have been to re-instate Bednar. He said that committees can become too large to have a quorum of members who can attend meetings.

Gross said after the meeting that the future of the Beautification Committee is not known, however other city committees may be reorganized and be given beautification responsiblities. She also suggested  a community group might step forward and be given the dollars in the Beautification Committee budget.

As for the people who resigned on Tuesday, Oury said that they will stick together and soon announce some community service projects they have bounced around such as planting flowers for senior citizens, or clean-up efforts around the city.

LBC-Resignation-Letter-With-Signatures

 

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8 COMMENTS

  1. How about if those who resigned from the Beautification Committee en masse form a new committee to investigate Mr. Fitzgerald’s past sketchy behavior?

  2. A list of all city committees, members and purpose can be found on the city of loveland website – lovelandoh.com. All committee meetings are open to the public and minutes are taken for every meeting so the public can find out what was discussed and goals for the future. If you are interested in volunteering or have any questions please contact me – Pam Gross, Loveland Councilmember at pgross@lovelandoh.com

  3. I’m a new resident in Loveland (about a year now) and I enjoy gardening. So last spring I sent an email to the beatification committee asking how I could become a member and offering to volunteer. I received a response that they didn’t need any new volunteers and they haven’t had many projects ‘over the years’ which seemed odd. I would love to get involved in the community and volunteer in cleanup/beautification projects around town! Maybe some new members are needed to get things moving again!

  4. EDITOR’S NOTE: Thank you for the proofreading Jen Russell. The story has now been corrected.

  5. I second Nick’s questions but expand it – there are a LOT of committees, many of which I had never heard of! It would be great if city leadership would publish this info on the city website – what committees are there, what are their roles, recent achievements/accomplishments, current members, max number of members, and how one can apply to serve on a committee if one is so inclined. However, if the city leaders are not inclined to provide this information in a way that is easy for residents to access, maybe Loveland Magazine will do it.

    Typo alerts: # of years service of the Beautification Committee members as listed in the article doesn’t match what was given in the resignation letter. And the vice mayor’s name is still spelled Settell, not Setell or Settel or Settle.

  6. Curious what the is the specific function of this committee and what the long-standing committee members have accomplished. The call for “new blood” could be better understood by knowing what this committee is charged to do and what the committee members have done in their 16 years of service.

    As a relatively new Loveland resident, I respect the beauty of the immediate downtown area, but most of the rest of the city does not look like it has been given much attention for decades.

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