At their meeting on October 9, 2012, the Kettering City Council, by a vote of 5 to 2, approved a resolution recommending that Kettering citizens in this election reject two proposed changes to the city charter (Issues 28/29). The two members of the Council who identify with the Dayton Tea Party – Rob Scott and Ashley Webb — disagreed with the other five members of the counsel, and refused to support the resolution.
A Tea Party associated group, “Citizens For A Better Kettering,” are sponsors of the two proposed changes to the city charter. Issue 28, if approved, would limit the council members and the mayor to two consecutive terms of four years each. Issue 29 would reduce the pay of the mayor and council members by 50%.
Ashley Webb in his comments to the council, protested that, in his view, it is not appropriate for council to take a public stand on matters that directly impact council members. He explained that he is not in total agreement with the issues. He said that concerning these issues, he previously had remained neutral, but that now, he was forced to take a stand.
Webb said that “It is tough to beat an incumbent,” and suggested that, in some cases, council members use their salaries as a “war chest” to finance their re-election campaigns. He indicated that in a recent council contest, one candidate spent $11,500 — implying that this money had come from the salary this council member had saved from his or her salary. I have no idea who he was referring to.
Webb indicated improvements he would like to see in the proposed charter changes (Issue 28 and 29). Webb is now a candidate seeking election to the Montgomery County Commission and, no doubt, he is wondering how his stand on these two issues might impact his efforts to elected as County Commissioner. I wondered if Webb might abandon Scott and join the majority and approve the resolution. But, when the vote was taken, he and Scott both voted “No.” Scott, the founder of the Dayton Tea Party, and now the Chair of the Montgomery County Republican Party, made no comment.
Bruce Duke spoke for the majority and explained that in the late 1970’s, the City Charter was changed and term limits were imposed on the mayor, but, then, twenty years later, this change in the charter was reversed. He said term limits in Kettering have already been tried and that they didn’t work. He complained that the proposed charter revision (Issue 28), in his view, is poorly written and that, if approved, would likely result in individuals acquiring the office of mayor without sufficient experience. He named five previous Kettering mayors who, had the proposed changes been in effect, would have been disqualified from serving.
Concerning Issue 29, Duke said that, if approved, the salary for the Kettering mayor and Kettering counsel members, on a per capita basis, would move from the mid-range of salaries for city officials in the region to near the bottom.
Wow — In taping this, the distance separating me from the council members magnified the shakiness of my hand held camera. Next time, I’ll bring my tripod.