While many surrounding communities held parades and ceremonies, those who hoped to pay Memorial Day tribute in Willoughby Hills faced disappointment. For years, Willoughby Hills has gathered as a community to honor those men and women who died for our freedom—but not this year. Some showed up as they always do only to discover the event was canceled. One such person said, “Went to Willoughby Hills for their ceremony this morning. They failed to show up. Sad. All those who died being failed by a fearful town hall.” Another expressed similar frustration, “canceling a ceremony to honor our fallen veterans…. Absolutely heartbreaking and beyond disgusting. Hopefully the residents speak up about that fail!” It is unclear why the event was canceled. Recently, the city has returned to holding in person meetings and promoted a flag donation program, youth sports, and a community garage sale day.
Last night, Councilman Michael Kline motioned to appoint Julie Belich to serve on Willoughby Hills City Council. Julie Belich is best known in Willoughby Hills as the owner of JAB supply, which dumped mountains of sewer tunnel dirt on environmentally protected residential property on Chardon Road. Julie Belich’s father gave $6,050 to the campaigns of Andy Gardner, Chris Hallum, Michael Kline, Joe Jarmuszkiewicz and their political action committee in 2019. Just when we thought it could not get worse, they reward the dumpers with a seat on Council?
Julie Belich’s husband Mark claimed that he and Julie were planning to build their dream home on the Chardon Road property where they kept a commercial truck scale and dumped tons of sewer tunnel spoils. He claimed the dumping was for a driveway upgrade and the Willoughby Hills Planning Commission and Architectural Board of Review including Michael Kline and former Mayor Robert Weger approved it.
Julie Belich’s company, JAB Supply also runs the dump known as Mount Wickliffe on Euclid Avenue. Residents in Wickliffe have been complaining about the eyesore, dust, and mud for years.
It is difficult to imagine someone who seems less caring about the needs of the public. It seems only fitting that this group would appoint her to council
Does the Willoughby-Eastlake School Board Vice President Brian Jones live outside of the district? Jones claims to live in his parents’ home in Willoughby Hills, but got married and bought a home with his wife in Kirtland. Jones’ wife is registered to vote in Kirtland, listing the homes address as her official address. Jones claims they live with his parents and rent out the Kirtland home, but if his wife does not live there why is she registered to vote there?
Previously, Jones attempted to illegally serve on both the Willoughby Hills Planning Commission and Architectural Board of Review while also serving on the Board of Education and unsuccessfully tried to get appointed to Willoughby Hills City Council in 2017.
At the May 10 board meeting, the board indicated that its attorney reviewed a utility bill provided by Jones and concluded it was sufficient to show he lived with his parents in Willoughby Hills despite his wife registering to vote at the Kirtland address.
Jones’ term is up at the end of 2021 and the board has two school levies on the ballot for the November 2021 election.
Happy Mother’s Day to moms, grandmoms, foster moms, adoptive moms, pet moms, and every mom!
A committee headed up by Councilman Joe Jarmuszkiewicz recommended spending $13,500 of taxpayer funds to replace the HVAC system at the Maplegrove Grange, a building owned by the taxpayers but used exclusively by Civil Service Commission chair Tom Majeski and his friends. The funds were received by the City from its energy provider NOPEC to make City buildings more energy efficient. Jarmuszkiewicz’s committee chose to allocate the $13,500 to the Grange, which is not accessible by the public, rather than the City’s community center which houses the poplar Willoughby-Eastlake public library branch.
Tom Majeski is the husband of Gloria Majeski, who is the controversial high-paid secretary to Mayor Andy Gardner. Tom Majeski has had exclusive control over the Grange for over ten years, and famously claimed the poker chips found in the Grange were used by Girl Scouts to count their merit badges. Tom Majeski also allowed his friend and former Council candidate Rick Thompson to run his doomsday prepper business out of the publicly-funded building.
Council will consider the expenditure of taxpayer funds on the Grange HVAC system at its next meeting on Thursday, May 13. Information about how to attend this meeting is available here: http://www.willoughbyhills-oh.gov/government/city_council/index.php
What’s going on on Willoughby Hills City Council that they have lost their 4th Council Person in less than 2 years? The latest resignation is Dan Zagarac who lasted about 1 year after being chosen by Chris Hallum, Tanya Draper, Joe Jarmieskevisz and Michael Kline despite not owning a home (or paying property taxes) and never voting in a municipal election. Maybe our Council should be more careful and choose someone more invested in our community and knowledgeable about our government rather than a politician from another city (zagarac was a failed politician in Avon Lake before coming to Willoughby Hills). It would also be nice to have a council person who informs the community about important issues.
If you would like to be considered for appointment, you have until 4:00 today (May 7) to submit your application. Here’s the ad for more information.
LEGAL NOTICE – OPEN COUNCIL POSITION
The Council of the City of Willoughby Hills is accepting resumes for the positon of Council-at- Large, I. Section 3.24 of the City Charter provides that any appointee must meet the qualifications as set forth in Article III – The Council, Section 3.14 of the Charter which may be accessed through the City website http://www.willoughbyhills-oh.gov. Please submit a resume along with a statement as to “Why you want to be considered for the position of Council-at-Large, I” to email@example.com or delivered to City Hall, 35405 Chardon Road, Willoughby Hills, OH 44094 by 4:00 p.m. Friday, May 7, 2021.
Dan Zagarac, former Avon Lake and Willoughby Hills politician.
While Willoughby Hills residents received a taxpayer funded mailer promoting yet another property tax hike, City Council is set to consider administrative employees’ demands for cash bonuses, big guaranteed raises, and more. The top-earning secretarial employee making these demands, Mayor Andy Gardner’s Administrative Assistant, Gloria Majeski, already costs the taxpayers well over $100,000 a year and has been the subject of much controversy over the years. Another employee demanding a big raise is the Finance Assistant, Sharen Michney, who admittedly threatened and physically assaulted another City employee in 2017.
These public employee demands come at a time when many residents’ incomes have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and just as they are beginning to pay for one of the largest property tax hikes in City history, the school levy that narrowly passed in the district, but was not favored by a majority of voters in Willoughby Hills.
You can read all the employee demands here.
This was originally posted on Lobbyists for Citizens.
Willoughby Hills…more public records for you to read
We received the following union contract from the City of Willoughby Hills covering their employees, including the Executive Assistant position. It is a rather lengthy document at 34 pages. AFSCME Council 8 Labor Agreement – 2017-2019
It is interesting that this agreement expires December 31, 2019. Does that mean that they now longer have an agreement? Still negotiating a new contract? As they say south of the border: “No way, Jose”.
Please remember that when asking for public records you must be very specific because the government officials are not really interested in helping you understand what is happening. You have to keep digging for the information that they do not want to see the light of day. They want to treat you like mushrooms – keep you in the dark, and keep feeding you manure. We will be asking for their current contract.
Excerpts from the agreement:
- Vacations: Maximum of 6 weeks per year after 13 years of employment
- Holidays: 13 per year
- Sick leave: 4.6 hours time off for every 80 hours of straight time compensation. Unused sick time will accumulate to a maximum of 1,200 hours [150 eight hour days]. A maximum of 4 sick days per year can be used as a personal day off. Sick days can be donated to other employees. Upon retirement, any unused sick days will be paid as a lump sum payment.
- Leave of absence: Unlimited non-compensated leave of absence is permitted.
- Funeral leave: 3 days with pay
- Jury Duty: Compensated the difference between jury pay and regular compensation
- Military leave: Fully compensated
- Union leave: Unlimited leave, uncompensated, but can use any accrued benefit time for any time off
- Longevity Compensation: After 23 years of service the employee will receive $2,550 each year. Any employee that has been receiving more than that amount will be grandfathered in at the higher amount.
- Wages for Executive Assistant: (Maximum end of scale) – 2017 ($66,658) / 2018 ($68,658) / 2019 ($70,718)
- Pension pickup: 1% of employee compensation
- Health coverage: City pays 88% of medical coverage and a $25,000 term life insurance policy
- Uniform allowance: $100.00 per year
- Educational stipend: $2,000 per year
- Tenured employee status: Additional $1,000.00 per year
- Merit pay: At the discretion of the Mayor an additional day off may be awarded.
This list does not include the Ohio Public Employee Retirement System (OPERS) benefit. It is 14% of annual compensation for pension benefits. For example, if the 2019 wages were $70,718 x .14 = $9,900 in pension benefits each year would be paid.
Here is a website proving the % paid by the employer: https://www.opers.org/employers/tables/index.shtml#employer-contributions
We will let the Willoughby Hills citizens determine the appropriateness of these benefits. They may want to compare these benefits provided to their City employees to the benefits that they are receiving from their current employer.
Thanks to Lobbyists for Citizens for the great coverage on Willoughby Hills matters!
This was originally posted on Lobbyists for Citizens.
Holmes and Watson…take on Willoughby Hills
(LFC Comments: Well, it has been a while since we have heard from our intrepid truth seekers – Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. We wonder what they have on their twisted minds?..Let’s listen in on their conversation as they discuss the current events in the bucolic community known as Willoughby Hills.)
The Case of “The Taming of the Shrew”
“Holmes….Holmes…wake up….the game is afoot…LFC is at it again!”
“Huh?…What?…What are you blabbering about …Watson?”
“They have filed a record request with Willoughby Hills. Here it is:
“Oh, for crying out loud Watson, they do that all the time. That’s how they corroborate allegations made by citizens. Would you want them to be involved in a “wrap up smear” like Pelosi? You know, get the fake news main stream media to publish a false story and then use that story as your source to take action….that would be really despicable.”
“Well, of course not, Holmes. It just seems…well…when I saw that the records request dealt with Willoughby Hills….I thought to myself….here we go again in Willoughby Hills…and then I saw the Facebook post.”
“Refresh my memory Watson-what happened in Willoughby Hills? I have a vague recollection of it.”
“Holmes…let me ‘whisper’ this in your ear so no one can overhear us.”
“Nonsense Watson, Mrs. Hudson, the housekeeper, has the day off and my cat is deaf. Speak up, Man!”
“Ok, so be it…do you remember the newspaper article back in October, 2018?”
“You mean the one where the Lake County Prosecutor recommended an investigation of the Willoughby Hills Mayor for their senior program? If I remember correctly, the State of Ohio Attorney General dropped the investigation because the cases were “too old” and “not enough money” was involved.”
“Yes…right you are old man…that one seemed to have a lot of fuzz on it. Ah well…c’est la vie…that’s life.
The current records request is dealing with the City finances. Seems as though multiple citizens, after seeing questionable decisions by the City officials, have reached out to LFC for help reviewing the City’s finances, and you know that is in their ‘wheelhouse’.”
“Oh , most assuredly, with their staff of accountants, they can make ‘the numbers talk’. You first mentioned about a Facebook page….what is that all about?”
“I was scanning Facebook, and I uncovered this post by Gloria Majeski, the Executive Assistant to the Mayor in Willoughby Hills:”
“Hmmmm….interesting, very interesting….’Methinks, the Lady doth protest too much’…If she thinks LFC will back down on a perfectly legal records request, she may want to ask the Lake County Commissioners what they know about LFC, and their knowledge of the law dealing with public records and the Open Meeting Act.”
“Well, Holmes, now that you mention it….sounds like ‘GAME ON‘ to me…”
The was originally posted on Lobbyists for Citizens.
Willoughby Hills…records requests
As Lake County residents become aware of LFC’s mission to hold elected officials and the unelected bureaucrats accountable to the voters in the communities, we are becoming inundated with requests for help.
In keeping with LFC’s policy of total transparency, we are providing our readers with the documentation, sent and received, from Willoughby Hill’s officials as we exercise our rights provided in Ohio’s Sunshine laws. As our logo suggests, we will continue to shine the light on the truth in the public arena.
On May 28, 2020, we sent a records request to Willoughby Hills Mayor, Mr. Andy Gardner. Here is the previous article we wrote about it:
Here are the responses received from Frank J. Brichacek, Jr, Director of Finance:
Here is a copy of Mrs. Gloria Majeski’s resume: GM Resume
LFC recently followed up with Willoughby Hills by sending this email to Mr. Brichacek via Mayor Andy Gardner:
Frank J. Brichacek, Jr.
Director of Finance
City of Willoughby Hills
35405 Chardon Road
Willoughby Hills, OH 44094
Re: Records Request
Dear Mr. Brichacek:
This is a follow-up to your response dated June 11, 2020 to our records request dated May 28, 2020. Technically, you did not provide the public records, but created a new document. Since there are problems with the figures supplied to date, we are going to need documentation for any figures that you supply in the new document that you create.
We have some questions on the information that you supplied concerning the “Executive Assistant to Mayor Information”.
- The 2020 reported salary of $70,717.71 does not appear correct. The 1% pension pickup amount stated was $721.00. Therefore, it seems that the annual salary should be $72,100.00. [$721.00 / .01] Please provide documentation for the annual salary.
- We do not see any amount for the employer portion of the PERS. Is the City providing 14% of the annual salary amount as a contribution to the retirement account for the Executive Assistant? If PERS is being paid, then it appears that $10,094.00 is the annual PERS contribution by the City. [$72,100.00 x .14]
- The citizens of Willoughby Hills want to know the total cost to the City for the Executive Assistant position including the mandatory State of Ohio and federal government payroll payments. We want to know any and all payments on behalf of the Executive Assistant to include Medicare taxes, state and federal unemployment payments, workers’ compensation, in-kind payments, reimbursements, perks, awards, or payments to third parties on the Executive Assistant’s behalf.
- The citizens of Willoughby Hills would also like to compare the total compensation for the years 2018, 2019 and the budgeted amounts for 2020. We have enclosed a spreadsheet that gives you the information that the citizens need.
- Unfortunately, we could not find the union contract that you said was attached to your email. Please resend it to us.
- We will research the City’s website for the financial information requested.
- We are enclosing a second records request concerning other matters of interest to the citizens of Willoughby Hills.
Lobbyists for Citizens
Here is the spreadsheet that we sent with the email:
WILLOUGHBY HILLS COMPENSATION SCHEDULE
Here is the new records request sent with the email to Mr. Brichacek.
We will continue to update our readers as we move forward with these records requests.