By John Mitchel
The Ohio Revised Code (ORC) allows elected officials to use our tax dollars to promote big government and more spending, but it is not a blank check. Lying is definitely prohibited and common decency dictates that half-truths, innuendo and emotionally charged language are out of bounds, especially if the opposition’s rebuttal is censored, which it was in the recent campaign by Beavercreek City Council to pass a city income tax. Public records released by Bill Kucera, Director of Financial Administrative Services for the City of Beavercreek, reveal that City Council members, including Brian Jarvis and Debborah Wallace, authorized the expenditure of at least $10,828 in taxpayer funds to publish and mail three pieces of literature that in my opinion took Council’s pro-income tax campaign over-the-top and in violation of the law. What is a citizen to do if he or she believes elected officials have broken the law?
Well, one thing we can do is file a complaint under the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) with the Ohio Elections Commission, which I did. The OAC has its own set of rules and procedures similar to the Ohio Revised Code, and in fact the two intersect if a citizen chooses to appeal a ruling by an unelected state board such as the Board of Elections, which I tried to do. My appeal was based primarily on the allegation that Steve McHugh, Beavercreek City Attorney, violated Rule 1.7 of the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct that prohibits attorneys from participating in a legal proceeding in the event they have a conflict of interest. To make a long story short, I filed a motion to object to Mr. McHugh’s acting as Council’s defense attorney as he contributed to the same pro income tax Political Action Committee (PAC) as most Council members, all of whom were named as defendants in my complaint. Although Phil Richter, Director of the Ohio Elections Commission never ruled on my objection until after he dismissed my complaint, it obviously caught someone’s attention as shortly after I filed my objection City Council hired a Columbus law firm (Bricker & Eckler) to defend themselves against my complaint at a cost of $5142 to Beavercreek taxpayers.
So what does this have to do with Brian Jarvis and Debborah Wallace? As you may know, Mr. Jarvis and Ms. Wallace are running for re-election to City Council, and as most candidates do, promise to spend taxpayer dollars in a responsible manner. In their case, they have proven that nothing could be further from reality. First, with our tax dollars, they promote an income tax without accountability for how the increased revenue would be spent.
Second, when a citizen pushes back, they retreat behind a firewall that allows a high-powered, private law firm to defend them at taxpayer expense. This is a condition characterized as “moral hazard,” or when a bad actor has zero accountability for his or her actions.
Ms. Wallace and Mr. Jarvis will be re-elected to Beavercreek City Council as there are only three candidates for three seats, but don’t let them fool you with their hollow rhetoric, and furthermore, understand it’s important we keep a close eye on them after they begin their next term. By the way, Chad Whilding will be the third candidate who will be elected in the November 5th election, and strong support for Chad would send a powerful message to Jarvis, Wallace and the rest of City Council that the citizens of Beavercreek finally have a voice on Council, a situation that has been sorely lacking for quite some time now.