A re-organizational meeting of the City Council was held on Tuesday, April 16.
New council members were sworn in, and the council voted for a president, approved mayoral nominations, and appointed an official newspaper.
Mike Hankins was voted in as council president, and all of Mayor Judy Magee’s nominations to committees, commissions, and boards were approved. De facto City Attorney Tim Schmid will continue to serve the city this year.
Mary Beth Kuester spoke during the citizen’s forum, urging the council to name the Clintonville Chronicle as the city’s official newspaper.
“When I saw the circulation figures for the two papers being considered and seeing that the Chronicle’s most recent issue sold 1,171 copies and the Post 470, it seemed certain that a good business decision was to go with the paper that reached the most citizens,” said Kuester. “An attorney friend of mine said when she places a legal notice she wants it to go reach the widest audience. City legal notices should do the same.”
Kuester also suggested that the council delay their decision to appoint an official newspaper until City Administrator Lisa Kuss and Clintonville Chronicle owner Tricia Rose can meet and further open their communication channels.
Kuester also commented on ArtyFest, noting that one of the headlining bands is named “Johnny Wadd”. Kuester said this name is used by porn star John Holmes. “(The band’s) name is an inside joke, which will be recognized by many,” said Kuester. “I will not be proud to be part of a city event hosting a band named after a notorious porn star.”
Tricia Rose also spoke to the council.
“I own Rose Publications. I am the sole owner,” she began, as she spoke to the viability of the Chronicle’s ownership and circulation numbers, which she said are audited by the postal service. “There have been some concerns about our circulation numbers. The United States Postal Service is nothing if not thorough.
“I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve had a turbulent relationship with Lisa,” continued Rose. “However, our communication has improved greatly. We may not be best friends, but we can be professionals. I’d like to continue to improve.”
In emails sent to the city clerk/treasurer, Rose said the Clintonville Chronicle has 885 weekly subscribers in the 54929 zip code, along with news stand sales of 306 per week for a total of 1,191. The County Post East reported 326 mail subscribers per week in the 54929 zip code, along with 144 weekly news stand sales, for a total of 470.
Dave Wood, acting general manager of the County Post East, also spoke to the council.
“Thank you for using the County Post East for your legals in previous years,” said Wood. “Your legals must be done right. The paper must be objective. There are different conflicts in papers and how they report your news. We’ve done a nice job with the legals and your news, and we hope to continue that in the future. Thank you for your past business, and we hope to continue to work with you.”
Alderperson Mark Doornink made a motion to select the County Post East as the city’s official newspaper. The motion was seconded by Al Miller.
“I don’t understand why we would do this,” said Alderperson Jeannie Schley as the council discussed the motion.
“Obviously, I’m abstaining from this vote,” said Alderperson Greg Rose, husband of Tricia Rose. “But I think the citizens see my wife’s paper as the city’s newspaper. Eventually, I hope this council will wake up to that.
“The lack of communication, or perceived lack of communication, was the answer that was given last year as well,” continued Rose, referring to the council’s decision to name the County Post East it’s official newspaper last April. “That’s highly subjective; it could come up again and again. Voting for the Clintonville Chronicle would be a way to force the communication. What a better way to do it?”
Jerry Jorgenson also spoke regarding the communication issue.
“I agree that there needs to be better communication between the Clintonville Chronicle staff and city staff,” said Alderperson Jerry Jorgenson. “Some things have been said outside the paper in different media circles; being called ‘stupid’ isn’t very nice. We need to grow up as adults and see what is best for the city.”
Alderperson Jolene Van Beek also shared her feelings.
“The citizens expect accurate and objective reporting,” she said. “The decision should be based on that.”
The council then voted on the motion, passing it by a 6-1-1 margin. Schley voted no, and Rose abstained. Alderpersons Bill Zeinert and Gloria Dunlavy were not present.
The next regularly scheduled city council meeting will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 14, at City Hall.