A public records civil suit against the city of Marietta will be dismissed by the Washington County Court of Common Pleas, according to city law director Paul Bertram III who announced the dismissal during Thursday's Marietta City Council meeting.
"The city has defended its case sufficiently-the plaintiffs have not proved their case," Bertram said following the council session.
He said the civil action, brought by relator Dorothy Verhovec of Uhrichsville, has effectively been dismissed and will not go to trial on July 23 and 24 as originally scheduled.
The civil case is related to a public records request made by Verhovec seeking 20 years of city council records from Jan. 1, 1990, to Aug. 21, 2010.
Verhovec sought a variety of records, including minutes from all council meetings, handwritten draft minutes from the council clerk, and audio and video recordings for each council meeting.
The city's motion for a summary judgment in the forfeiture case was granted by Washington County Common Pleas Judge Susan Boyer.
If you go:
- Marietta City Council's employee relations committee; planning, zoning, annexation and housing committee; streets committee; and lands, buildings and parks committee will meet beginning at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday in the second floor conference room at 304 Putnam St.
- All committee meetings, except executive sessions, are open to the public.
- More information about the city is available online at www.mariettaoh.net
Bertram said if Verhovec chooses to do so, she has 30 days to file an appeal with the Fourth District Court of Appeals after a final entry is made on the case by Boyer.
A related mandamus suit has been filed by James Verhovec, Dorothy's nephew, of Uhrichsville over a public records request for approximately 3,300 cable TV survey cards returned to the city by customers in 1999.
James Verhovec is seeking $1,000 for each document not produced (the maximum allowed by state law), which translates to an approximate total of $3.3 million.
The city of Marietta has already spent more than $250,000 on the suit.
Similar suits were filed at the same time against the City of Uhrichsville and the Village of Dennison.
Bertram said Thursday now that the civil suit has effectively been dismissed, a decision on the mandamus action would likely be coming by the end of this month.
In other business during Thursday's council meeting, Mayor Joe Matthews announced he is resurrecting the Marietta Development Advisory Board, a seven-member body that was originally appointed during his first administration prior to 2004.
The volunteer board assists the city with future planning issues.
"In this tough economy and faced with tight budgets, the city needs to improve its long-range planning," Matthews said.
The newly-appointed board members include Alan Norris, 1st Ward; Karen Weaver, 2nd Ward; Joe Bucy, 3rd Ward; Bill McElfresh, 4th Ward (chairman); and at-large members Nan Cervantes, Melissa Schafer, and Mallory Graham.
Matthews said the board's first meeting will be held within the next two weeks.