September 19, 2014

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Trustees decline to reprimand fellow member

SHEFFIELD TWP. — Voters, rather than Trustee David Newsome’s fellow trustees, will decide whether he deserves to be reprimanded for his disorderly conduct conviction on Thursday.

Newsome

“It is not this board’s responsibility to address or reprimand personal actions made by any of its members,” Trustee Chad Parsons told residents at Monday’s Board of Trustees meeting. “We understand elected officials are held to a higher standard, and we strive to meet our public’s expectations not only in our actions as a board, but also in our daily and personal actions.”

Newsome is running for re-election to his four-year post unopposed in the Nov. 8 election.

Parsons said after the meeting that he didn’t see a contradiction in believing elected officials should be held to a higher standard and not believing Newsome should be reprimanded for berating Lorain County Sheriff’s Office deputies who responded to an Oct. 9 loud music complaint at his home. Newsome pleaded no contest, which is considered a conviction by the courts.

Parsons said no trustee has been reprimanded since he began as a trustee in 2006 and voters have the power to reprimand Newsome by not re-electing him.

“We are human,” Parsons said. “We do make mistakes.”

Trustee Tim Mihalcik noted that trustees have no supervisory power over one another.

“I’m sure he’s sorry,” said Mihalcik, a trustee since 2002. “I don’t think he did anything terribly bad.”

Deputies said Newsome appeared drunk and promised to turn up the music in his home after reminding them that the township has no noise ordinance. They said he reminded them he helped approve a six-month pilot program for increased township coverage by deputies. The deal pays off-duty deputies to spend 32 hours per month in the township.

Newsome is reimbursing Clearview Schools $8,581 in salary paid to his daughter as part of a July agreement to avoid being charged with unethical conduct for allegedly using his political influence to help get her hired. Newsome apologized after the meeting for his behavior with deputies and the school district where his wife, Melissa Newsome, is a school board member.

“It was a bad choice of words,” he said of his remarks to deputies. “I’m moving on.”

Newsome, a trustee since 2004 who earns $14,000 annually, said he wasn’t aware of ethics rule changes involving the hiring of children of elected officials and Clearview Schools didn’t notify him of the changes.

“Hundreds of people are in the same boat,” he said. “I got made an example (of).”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.