CUYAHOGA FALLS -- In a split vote, City Council approved Danny Karam's plans to build six attached homes for sale or lease on Hunter Parkway on Monday, March 27.
But not until nine of the 11 members of Council met in executive session.
It was an unusual evening when a member of Council balked at meeting behind closed doors with the law director to discuss the issue. After a motion was made by Vic Pallotta (R-3) to dissolve into executive session to "discuss pending litigation," and that motion was seconded by Russ Iona (R-8), Ward 7 Councilman Jerry James (D) said he saw no need for it.
On March 20, when asked what could happen if Council denied Karam's application, Law Director Russell Balthis said he felt more comfortable answering the question in executive session or privately. James said he had since talked to Balthis privately about the issue and added he was "pretty sure the majority" of Council had done so, too.
President Mary Ellen Pyke (R-2) said in her 20 years on Council, the legislative body has never denied an executive session requested by the administration. When the vote was taken, the motion passed 6-5. Two members, however, Carol Klinger (R-at large) and Michael Brillhart (D-5) remained in council chambers and did not leave with the others.
Brillhart and Klinger were among those who voted against going into executive session, along with Mary Nichols-Rhodes (D-4), Paul Colavecchio (D-at large) and James. Vince Rubino (D-1), Vic Pallotta (R-3), Adam Miller (R-6), Russ Iona (R-8), Jeff Iula (R-at large) and Pyke voted in favor of it.
Returning from a 20-minute executive session, and with no one making any no remarks, Council adopted the ordinance to authorize and approve the Hunter Parkway subdivision by a vote of 6-5 with Pyke, Pallotta, Nichols-Rhodes, Miller, James and Iona voting yes, and Rubino, Brillhart, Colavecchio, Iula and Klinger voting no.