While Butler Township residents are outraged about the Trustees’ decision to contract with the Sheriff’s Office for police services, it appears that there is little, if anything, they can do about it.
During Monday’s contentious meeting, Trustees Joe Flanagan and Nick Brusky combined to approve the move over the objection of residents and Trustee Mike Lang.
The vote was taken even though it was not on the public agenda and the proposals from the Sheriff’s Office were received just two business days prior to the meeting. The public didn’t get a chance to voice their opinion until after the vote was taken – making their voices meaningless.
Township residents opposed to the move cannot file for a referendum or initiative to overturn the decision despite what Flanagan said at Monday’s meeting.
That’s because township voters rejected a limited home rule form of government that was on the ballot last November. If that measure had been approved, residents would be able to try to overturn the decision.
“Only townships that have adopted a limited form of self-government may exercise the general powers of initiative and referendum,” says Ohio Secretary of State John Husted in the Ohio Ballot Questions and Issues Handbook.
Husted references Ohio Revised Code Chapter 504.14 which specifies limited home rule government: “In a township that adopts a limited home rule government, resolutions may be proposed by initiative petition…and resolutions adopted by the board of trustees may be submitted to these electors for their approval or rejection by referendum…”
There is one common thread that helped lead to the election of Flanagan and the defeat of limited home rule – Alex Kolodesh.
It’s likely not a coincidence that on the eve of the November election voters were sent a mailer paid for by the OHPAC for Responsible Government opposing the passage of limited home rule. OHPAC for Responsible Government was funded with $7,900 in donations by Kolodesh, the owner of Singer Properties, one of the major developers on Miller Lane.
Kolodesh also donated $25,000 to the election campaign of Flanagan who then repaid himself $15,000 in loans according to campaign finance disclosures on file with the Montgomery County Board of Elections.
Unlike other elected officials, township trustees cannot be recalled either.
A bill to allow for the recall of was introduced in the Ohio House of Representatives in 2013, but Constitutionality concerns killed it.