WOODMERE — Councilwoman Alberta Fanning has been absent from every council session since January due to undisclosed medical issues, and council has granted her requests to be excused from those meetings, according to village records.

Village officials also are concerned with filling two key positions and planning for the summer festival.

In regard to the absent councilwoman, Council President Jennifer Mitchell Earley consistently has stated over the past few months that Ms. Fanning’s health is improving and she will return to council soon.

According to village ordinances, the absent council member must notify the mayor, council president, clerk of council or committee chairmen at least two hours prior to the start of the meeting. Mayor Ben Holbert said that Ms. Fanning has abided by this rule, so council has continued to excuse her. Law Director Frank Consolo said that there is no limit on how long a council member can be absent before he or she must be replaced. As long as Ms. Fanning is excused, he said, she will continue to receive the $660 a month council members are paid.

In other business, the village is looking to fill two positions. Woodmere needs a part-time building inspector to replace Walter Balester, who resigned in May after just four months with the village. Mayor Holbert said that Mr. Balester cited medical reasons for his resignation.

Treasurer Tom Cornhoff will retire at the end of May, and he said that the village currently has four applicants for his position. A job description is posted on the Ohio Municipal League website.

On another note, plans for the Aug. 25 summer festival are moving ahead, according to the mayor. Council approved $20,000 for the festival in April. Vicki Dansby of Imagine That Entertainment and Event Management is planning the festival. A resolution to enter into an agreement with Ms. Dansby for the festival failed 3-3 at the April council meeting, but after further discussion it passed unanimously at the May meeting. Ms. Fanning and Councilwoman Lisa Brockwell were not present.

Ms. Dansby can take $5,000 out at a time to plan the festival, and Councilwoman Glenda Todd-Miller said that the cost of the festival cannot exceed $20,000.

Mayor Holbert said that Ms. Dansby is working on booking entertainment and vendors. He added that Ms. Dansby wants to plan something unique for senior citizens at the festival.

The mayor has reiterated that the festival is “not a party.” He said that it is meant to promote Woodmere’s businesses by bringing awareness and new customers to the village. Woodmere is home to more than 300 businesses, including Barnes and Noble, the Original Pancake House, the Apple Store, Trader Joe’s and Greenwald Antiques.

“We have to keep our businesses and this is for the businesses,” he said. “They need a shot at new customer acquisition and an opportunity to demonstrate their value.”

The next council meeting is on June 12 at 7 p.m. in Village Hall, 27899 Chagrin Blvd.

Julie Hullett has been a reporter for the Chagrin Valley Times since August of 2018 and covers Gates Mills, Hunting Valley, Moreland Hills, Orange, Pepper Pike and Woodmere. She graduated from John Carroll University with a journalism degree in 2018.

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