The Board of Deerfield Township Trustees met in regular session on Monday, April 24, 2023, at 6:00pm, with Trustees Ed Dean, Tiffany Havens and Mark Bann pre- sent. Chairman Dean opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Ed Dean suspended the reading of the minutes from the meeting held April 10, 2023 and will approve them at the next regularly scheduled meeting.
- Portage County Regional Planning Commission sent a replat of part of Block “A” in the “Hickory Grove Allotment” on State Route 14, Lot 14 in Deerfield Town- ship. Deerfield Township has been notified of the replat submitted on April 6, 2023. A meeting is scheduled for May 10, 2023 at 4:30pm at the Reed Memorial Library to consider said replat.
- The Portage County Health District sent the semi-public sewage treatment system inspection report for the Deerfield Fire Department and the Deerfield Town Hall.
- Portage County Board of Commissioners sent a letter to the Trustees that legisla- tion went into effect providing a Board of County Commissioners the permissive(i.e. discretionary) authority to designate all or a portion of the unincorporated ar- eas of a County as restricted areas in which “utility facilities” may be prohibited. (See R.C. 303.57 through 303.62). The types of utility facilities a Board of Coun- ty Commissioners may restrict are known as “economically significant wind farms,” “large wind farms,” and “large solar facilities.” The Board of Commis- sioners is sending the correspondence to ascertain the position of the Board of Township Trustees and township residents concerning whether to restrict the con- struction of economically significant wind farms, large wind farms, and/or large solar facilities in all, or a portion of the Township. Feedback is welcomed by May 1, 2023.
- A Deerfield Township resident sent a memo regarding a dead deer on the right of way on State Route 225 on the west side of the road for nearly two weeks. ODOT advised that it is Deerfield Township responsibility to remove it even though it is a state route. ODOT only deals with dead animals on the interstate. Also, resi- dent was able to get ODOT to install an intersection sign last summer at the inter- section of Mottown Road and State Route 225. However, he feels that the solid yellow line needs to be extended further north. ODOT advised this is an issue the Township must resolve with ODOT.Fire Department:Ed made a motion to go into executive session with Fire Chief Vaughn Sutcliffe and Mr. Scott Dean for the reason of appointment, employment, dismissal, discipline, promotion, demotion, or compensation of a public employee or official, or the investigation of charges or complaints against a public employee, official, licensee, or regulated individual unless the employee, official, licensee or regulated individual unless they
request a public hearing by Division (G)(1) of Section 121.22 of the Revised Code. Mark seconded the motion and the roll call vote was unanimous.
Ed made a motion to exit executive session. Mark seconded the motion and the roll call was unanimous.
Ed made a motion to enter back into their regular meeting. Mark seconded the motion and the roll call vote was unanimous.
Chief Vaughn Sutcliffe provided a verbal report for the fire department on activity since the last meeting. The fire department is up to approximately 168 calls for the year, with 22 ran since the last meeting, which includes 1 motor vehicle accident, 10 EMS calls, 1 fire, 3 mutual aids, 1 public assist, 3 smoke/fire investigations and 3 burning complaints.
Unit #1415, the mini pumper stopped running. They need to troubleshoot and look into options to repair and/or replace.
The fascia that blew off the back of the front station has been repaired.
Vaughn submitted an invoice for cost repairs in the amount of $131.93 that resulted from the annual maintenance.
Vaughn prepared a list and recap of open-ended items that need to be done for the fire grants. For the 2021 AFG Grant, proof of payment is needed of $107,125 for MSA airpacks to FireForce, $10,231.68 for the FIT tester to TSI and $525 for quick fill adapter to FireForce. Once proof of payment is submitted, this grant will be closed. The ODNR/Forestry Grant was for $10,000 towards the purchase of a UTV, slide in brushfire skid and two (2) water backpacks. Proof of payment is needed for the $16,208 paid for the UTV, $407.48 for the two (2) soft pack brush packs and $4,196 plus shipping for the skid unit on backorder until June from FireForce. Deerfield Fire received the BWC grant for $40,000, which would allow us to order a new load power cot and a load system that loads the cot into the ambulance. $6,000 was spent in repairs to our 14 year old cot and load system in 2022. This new cot could be placed into service with the existing load system and if we get the new squad with this year’s AFG grant, we would be able to place the new cot load system into it, which would give us loading systems in both ambulances. The total cost is $58,752.21, which is $30,201.60 for the load system and $28,550.61 for the cot. Deerfield Township is responsible for $18,752.21. Ed made a motion to accept the Ohio BWC grant for $40,000. Tiffany seconded the motion and the roll call vote was unanimous. Ed made a motion to pay the balance of $18,752.21 to proceed with ordering the new cot and load system. Tiffany seconded the motion and the roll call vote was unanimous. The 2022 SAFER grant award is $498,520 in federal funding with no funding due from Deerfield Township. Ed Dean made a motion to approve the 2022 SAFER Grant pending prosecutor approval. Tiffany seconded the motion and the roll call vote was unanimous.
The Memorial Day procession to the cemetery parade will be held Monday, May 29, 2023 at 9:00am. Line up at the station will be 8:30am. Vaughn mentioned the Deerfield Civic Association will need to contact Ohio State Patrol to close road.
Fire Chief Vaughn Sutcliffe thanked everyone for their support over the past year with a special thanks to his officers and members for their help and continued support. Vaughn said they accomplished a lot, but not all that he wanted to. He is only sorry that he couldn’t do more. Vaughn Sutcliffe wished Mr. Scott Dean the best as he takes over as the new chief for Deerfield Township. Tiffany thanked Vaughn.
Ed Dean asked Portage County Commissioner Tony Badalamenti & Mr. Scott Dean to come forward to swear in Mr. Scott Dean as the new fire chief, effective April 24, 2023. Mr. Scott Dean was sworn in.
Ed thanked Vaughn for everything. Mr. Scott Dean thanked former chief Vaughn Sutcliffe for his service, administration and direction of Deerfield Township Fire. Scott Dean plans to use some of Vaughn’s ideas, incorporate some of his and combine these together. The Fire Department will be working on hiring employees, retention of current employees & starting a cadet program to build for the future. He will be going over all the equipment to adequately protect the citizens of Deerfield. He intends to start an in- house training center program.
Scott Dean asked the Trustees to approve an application for Jason Hamblin, a firefighter 240/paramedic from Mogadore. He currently works with Uniontown Fire and has been a member of the department for 27 1⁄2 years. He has experience working in critical care and private ambulance companies. He is a CPR instructor and married. Jason was a candidate for the Fire Chief position. Ed Dean made a motion to accept Jason Hamblin’s application on a one-year probationary basis. Tiffany seconded the motion and the roll call vote was unanimous.
Scott Dean asked the Trustees to approve an application for Derek Day, an EMT basic/FF2 from Beloit. Derek has been a member of Fire Departments since the age of 15 when he joined the cadet program. He had a great mentor & became an instructor at JVS for 10-12 years. His passion is in teaching. He attended the Fire Academy. He is a retired Fire Chief from Damascus. He works as a full time firefighter at the City of Salem currently. Ed Dean made a motion to accept Jason Hamblin’s application on a one-year probationary basis. Tiffany seconded the motion and the roll call vote was unanimous.
Scott Dean asked the Trustees to approve Brian Allison, a firefighter/EMT. Mark indicated that Brian Allison was our previous chief. Brian indicated that he retired from his position as chief, however, did not resign his position from the Deerfield Township Fire Department. He was then removed from all communications, which he said is a failure against Ohio Revised Code. Mark said that he spoke with someone from Berlin Township that indicated that Brian Allison is still running Deerfield Township calls. Brian said that he runs a lot of Berlin Township’s mutual aid calls to Deerfield Township.
Ed asked Brian to stand up and reintroduce himself. Brian said he has lived in Deerfield Township all his life. He has been in fire/ems for 26 years. He feels that he has a lot of knowledge that he could bring back to the Fire Department that has been lost or unknown. His job is in Deerfield and flexible and allows for him to leave during the day for emergencies. He is the assistant fire chief at Berlin Township and has worked for Rootstown Fire Department. Brian is an EMT-I. Brian is requesting to be reinstated to active duty since he never turned in his resignation from the department. Ed Dean made a motion to reinstate Brian Allison to Deerfield Fire Department effective immediately. Mark seconded the motion and the roll call vote was as follows:
Mr. Dean Yes
Mr. Bann Yes
Ms. Havens No/Abstain
Scott Dean asked the Trustees to approve his recommendations of Derek Day as Assistant Chief, Brian Allison as Captain, Robert Abbuhl as Lieutenant and Jason Hamblin as a firefighter/paramedic and swear them in accordingly.
A Deerfield resident inquired about what happens to the two (2) assistant chiefs that are currently in place for the Deerfield Fire Department. Ed indicated that both chiefs were assigned on a temporary basis under Fire Chief Vaughn Sutcliffe while he was acting chief. Resident told the Trustees if the Trustees do what they are planning to do they will lose half the members of the Fire Department. Resident indicated that an individual has caused problems on scene, screaming at others on scene & feels it is unacceptable. Ed indicated that Deerfield has a new chief that has been duly sworn in and he has asked them to do this. Ed feels he is aware of the situations from before and there will be a big difference on how things are handled at the department under the new chief.
A Deerfield resident inquired if the new replacement filling the shoes of Mr. Simmons capable and qualified moreso than Mr. Simmons. If not, why would we change something that is not broke? Per an article read in the Record Courier, Mr. Simmons has done some amazing work with grants for Deerfield Township, will the replacement be able to fill his shoes? Mark commented that it is normal when a new chief comes in to fill the positions with individuals they feel comfortable with. Mark says he feels comfortable to appease what he feels he needs since he felt comfortable hiring Mr. Dean to move the department forward. Mr. Scott Dean says Derek Day is as qualified as Mr. Simmons, except he is a EMT-B instead of a paramedic. Derek is an instructor and does everything else the current administration does. She clarified that Derek Day is not then as qualified. Scott Dean asked Derek Day to elaborate on his background and qualifications. Derek said he is fire instructor. Mark interrupted. Mark said when a new chief comes in, it is normal to bring in new administration and who he feels should be there beside him. A Deerfield Fire Department member said but you don’t want to respect the people who are currently on the department. Mark said he is not saying that they don’t. The members said to Mark they are showing that they don’t respect the members. The members do not agree that they are going to allow someone to come back on the department that broke it apart and created so much animosity on calls & scenes, while allowing an uncertified member come in and run calls. They asked what they thinkis going to change putting the department back in the situation. Mark Bann said his confidence is in the decisions and the recommendations of the new chief and they need to stick by him for his vision and trust in it.
Ed Dean made a motion to approve the recommendations per Mr. Scott Dean on a one- year probationary basis & reviewed periodically of Derek Day as assistant Fire Chief, Brian Allison as Captain, Robert Abbuhl as Lieutenant and Jason Hamblin as a Firefighter 240/Paramedic member. Mark seconded the motion and the roll call vote was as follows:
Mr. Dean Yes Mr. Bann Yes Ms. Havens No
Ed Dean asked Portage County Commissioner Tony Badalamenti to swear in Mr. Derek Day as Assistant Chief. Derek Day was sworn in.
Ed Dean asked Portage County Commissioner Tony Badalamenti to swear in Mr. Robert Abbuhl as Lieutenant. Robert Abbuhl stated to the Trustees that he recalls the Trustees saying no way would they bring Brian Allison back and they did it. He apologized to Scott Dean, but he said he was done with this department because of Brian Allison. He will turn all his equipment in. Therefore, Robert Abbuhl was not sworn in.
Ed Dean asked Portage County Commissioner Tony Badalamenti to swear in Jason Hamblin as a member. Jason Hamblin was sworn in.
A Deerfield resident asked if Ed was allowing Brian Allison back on the department because they are friends. Ed Dean said he is allowing him back onto the department because it was some time ago and had some personal things going on & feels he has worked his way past them, stayed involved and put faith in the new chief and the new chief has asked them to make him a new member/officer. The resident indicated he was dumbfounded after all the liability Brian Allison exposed our township to as Fire Chief.
A Deerfield resident asked if the Trustees know if he allowed unqualified people to run calls. Ed Dean said that was something that was dealt with at a previous meeting. Ed said he does not know for a fact if that did or did not happen because he does not respond to any calls and never has.
Ed Dean asked Portage County Commissioner Tony Badalamenti to swear in Mr. Brian Allison as Captain. Brian Allison was sworn in.
Buildings & Grounds/Cemeteries: The Road Department has been working on installing more signs received from the grant and met with the County on placement for the curves.
The Road Department widened the drive at the park to the north. The Trustees talked about widening the drives at the south for a total of two feet. The south side will be done once they get more stone.
New LED lights have been installed at the Deerfield Town Hall parking lot.
Ed made a motion to hire stump grinding at a cost of $420.00. Mark seconded the motion and the roll call vote was unanimous.
Ed Dean made a motion to purchase an additional $600 for miscellaneous lawn products. Mark seconded the motion and the roll call vote was unanimous.
Ed Dean indicated soccer and ball teams are actively practicing at the fields. Contracts were approved at a previous meeting.
Road Department: The Road Department will have the numbers for the resurfacing of some roads they would like to do in May.
Revenues received: See Revenue Receipt Register attached.
The following bills were presented for Trustees’ inspection and approval: See Payment Register attached.
Ed made a motion to pay these bills and adjourn the meeting. Mark seconded the motion and the roll call vote was unanimous.
Meeting adjourned at 6:55pm.