The Register headline "Dodging Sunshine" got it right, and so did Ex officio Mayor Craig Stahl. Meeting with local businesses to address economic development is critical to the City's future and demonstrates genuine leadership on Stahl's part. The meeting in question did not violate the Ohio Sunshine Law, as it was purely informational, with no voting action to be taken, and was held in two sessions to accommodate the varied schedules of those invited. Unfortunately, the City's Law Director had to make a recommendation on short notice, with little factual information to guide him, and he erred on the side of caution.
Individuals and businesses have a right to speak with their government. The Ohio Sunshine Law is intended to prohibit votes from being taken by elected officials in secret. It does not bar informational meetings between elected officials and constituents. The Law has been interpreted by the Ohio Supreme Court to allow individuals and businesses to speak with their elected representatives under just these circumstances. To hold otherwise would mean that the citizens of Sandusky are prohibited from speaking with their elected officials on matters of concern to them.
Sandusky International, Inc. is a corporate citizen concerned about economic development in our community. Our employees live in this community and want it to thrive. In these difficult economic times, we need to look at creative ways of bringing jobs and development to the City. We encourage others to speak with our elected officials. After all, it's our government.
Edward R. Ryan, President & CEO
Sandusky International Inc.