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Minor change to Lorain Council's complaint process causes stir

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LORAIN — A minor change in who Council addresses its concerns to caused some stirring Tuesday.

Newly appointed Mayor Joe Koziura sent an email to Council members notifying them of a new concern/complaint process.

“Effective immediately, I ask all Council Members to kindly direct any and all concerns and complaints you have that need investigating to Phil Dore or to my office,” the letter read. “Please do not reach out to department heads directly.”

Phil Dore is the chief of staff.

Councilwoman Mary Springowski, D-at large, posted the note on her Facebook page. She said Tuesday afternoon she didn’t understand why it was necessary for Koziura to change the process.

She said she plans to continue to address her concerns to Safety/Service Director Dan Given, occasionally copying the department heads on emails, as she has done since she started on Council three years ago.

“I see no reason to change what I’m doing and Mayor Koziura can issue all of the proclamations and announcements that he wishes, but I don’t work for him,” she said. “I work for the people of Lorain, I answer to them.”

Koziura said Tuesday the new process is something he did when he was mayor in the mid-1990s in an effort to streamline getting members’ concerns handled.

“You cannot have 11 bosses besides the regular Mr. Given, Mr. Dore and me telling managers to do something.

He added, “If you’ve got a problem, you call up to Mr. Dore’s office, and ... it will be logged what the complaint is and then from there he’ll notify the department what needs to be done and so then we have a clear line when was it reported, what was done about it, was it accomplished.”

Koziura is finishing the unexpired term of former Mayor Chase Ritenauer, who resigned from the seat effective May 31. He was appointed to the seat June 9, but cannot be appointed to the November ballot slot as he ran in the May primary.

The Democratic slot on the ballot and Koziura’s Council seat will be filled by the city’s Democratic Central Committee 6 p.m. Tuesday at Rosewood Place, 4493 Oberlin Ave. in Lorain.

Contact Carissa Woytach at (440) 329-7245 or cwoytach@chroniclet.com.
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