Summit County Council members overwhelmingly approved Monday the use of new iPads at council meetings.
It was the first time council and staff used the technology at a meeting.
“I work with computers all day long, this is the first time I ever used an iPad,” said Council President Jerry Feeman. “It’s good, it was easy to pick up and run with it. Communication has changed so much in the last few years. The time the staff didn’t spend lining up the agenda, making changes and having to recycle and start all over again is worth it to me. It saves time and money.”
Councilwoman at-large Sandra Kurt said she is not new to computers, but is new to Apple products.
“It’s not intuitive to me, but I was shown an app that gives me a way to take notes on each piece of legislation so I can be more responsive,” she said. “I think this is good, it is cost effective and it saves trees.”
Gloria Rodgers of District 3 said she loves the iPad.
“You can pull up the whole agenda as well as any specific piece of legislation and can go back and pull up attachments,” she said. “It only takes a soft touch and there is no clutter.”
Council Chief of Staff Mark Potter said the county spent $6,700 for 15 iPads — 11 for council members and four for staff. The iPads were in last year’s budget.
Also on Monday, as expected, County Council approved legislation authorizing County Executive Russ Pry to accept the consent decree, or negotiated agreement, with attorneys to pay $400,000 to settle claims in a federal lawsuit. The suit involves 21 female deputies in the Summit County Sheriff’s Office who said they were discriminated against because of their gender.
The female deputies contend a change in department policy prevented them from being eligible for jobs such as booking and registering all inmates. They were limited to only working with female inmates. The policy has since been discontinued.
The negotiated settlement will be taken to U.S. District Court Judge Sara Lioi for review to determine if it is fair. If she agrees, the matter will be resolved.
An executive from the Coalition Against Bigger Trucks, Brian Shuford, spoke before council Monday urging council members to contact local officials, including State Sen. Frank LaRose, District 27; Governor John Kasich; and Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jerry Wray to discourage passage of House Bill 35. The measure would result in extra-heavy trucks on state routes across Ohio.
The new bill would increase the maximum truck weight on Ohio state routes from 80,000 pounds to 90,000 pounds.
Shuford said the added weight creates safety issues, including the chance of more rollover crashes, and the increase in truck weight is likely to lead to brake maintenance problems and longer stopping distances.
He told council it would be an added cost for those repairs and those costs are not being picked up by the state or federal government.
Shuford said according to federal data, trucks at the current 80,000-pound weight limit only pay for about 80 percent of the damage they do, and 90,000-pound trucks only pay for about 50 to 60 percent of their damage.
Heidi Swindell of the engineer’s office said her department opposes the bill. She said county roads are not built like state and federal roads and the larger loads would make the roads more dangerous because they would wear out sooner.
Swindell said a recent memo went out to all the engineers’ offices throughout the state informing them about the issue, saying the measure was up for debate and the increase of truck weight was in the state’s budget bill.
Marilyn Miller can be reached at 330-996-3098 or firstname.lastname@example.org.