A group of active citizens in Mad River Township have called for the resignation of trustee Joe Catanzaro based on a violation of Ohio Revised Code which requires an elected official to reside within the government entity that they represent.
The letter read into the July 15, 2019 meeting record refers to ORC 503.24 in which Catanzaro is required to notify the Board of his ineligibility to serve so that the Board can appoint a new trustee to fill the vacancy within 30 days.
Public records obtained by the group from the Springfield Police Department indicate that Catanzaro who denied the allegations has been residing in the City of Springfield in the 2500 block of N. Limestone for several months. In that report, Catanzaro states that he is in the process of getting a divorce. The group further confirmed that he moved out of his residence on Hunter Road in early 2019.
Catanzaro stated that he “owns 5 properties” in Enon and that he “owns 15” in Springfield. He stipulated that his “voter registration” is listed as Hunter Road but was unwilling to acknowledge that he is no longer living at that address. He did not dispute the statement made indicating that he does not live at any of those 5 properties in the community.
Here is the complete text of that letter.
Mr. Joseph Catanzaro
Mad River Township Trustee
260 E. Main St., Enon, Ohio 45323-0034
The purpose of this letter is to bring to your attention the insistence of the citizens of Mad River Township that you immediately vacate your position as Mad River Township Trustee. Our call for resignation comes as a result of several grievances laid out in this letter and more.
One of the unique nuances of being a township trustee is the requirement to be intimately familiar with the needs of our community, which are currently not being met – in large part because you are no longer our neighbor. As a nonresident governing our community from Springfield, you are not affected by the dismal state of our emergency services and drainage issues, which exposes a pattern of poor leadership causing our current state of affairs.
Your trusteeship-from-afar is also in direct violation of Ohio Revised Code, which requires that trustees keep primary residency within the physical boundaries of the township and to immediately notify the Board once the residency requirement ceases to be met. Springfield Police Report #2019-00023319 from an incident on 1 June 2019, a divorce filing, and public comments made by you regarding your living arrangements clearly evidence your primary residence to be 2550 N. Limestone St., Apt #210, Springfield, Ohio. Additionally, the purchase of your new home and high-end remodel on N. Broadmoor in Springfield evidences your intent to relocate out of the township as far back as July 2018. Your residence is therefore several miles outside the boundary of Mad River Township, making you ineligible to hold a trustee seat as of January 2019, with the intent to vacate your eligibility established six months prior to that. ORC 503.24 required you to immediately notify the Board of this ineligibility and required the Board to appoint a new trustee to fill your vacancy within 30 days of your change of residency. In this vein, Mad River Township and the Board of Trustees have been operating in conflict with Ohio law for at least 150 days.
In light of your ineligibility for the trustee position and violation of the notice requirement, it seems especially egregious that you continue to collect a wage and use township health insurance paid for by the hardworking residents of Mad River Township. It is equally concerning that you continue to make decisions affecting the residents of our community without residing here for six months or more. You also recently voted to increase employee wages without residing in the township. Spending our taxpayer funds, collecting a wage and benefits, and making decisions on behalf of our community without being a resident is gross abuse of the citizens of this township and violation of the trust we place in our local elected officials.
Considering your stake in our township is only that of a business owner concerned with traffic to your restaurant and not that of a resident, it is no surprise you have shown complete lack of leadership in addressing this community’s needs. This is further evidenced by the resignation of several dozen experienced and respected EMS employees over the course of your time as a trustee, the community’s disapproval of how the cemetery is now handled, and the ongoing issues with drainage across the township. When you ran for this seat, you promised the community that fixing these problems were priorities, but these situations have only degraded under your watch.
For all these reasons and more, our community implores you to resign without further delay, so that we may gain leadership capable of fixing the problems you’ve only made worse.
The Citizens of Mad River Township, Ohio
CC: Robert McClure, Trustee President 2019