By MARK TODD - Staff Writer - email@example.com
CONNEAUT — City administrators have sent a letter to a local Website operator, ordering her to remove information related to municipal offices, City Council members learned at Monday's work session.
The cease-and-desist order was sent last week to Katie Schwartz, who oversees the everythingconneautohio.com Web site. The letter was authorized by City Manager Robert Schaumleffel Jr.
Ward 1 Councilman Dave Campbell, who has promoted the Web site, was outraged by the letter, calling it “garbage. We cannot dictate how she runs her business,” he said.
At the end of the meeting, Campbell made a motion that would order Schaumleffel to rescind the letter and apologize to Schwartz. The motion was defeated by a 3-3 vote. Voting yes were Campbell, Ward 2 Councilman Charles Lewis and Ward 3 Councilman Greg Mooney. Opposed were Council President James Jones, Councilman-at-Large Chris Castrilla and Ward 4 Councilman Tony Julio. Absent was Councilman-at-Large Jacob Chicatelli.
Schaumleffel said he did not want to see Schwartz's for-profit Web site be mistaken as the official city of Conneaut Web site, which is being overhauled by another individual. "We can't turn the city Web page into a commercial site," he said.
The manager said he would gladly create a link on the city page to Schwartz's site. “I’m trying to keep this on a business basis,” Schaumleffel said.
Disclosure of the cease-and-desist letter followed some terse words Schaumleffel directed at Schwartz at the beginning of the meeting. The manager said he understood Schwartz made accusations about him at a town hall-style meeting Thursday night.
Schaumleffel used Schwartz as a springboard to rail against what he said was an organized campaign among some to “dig up dirt” on his administrative staff.
“I am tired of the dirt,” he said. “I don't know what the hell is going on. These personal attacks are going to stop. I'm really tired of the personal attacks.”
The manager also scolded council members who attended the meeting and didn't speak on his behalf, without naming names,
Schaumleffel said the same tactics prompted interim city manager Edward Somppi to abruptly resign last summer. “It didn't start with me and or end with me, but I'm going to try to put a stop to it,” he said.