Kent council member’s possible early move sparks heated debate at meeting

Morgan Day

City council accepted and closed Law Director James Silver’s report concerning Councilman Edward Bargerstock’s residency in a 5-4 vote at its meeting last night.

Bargerstock announced in February he would not seek another council term and would move to Stow in 2008 when his term is over. The city’s charter, which governs qualifications for a council seat, states that no council member may reside outside the city while serving his or her term.

However, Bargerstock said Silver used “bad legal judgment” and “acted on his own without authority” when he had Kent police investigate whether he was living in Stow while still serving his term on council.

“What you’ve done was wrong,” Bargerstock said to Silver. “You know it was wrong. It was an attempt to silence and intimidate me. You know that.”

Councilman-at-large William Schultz agreed with Bargerstock, saying Silver “made a bad judgment call,” but he didn’t think it was worth pursuing.

“I am not interested in spending hours, days – to Mr. Bargerstock it could be months – beating a dead horse,” Schultz said.

Bargerstock argued that Silver’s actions were being covered up, but Councilman Garret Ferrara disagreed.

“It’s not being swept under the rug,” Ferrara said. “It’s been answered and addressed.”

Ferrara went on to say the investigation is a waste of the police department’s time because, to investigate, police must travel to Stow.

Bargerstock said the memorandum he was sent didn’t include how much the investigation cost, but City Manager Dave Ruller said it was about $150.

In other business, council passed a motion to have Silver write a letter to the appropriate state legislators prompting them to change the legal drinking age to 18.

Contact public affairs reporter Morgan Day at [email protected].