The city of Hillsboro Employee Relations Committee voted, 2-0, on Sept. 19 to recommend to the full city council that City Law Director Fred Beery prepare a resolution of disapproval of Hillsboro mayor Drew Hastings' racially insensitive social media posts. The Highland County Press was told that a resolution was prepared, and a vote of the full council would be held in October. However, council has had multiple meetings since Sept. 19, and there's been no vote on the resolution. The newspaper has asked council president Lee Koogler multiple times why the vote has not been held. Koogler has not replied to those questions. 

It also was reported to The Highland County Press that on Wednesday, Oct. 18, Hastings directed obscene and inflammatory language to a current member of council – and fellow Republican – outside the city building. The newspaper has asked the council president to respond to that incident as well.

For background, committee chair Bill Alexander made a motion for the resolution on Sept. 19, and it was seconded by committee member Rebecca Wilkin. Both Alexander and Wilkin voted in favor, while committee member Claudia Klein did not appear to vote. (The following was previously reported from that September committee meeting.)

“I did not hear a definitive vote, either in favor or opposed,” Alexander told The Highland County Press. "I will check with Claudia to see if there was a vote that was beneath my level of hearing, but in any event, I am confident that it is still a valid vote."

City Council President Lee Koogler said the committee's majority vote would suffice to advance the action to the full council at a future meeting. Alexander said that he spoke with Beery, who “felt that it would be a legitimate vote.”

“It will be reported as ‘voted without opposition’ when I give my committee report,” Alexander said.

Alexander said that the committee voted to draft the resolution in response to requests from members of council and the community to “take a stance as a council.”

“Our goal is to give the council an opportunity to distance ourselves from comments that have been made on social media by Mayor Hastings,” Alexander said. “It is a resolution of disapproval. What we’ve asked is for the law director to draw up a resolution using the appropriate format and language."

Alexander opened the committee meeting by allowing public comments. Hillsboro residents Jaymara Captain and Ariana Jackson both spoke out against the mayor's social media comments, some of which he later removed.

Captain also addressed the full city council and a capacity crowd at a December 2015 meeting after Hastings had posted on Facebook (posted verbatim): “When are people going to figure out that we are in a Revolution in this Country. Blacks have all but formally declared war on whites, ideological types are fighting with Planned Parenthood, there’s violence over immigration, Muslim extremism, and our own Government at war with it’s citizens. This isn’t ‘lone wolf’ stuff. It isn’t a crazy with a gun. It isn’t ‘domestic terrorism,’ these are all skirmishes in a Revolution that’s here. Pick your side and pick your battles, We are about 3 steps away from All bets are off.”

At that time, Captain called for the city to "show respect. You need to hear what everybody has to say. Even though all of us have been completely disrespected, you can give us enough respect that we can say what we need to say.”

Captain opened her comments with a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Hastings read a prepared statement to the council committee and suggested the meeting should not have been scheduled, based on legal advice from a Columbus attorney who is working for the city in an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issue with longtime Hillsboro city employee Craig Jackson.

Captain then told the committee that the mayor "has a legal team from outside because he doesn't trust your (council's) judgment. We have a city law director. And we have businesses that have been here a lot longer than this man."

During the September 2017 council meeting, Ariana Jackson said that Hillsboro has “a racist mayor” and asking council for their response to Hastings’ remarks. She read a selection of racially insensitive Facebook posts and tweets from the mayor and said that council needs to help with the “division” in the community.

“God loves all people, of all color, so he expects that leadership to reflect His Kingdom,” Jackson said at the Sept. 11 meeting. “I’m bringing this to your attention because your service is for the people. We’re needing your help to guide us on what needs to be done because there is division in the administration and the police department and the community, and it begins with the leadership of the government.”

Alexander said that he “very much appreciates the concerns” from the citizens in attendance.

“This is not just the African-American community,” Alexander said. “This goes beyond that. This is something that a segment of people in our community are asking for council to take a position on the comments that the mayor has made through his social media.

“We appreciate all of the people who did speak and the passion that is felt by so many people. I very much did appreciate their bringing to council their concerns.”

When asked for a comment by The Highland County Press, Koogler said: "He (Hastings) attacked council and me in his prepared statement. He attacked the front row that included Jaymara Captain, Pam Limes and Ariana Jackson. He basically said this (the social media posts) is done with comedic intent. I don't feel that he was at all apologetic. He showed no remorse."

Koogler praised the committee for "putting themselves on record" and making a recommendation for the law director and full council's consideration.

For more information, go to:

Sept. 2017 council meeting

http://www.highlandcountypress.com/Content/In-The-News/In-The-News/Article/City-employee-seeks-answers-from-council-administration/2/20/40420

Dec. 2015 council meeting
http://www.highlandcountypress.com/Content/In-The-News/Headlines/Article/Mayor-city-council-lambasted-as-citizens-call-for-action/2/73/30685