BY MIKE McCARTHY | MIRROR EDITOR — Held just three days prior to Thanksgiving Day, the November 21 meeting of Maumee City Council opened with a mayoral proclamation acknowledging the heroic actions of two Maumee paramedics whose swift actions saved the life of a local man last autumn.
Maumee Fire & EMS Capt. Dan Williams and Maumee firefighter/paramedic Ron Wedge were presented with mayoral proclamations in recognition of their actions last November, when the two men quickly responded to save the life of Chinedu Oguguo, a local soccer goalie who had slipped into cardiac arrest after taking a soccer ball hard to his chest while preventing a goal. Seconds after making the save, the goalie sat down on the turf, fell slowly backwards and started to convulse.
From the sidelines, the two Maumee paramedics realized something was wrong and quickly responded to the situation. Recognizing that Oguguo had gone into cardiac arrest, the two paramedics defibrillated him twice and administered one dose of epinephrine. The combination of these two actions proved to be lifesaving.
Oguguo responded to the treatment and was revived within six or seven minutes. He was then rushed to the hospital, a trip that Oguguo does not remember.
After reaching full recovery, Oguguo was eventually able to meet with the two paramedics to express his gratitude to them for saving his life.
The two men were also honored at the state level with the presentation of the prestigious EMS Star of Life Award in Columbus on November 7.
An article detailing the heroic actions of the two paramedics was published on the front page of the November 24 issue of The Mirror.
Shortly after presenting the proclamation, acting Mayor Jim MacDonald asked Maumee Fire & EMS Deputy Chief Jim Dusseau if he would like to comment.
Dusseau rose from his seat in the council chamber, looked at the two paramedics and beamed. “Congratulations! This is more than one in a million. Your chances are better of winning the Powerball when it was a billion dollars than to actually witness something like this in your career.”
“It’s a very rare occurrence,” Dusseau emphasized.
Following the presentation, the two paramedics returned to their seats to a standing ovation from Maumee city officials, council members and members of the public who were attending the meeting.
Following a brief Committee of the Whole meeting, Maumee City Council opened the regular meeting by accepting and placing on file the seven items listed in the petitions and communications section of the agenda.
The first item was the second reading of Ordinance 051-2022, which establishes a detailed right-of-way ordinance for the city.
The next five items pertained to separate second readings of new ordinances designed to streamline the Maumee municipal code. They have to do with the elimination of the following committees which are no longer deemed relevant: Committee on Aging, Indoor Theater Advisory Board, Municipal Audit Committee and Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission.
Details of the revisions can be found in the recap of the November 7 meeting of council which appeared in the December 1 edition of The Mirror.
The seventh item was the first reading of Ordinance 057-2022, which strictly limits the public use of fireworks within Maumee city boundaries. The ordinance restricts the dates and times that a person may discharge, ignite or explode consumer-grade fireworks within city limits to the third and fourth days of July between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. All other dates and times are prohibited by the new ordinance.
After passing those seven items, by a 7-0 vote, council voted to enter into executive session to discuss public employee compensation and pending litigation. The executive session lasted 37 minutes before council returned to the regular council meeting to address the consent calendar.
The first item had to do with authorizing the temporary closure of certain city streets for the Holiday Hustle 5K Race, Elf Fun Run and Holiday Light Parade on November 27.
The second matter dealt with the approval of a proposed retirement compensation agreement that the city had negotiated with Maumee Police Sgt. Gregory Westrick, a 20-year veteran of the department, who had been placed on indefinite paid administrative leave since September. Sgt. Westrick recently retired from the Maumee Police Division.
Both items passed by a 7-0 vote of council.
Council then moved on to the citizens comments portion of the meeting. Bernard Flath, of 218 E. Harrison St., addressed council.
“The article regarding the water bills, I found extremely educational, informative, and it clarified a lot of things that I heard erroneously, so I thought it was a wonderful thing to do,” Flath stated. “It also clarified that the 8,000-gallon minimum per quarterly session had been dropped to 6,000 and I thought that was very gracious and appreciated.
“I would like to suggest that the city consider further dropping that and still collect the same amount of money that’s needed to maintain the water system, which I know is an extremely expensive undertaking,” noted Flath. “I would like to see the minimum dropped to maybe 1,000 or 2,000.”
“The way the city could recover those funds that are needed to maintain our water system and to improve it could be to increase the charge that is collected for the connection fee,” Flath suggested. “For example, gas and electric have a connection fee to maintain their systems, which is extremely appropriate in my opinion.”
“But the biggest reason for us to drop the minimum water charge is to further support water conservation,” Flath asserted. “Like a lot of others, many times I go under the 6,000 minimum. I would like to save money, of course, but I want to encourage all citizens to use less water. I think we could increase the charge for the connection fee and decrease the monthly amount.”
“I think that would be extremely appropriate and would encourage water conservation,” he concluded.
During the council comments portion of the meeting, MacDonald thanked council members for their support and said, “It’s also very refreshing to not only hear about criticisms, but to hear people suggest that there is a way to do it better. I think the community would progress a little bit better if we came up with more solutions rather than just criticize, but sometimes it’s a little more difficult to think it through and come up with solutions.”
Council member Gabe Barrow responded to Flath’s remarks before council, thanking him for his “heartfelt and appreciative comments.”
Barrow stated, “People in the city work very hard to make the system better, cleaner, more efficient. We dropped the use of the gallon charge. It’s more of a ‘ready-to-serve’ charge because, whether you turn your faucet on or don’t, it still costs ‘X’ amount of dollars to get the water to you and have it processed properly.”
Barrow continued to address Flath, saying, “But you’re right. Even if people don’t use the minimums, we are saving money because it’s less water that we will have run through the Lucas County filtration system, so thank you very much for that. I appreciate all this information that people are actually reading and understanding.”
Council member Josh Harris opened his comments by thanking his fellow veterans in the community and congratulating people for their great turnout in the recent election.
Harris also expressed his disappointment that two of the five proposed Maumee charter amendments were defeated at the polls.
“I was a little shocked that two of the issues didn’t pass – one of them more than the other. Being a veteran who served my country, there was an issue on the Maumee ballot on how, let’s say that I could be called up to active duty. If that were the case, by voting no on that issue, I would lose my seat on council. I somehow find that to be against federal law based on the USERRA agreement in 1994, which states that you can’t punish someone – they can’t lose their employment – just because they got called up to active duty,” Harris said, referring to the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-Employment Rights Act.
“I think that’s going to come up in the future,” he continued. “Just to let you know, I wouldn’t have been able to keep my employment (on city council) if I got called up.”
Council members concluded their remarks and since there were no remarks by Mayor Richard Carr, who was on vacation, the meeting was adjourned.
Fourteen members of the public were in attendance for the meeting.
The next meeting of Maumee City Council is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. on Monday, December 19 in council chambers at the Maumee Municipal Building, 400 Conant St.
As always, Maumee City Council meetings are open to the public.