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Law director caught on hot mic

Cheryl Vespoint, Herald Publisher

Bob Morehead, Herald Staff Writer

No one on city council objects to giving the city’s three elected executives raises.

At-Large Councilman Thomas “Bebe” Heitic has spent a few weeks floating the idea of across-the-board raises to the mayor, finance director and law director; they haven’t had a bump in pay for many years. His idea would be to hike all three to $109,000 and then link their raises with the bargaining units from then on.

Most of council thought the mayor, as the city chief executive, should get more. Councilwoman Nina Angeloff suggested $99,000 each for the finance and law directors and $109,000 for the mayor.

The idea didn’t sit well with Lisa Okolish Miller, Barberton law director for 12 years. Besides serving the city, she is the president of the Akron Bar Association and a member of the Ohio State Bar Association. She was originally elected as the law director in 2008 and then re-elected in 2012, 2016 and 2020.

Heitic brought up his raise idea for discussion during council’s committee work session June 6. During the break between the individual committee meetings and Committee of the Whole, Miller can be seen walking over to seated Councilwoman Carol Frey. She is heard using profanity while explaining reasons why she should be compensated at a higher salary than the mayor. Miller also stated she is confronting Frey because “she has a vote.”

Miller continues using profanity as she describes comparing the mayor’s salary to one of a higher education such as her’s. Councilwoman Frey can be heard trying to reason with Miller.

The city of Barberton Law Department website states the law director should maintain a professional environment by providing prosecutorial services to the Barberton Municipal Court. In addition, the law department provides legal advice for the police department along with all other offices within the city.

The law director position is also tasked with representing Barberton in legal proceedings and serves as the prosecuting attorney for the Barberton Municipal Court. This means that the law director decides who is charged with a crime and what the charges should be.

The video with subtitles and the transcript is below. Make sure to click cc (Closed Captioning) at the bottom of the video. 

Warning: Contains graphic language.

Law Director Lisa Okolish Miller speaking to Councilwoman Carol Frey June 6.

Lisa: Listen, I am not making $99,000 a year. Carol, that is bullshit. I haven’t had a raise in 12 fucking years…12 years. If I got the minimum raise everyone in this city has had for 12 years, I would be making $109,000. You guys can give Bill $111,ooo if you guys are fucking married to him making more than me. 

Carol: This is the thing after this is done you guys do make the extra.

Lisa: I understand that but why do I have to make $99,000? I am the only one with a friggen advanced degree, he can have a high school diploma.

Carol: You know what that’s a mistake too. Inaudible…that’s the charter.

Lisa: I can’t fix that problem.

Carol: I’m just saying, that has to be fixed too.

Lisa: I don’t care about that. Right now, why do I have to make $99,000? I want you to answer me that. I understand…I understand it was you and her that said he had to make more than me. 

Carol: Well it was. Yes, because anywhere that I have been that has been….

Lisa: Ok, explain to me why I have to make $99,000.

Carol: I didn’t say you had to make 99, I didn’t say that. 

Lisa: OK….

Carol: and if you would remember I was the only person that tried to give you a raise last time. Even though you had people saying you know  make up whatever. Nobody even came up with a plan to as far as how to give you a raise. 

Lisa: Right….so I don’t have it 12 years later. 

Lisa: So, I am not making $99,000. So, If you and Nina want to make him have $111,000 that’s fine but that’s bullshit if I’ve got the same…the same….if me and Jeremy got the same raise that everybody else got we’d be making $109,000. Well Jeremy would make more than me because Jeremy would make more than me..well …whatever. 

Carol: I mean I can relate to you. Lisa I mean you’re talking about your life. I have the same shit in all of my jobs but I didn’t have anybody to go to. I didn’t care if I went to personnel, that’s just the way it was.

Lisa: Ok Carol, but you are in charge of this though.

Carol: I’m not even on finance.

Lisa: You vote for it though, Carol.

Carol: Right, Right 

Lisa: Right, so you are, you do have a say in this. So I am going to someone who has a say in it. This isn’t about when you were a worker. You have a say in this so I’m going to the person that does, right? 

Lisa: I definitely have the facts and figures to back this up right? I am not making shit up. So …if you guys are married to the man making more than Jeremy and I then there you go but there is no reason that I should be making $99,000 a year. My, my, my the people that work for me make that much. I’d be in the same position I was before.

Carol: Why do you think I am the one that can change it all? Inaudible.

Lisa: Cuz I already know what he proposed. So I know that I don’t have to talk to him right? Right?

Carol: Yes, but he’s in agreement.

Lisa: Right except he said he proposed more than them. He didn’t propose for me to make less that $109,000 did he? 

Carol: He didn’t. He didn’t go over $109,000. Nobody was going over $109,000. Inaudible

Lisa: Inaudible…. Well, I thought it was $109,000…..(Inaudible) give him $110,000. 

Lisa: This is insane. You guys are killing me. I can go fucking eat and you guys can go find another law director. 

 

 

25 Comments

  1. Proud American 🤡🤣 on June 20, 2022 at 11:17 am

    When a man/women assumes public trust he/she should consider themselves as public property. T.J. Instead of how it is now. Ya know…….



  2. Ray on June 17, 2022 at 12:42 pm

    Lisa you o.k.? You deserve more then 109,000.
    I hear the adult video store by Snydertown is looking for some one to take over there massage business. They are running it by hand untill they can find the right girl.



  3. Edward W. Struckel on June 16, 2022 at 3:07 pm

    Sounds to me like someone has a vendetta against the Law Director . If I devoted 12 years of my life to a job without a raise , I”d be pissed off too ! Sounds like BH is full of BS !



  4. Edward W. Struckel on June 16, 2022 at 2:59 pm

    sounds to me like someone has a vendetta against the law director . this is a person with a law degree and has served the community faithfully for twelve years . does anyone else serving the city have anything close to a law degree ? if I devoted 12 years of my life to a job without a raise , I would be pissed off too ! I was considering a subscription to the BH , not if they”re so full of BS !



  5. Outside Looking In on June 16, 2022 at 12:42 pm

    Sounds like Lisa is “Building a Bitter Barberton”.

    No one is forcing her to run for the office. The pay and parameters existed before her decision to seek (re)election. If the money was insufficient and her primary motivation is earning as much as possible she only has herself to blame.

    I don’t think there is an overt gender bias here, as some have implied. The position seems independent from the gender of the person deciding to run for election.

    If Ms. Miller is unhappy it’s perhaps because she has become complacent in her current role or might be having difficulty finding more profitable employment in the private sector.



  6. Rebecca on June 16, 2022 at 11:15 am

    She should resign. She is ungrateful. Most of us wished that we would make a few dollars more but would not behave like this.



  7. Bababooey on June 12, 2022 at 4:41 am

    Oh, boo hoo. I only make $99,000 a year. Woe is me.

    For you supporters of Lisa, she has definitely done some shady things recently. Just ask one of her BFF’s daughters.



  8. Caine on June 11, 2022 at 8:02 am

    So Ms. Ocolish Miller is not happy with her pay and said some nasty words. Is this newsworthy? Can any one of us say we never felt we should make more money or that we have not used her words or similar in making this or that point? Now I do think since Miller pointed out her “friggen advanced degree” that she might have found more appropriate words to use, but as One much wiser than I said 2000+ years ago, “Let he who hath no sin cast the first stone.”



  9. Kevin A on June 10, 2022 at 4:22 pm

    I can’t believe people have a problem with this exchange. Lisa is advocating for herself, which clearly, if she’s not received a raise in the last 12 years no one else is doing. Just learning about the situation she is in brings some profane words to mind immediately, the fact that she was able to keep herself to a whisper is commendable. The idea that she has to go to council to try and swing the vote so that the position she holds keep a salary that is on par with her peers is a joke. Good for Lisa for sticking up for herself.

    If you’re promoting the idea that Lisa should leave if she’s unhappy, you’re not listening to what she is saying. Not a negative thing about the City, her role as law director, the people she works with or for. Just wanting, rightfully, to be given the same level of compensation as those around her, nothing wrong with that!

    Lisa has literally helped build Barberton to what it has become. It seems as if the Magic City is going to lose an absolute ROCK STAR of a public servant over 10 grand? That is pathetic. Lisa deserves to be paid at the same level as her peers AT A MINIMUM. Her dedication to the people and city of Barberton are simply unmatched.



  10. Kevin on June 10, 2022 at 4:08 pm

    Lisa is in the right here, advocating for herself. Clearly no one else is going to bat for the position she holds to get a raise.

    Lisa is an exemplary citizen outside of her 9-5 (which if you know her is WAY MORE than that), she is a stapel of the Barberton community and at a MINIMUM deserves to make what her peers are salaried at.

    Anyone arguing that she should leave if she’s not happy, didn’t listen to what she was saying. She deserves every penny she has earned and probably about 5x more.

    Barberton has a rockstar on their hands and from the sounds of it are about to lose her over 10 grand? What a joke. She has literally helped build Barberton over the last decade plus and should AT LEAST be compensated at the same level as her peers.



  11. paperboy on June 9, 2022 at 11:32 am

    get a paper route to make ends meet



  12. David on June 9, 2022 at 10:47 am

    If this is how the law director treats people and gets things done, perhaps she should go get something to eat (as she stated) and the city can get a professional law director who is respectful. Also, this can’t be ethical behavior for an elected official especially a lawyer. She should resign.



  13. Mark on June 9, 2022 at 9:28 am

    This is unethical, disgusting behavior. I guarantee that if you look at Miller’s salary now vs. 12 years ago, she makes more money now. If she doesn’t like the pay, don’t run for the position. $99k in Barberton is a lot of money.

    For the City attorney to behave this way is very, very concerning. Badgering a council member for a raise……….. Gross.



  14. Bob on June 8, 2022 at 10:44 pm

    Yes, please leave. You can do better, Lisa (after rehab, of course).



  15. Tim C on June 8, 2022 at 10:17 pm

    Why would Dan think a council person makes $109,000? I believe they make $12,500. Also whether you like the Mayor or not, I believe he has a bachelors degree and two masters degrees. Pretty educated fellow I’d say.



  16. Dan on June 8, 2022 at 11:09 am

    Why would the city council be paid $109,000 when they are only part time. Were as the mayor, finance director and law director are full time. I’d love to have a part time job that pays me $109,000 annually.



  17. Barb Peck on June 8, 2022 at 9:08 am

    Lisa deserves a raise. She is a good person. What kind of degrees do the other two have? She probably has more education than the other two.



  18. Dave on June 8, 2022 at 6:54 am

    Sorry, if she is not happy she should leave. The lamest excuse for a raise is because someone makes more than you. If that’s all you have for reasoning – don’t even ask for a raise. Coming from a business owner.



  19. Dave S. on June 8, 2022 at 6:50 am

    Sorry, if she is not happy she should leave. The lamest excuse for a raise is because someone makes more than you. If that’s all you have for reasoning – don’t even ask for a raise. Coming from a business owner.



  20. Dave S. on June 8, 2022 at 6:49 am

    Sorry,, if she is not happy she should leave. The lamest excuse for a raise is because someone makes more than you. If that’s all you have for reasoning – don’t even ask for a raise. Coming from a business owner.



  21. Rebecca on June 8, 2022 at 6:10 am

    Why hasn’t Lisa Miller received any kind of raise in TWELVE years?



  22. Anonymous on June 7, 2022 at 9:20 pm

    Lost factories population down and you think the mayor needs a raise no way what happened to the property he sold for 2thousand a piece that was a Shandy deal



  23. Pam on June 7, 2022 at 7:20 pm

    She should be making more than that, and if I was her I would have quit a long time ago. She puts up with way too much BS to not have had a raise in 12 years. The city would drown without her. I guarantee if the law director was a man he would be getting paid more without any questions asked. Who cares if she says a few curse words, she’s speaking the truth. She is very educated and good at what she does, so give her a raise and stop making a fuss about her cussing. People that are talking crap don’t understand what goes on behind close doors in that building. She has more balls than the mayor.



  24. Mike on June 7, 2022 at 7:03 pm

    She can’t bully a new salary from those who vote on her salary. Talk about unethical behavior. Disgusting



  25. Laura on June 7, 2022 at 6:46 pm

    I hope she got the money she deserves! I have a bachelors and 10 years of business experience and I’ve made over $100k for years. I can’t imagine having an advanced legal degree and only making $100k. If the roles were reversed, no one would bat an eye at the man making more than a woman mayor. This is so disgusting and is professional gaslighting. Of course she’s angry – she has every right to be. And she didn’t know the mic was hot.



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