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(a) There is hereby created the Fair Housing Board to consist of three members who are qualified electors of the Village and shall not hold any public office at the municipal, county, state or federal level at any time while a member of the Board. Any duly appointed Board member who is running for any public office shall be automatically disqualified from further membership on the Board. The day the Board member files petitions with the County Board of Elections shall be the date of the disqualification. No Board member shall be appointed who is employed in any real estate or lending institution.
(b) The Board members shall be appointed by the Mayor. Of the members first appointed, one shall hold office for a term of one year; one for a term of two years; and the other for a term of three years; and their successors shall be appointed for terms of three years. The Mayor shall fill all vacancies by appointment for the unexpired term. A Board member whose term has expired shall be eligible for reappointment to the Board.
(c) The executive secretary of the Board shall be appointed by the Mayor and shall be an employee of the Village of Windham.
(d) The Mayor may recommend the removal of any member of the Board for neglect of duty or malfeasance in office to Council. Council may remove a member of the Board from office by the vote of two-thirds of the Council only after having first given to such member a copy of the charges against him and an opportunity to be publicly heard in person or by counsel in his own defense; and any such removal shall be final.
(e) Two members of the Board shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of conducting the business thereof. A vacancy on the Board shall not impair the right of the other members to exercise all the power of the Board.
(f) The Board is authorized to seek the cooperation and aid of the Ohio Real Estate Board or Ohio Civil Rights Commission in any investigation under this chapter.
(g) If the executive secretary determines that the complaint lacks reasonable grounds upon which to base a violation of this chapter, he shall so inform the Board and the Board may in its discretion dismiss such complaint or order such further investigation as may be necessary; provided, that the Board shall not dismiss such complaint without first affording the complainant an opportunity to appear before the Board.
(h) If the executive secretary, with respect to a matter which involves a violation of this chapter, fails to conciliate a complaint after the parties have in good faith attempted such conciliation, fails to effect an informal conciliation agreement or a formal consent agreement or determines that a complaint is not susceptible of conciliation, he shall notify the Board immediately and the Board shall thereafter schedule a public hearing to determine whether a violation of this chapter has been committed. The Board shall serve upon the respondent a statement of charges and a summons and shall serve upon all interested parties a notice of the time and place of hearing. The respondent or his authorized counsel may file such statements with the Board prior to the hearing date as it deems necessary in support of its position. The hearing shall be open to the public, except that the respondent may request in writing a private hearing; the determination of such request shall be discretionary with the Board. The hearing shall be held not less than fifteen days after service of the statement of charge and summons. The summons so issued must be signed by two members of the Board and the issuance of such summons shall require the attendance of named persons and the production of relevant documents and records. The failure to comply with a summons shall constitute a violation of this chapter. The interested parties may, at their option, appear before the Board in person or by duly authorized representative and may have the assistance of an attorney. The parties may present testimony and evidence, and the right to cross examine witnesses shall be preserved. All testimony and evidence shall be given under oath or by affirmation. The executive secretary shall keep a full record of the hearing which record shall be public and open to inspection by any person, and upon request by any principal party to the proceeding, the Board shall furnish such party a copy of the hearing record, if any, at such cost as the Board deems appropriate.
(i) If at the conclusion of the hearing the Board shall determine upon the preponderance of the evidence that the person complained against has violated this chapter, the Board shall, after consultation with the Solicitor in executive session, state its findings to and cause the Solicitor to prepare and issue an order under Board direction requiring the person complained against to cease and desist from such unlawful conduct and to take such affirmative action as will effectuate the purposes of this chapter, with notice that if the Board determines that the person complained against has not after fifteen calendar days following service of the Board’s order complied with the order, the Board will recertify the matter to the Solicitor for enforcement.
(j) Upon recertification the Solicitor shall seek compliance by appropriate civil action brought in the name of the Fair Housing Board of the Village, before a court of competent jurisdiction. In any such proceeding, where the Court determines that there has been a violation of this chapter, the Court shall award compensatory damages, and where appropriate, punitive damages, along with attorney fees. The Court may also order such other relief as it deems necessary or appropriate.
(k) If at the conclusion of the hearing, the Board shall determine upon the preponderance of the evidence of the record that the person complained against has not violated this chapter, the Board shall state and publish its findings and issue its order dismissing the complaint.
(Ord. 1158. Passed 10-9-79.)
(Ord. 1158. Passed 10-9-79.)