Yesterday, nine of our members converged on the Statehouse in Columbus to deliver petitions signed by over 1000 citizens asking for the removal of Timothy Grendell from the position of Juvenile/Probate Court Judge in Geauga County. The group met individually with several State Representatives and Senators as well as with staff members. The entire General Assembly received a copy of the petitions as well as news items from the Plain Dealer and other sources and all the standard information about our organization.
We were very well received. Nearly everyone we talked to was aware of the issues we are trying to pursue and not one person told us that our positions are unreasonable or ill-informed. Representative John Patterson and Senator John Eckland in particular gave us a great deal of their time and engaged in a thoughtful discussion about the issues surrounding the Parks and Judge Grendell’s actions that have caused so much turmoil. However, it’s still a tall order to get a two-thirds vote of both houses of the Legislature to remove a judge from office and no one was very confident that our efforts in that regard will ultimately succeed. We pointed to the Plain Dealer editorial which calls for removal of jurisdiction over Park Districts from Probate Courts statewide and urged them to consider introducing legislation to accomplish that and also to establish standards that Park Board Commissioners should have to meet in order to qualify for appointment.
It remains to be seen whether this effort on our part will ultimately succeed. We must remember that, in terms of initiating legislative action, we are still at the beginning of a process. The end may not be in sight for many more months—or even years. But we’re in it to win it.