Feeding at Public Trough
I read with interest the Honorable Judge T.J. Grendell’s justification for not renewing a long-standing, well-respected, highly-qualified local park board member and replacing him with one of the judge’s political prote?ge?s.
It seems the Judge believes that change is better than experience, that new faces are better than institutional memory, that people who will owe him something are better than people with knowledge.
Now, I must give the Judge credit for showing some political courage. Like many, I received a robo call from him endorsing the Sandy Hook Promise. His call focused on bullying and its prevention, but we all know that Sandy Hook’s primary focus is on gun regulation. One has to admire him for endorsing this group’s goals, some of which may be held in disfavor by many in the county.
However, that said, I have witnessed firsthand the disruptions caused by the judge’s constant changes at the Geauga Park District Board.
Board members do not know the history of issues and that matters have been previously decided and now are being rediscussed because the judge was unhappy with the first outcome; they do not understand the difficult budgeting process; they cannot make and implement long-term plans.
The result is there is no true oversight by the Board and the judge’s hand-picked director leads the Board down the Judge’s predetermined path.
If the Judge truly believes that random change is good and that, to quote him, “there are no lifetime appointments,” then he should resign his position. To quote a letter my wife wrote when the judge manipulated the Ohio House and Senate elections in order to avoid being disqualified by term-limit laws, “It’s time for the Grendells to stop feeding at the public trough.”
Some people have responded to my recent letter defending Judge Tim Grendell for hiring his campaign manager as his Juvenile and Probate court constable, and the no-bid contract he awarded to Tea Party candidate Linda O’Brien. They ask why I didn’t mention Kim Laurie, like I was trying to hide that one.
It is true that the Judge fired some employees, created a new position of Budget Coordinator and Liaison for the Juvenile and Probate court, and then gave failed Lake County Tea Party candidate Kimberly Laurie the job.
As I see it, that’s only three examples of when Judge Grendell used the power and the budget of his office to help out loyal friends and political allies. That doesn’t mean that it’s cronyism. He’s simply helping friends have good jobs until their next opportunity comes along.
Yes, I know Ms. Laurie is running for Lake County Commissioner again. But if that doesn’t work out for her, she’ll still have her Geauga County job. What’s so wrong about that?