From the Chagrin Valley Times, March 17, 2016
Painful pat on judge’s back
This is in response to the letter to the editor praising Judge Timothy Grendell for suspending the Geauga Park District levy.
Marilou Strathern, of Chester, must be truly thrilled with the extra cup of Starbucks coffee per week or the loaf of bread per week that each family in Geauga is able to afford at the cost of money that was voted on by the taxpayers of Geauga County to preserve, protect and conserve the natural areas in our beautiful parks for future generations, for wildlife, for clean air and clean water.
This is just another example of Judge Grendell risking shoulder dislocation patting himself on the back for saving families a minuscule amount of money at the expense of the future health and well-being of our children and grandchildren. He repeatedly touts his accomplishments while disseminating untruths, such as that citizens do not want children in the parks.
Sorry, Ms. Strathern, Judge Grendell and all his “believers.” This is just another smoke-and-mirrors agenda to create the Grendell Sportsmen’s Paradise in the Grendell Parks in Grendell County.
The judge, however, has no inhibitions about spending taxpayer money for the phenomenal increase in his own court budget. I guess we know where all the savings on the park levy will actually end up.
Sandra Buckles, Troy
Institutional memory lost
So what exactly is institutional memory? Well, it’s the ability of any institution to retain enough competent, experienced people through time so as to be an effective institution and avoid a continuous series of blunders as have been occurring in our Geauga County parks in recent years.
The Geauga Park District seems to be doing a great job of neglecting institutional memory, instead fostering institutional amnesia by firing, driving out or making life miserable for many competent employees whose view of why we have parks does not jive with those of Judge Timothy J. Grendell’s chosen ones.
The latest person to be fired is park Finance Director Michelle Pennell, who was reportedly escorted out of the park administrative building after being fired. Mrs. Pennell was a competent, highly respected professional who was in high regard by all pre-Judge Grendell park administrators and all of her previous employers. She will be missed by many of us. Thanks, Michelle Pennell, for your many years of service to the parks and the community.
Anyone present at the park commissioners meeting in February would have witnessed a great example of the lack of institutional memory. One commissioner asked if the parks considered introducing white Amur fish to park ponds for aquatic weed control, as he had good luck with their introduction in his farm pond. Park administration people present talked positively of their possible use, yet no one seems to have known that the parks tried such an introduction several years ago, and it was an unmitigated disaster.
Fostering valuable institutional memory in an organization starts at the top. It won’t happen with leadership that thinks keeping employees in fear and regular firing is a good thing. It won’t happen when experienced, knowledgeable park people are not at commissioners meetings when important decisions are being made. It won’t happen when people in the audience are ignored or their comments discounted.
It’s time for those with the power to use their power for the good of the parks. Don’t tell us we need to wait for the next election. Far too much damage will ensue by then.
John G. Augustine, Parkman
Sandy, I think you are over estimating the amount of tax savings per household. We figured our ‘bonus’ is about $20 per year, and if we put that toward a cup of coffee and a loaf of bread each week we would spend the total in two or three weeks. Squandering our priceless legacy of natural areas for such a paltry amount… shameful.