Letters to the Editor—

Chagrin Valley Times—June 30, 2016

Judge big on self-promotion

      In the new Summer 2016 Voices of Nature, a seasonal guide to programs, special events and current news of Geauga Park District, Page 2 shows pictures of the board of park commissioners and executive director with the statement: “Geauga Park District invites and encourages you to come and let your voice be heard. Please stop by at any time during one of our upcoming Board of Park Commissioners meetings.”

      Now, how can that be possible since Executive Director John Oros has proposed and Geauga park commissioners are approving the removal of the public-comment section in their meetings? I guess the executive director and park commissioners really mean to say, “Please come and see how we run your park system without your input, as we do not care what you think of our actions and decisions.”

      On the same page of Voices of Nature, Probate and Juvenile Judge Timothy J. Grendell continues his monthly non-park spiel “From the Bench” articles (Note, this is normally where one would expect the Geauga Park executive director to have a voice and not a judge): “‘The Wall That Heals,'” a memorial to Vietnam Vets, will be coming to the Geauga County Fairgrounds in Burton in September. This is a fantastic project we should be proud to have that honors our Vietnam Veterans who saw action and those who never came back.”

      This time the judge takes half of his space in a Geauga Park District magazine to do a little self-publicity by noting he is a veteran and he will be in the honor guard for this Wall. This statement by the judge seems only to be self-promotion and has very little to do with “Preserve, Conserve and Protect” part of the Geauga Park District.

      Why can’t this judge wait another four years till he is up for another election to give us his BS? Or is he doing damage control now for a reason?

Katherine Malmquist, South Russell

Perhaps judge feels bite

      In the previous edition of Voices of Nature, the newsletter of Geauga Park District, Probate Judge Tim Grendell shamelessly used more than half a page in this public forum to attack Protect Geauga Parks. You may have wondered, as I did, how a judge can get away with such behavior.

      Well, maybe he can’t. In the latest park newsletter, the judge’s benign comments consume less than half that space, even with larger type. Gone for the moment are the inappropriate political attacks on citizens of Geauga County. Apparently, he is trying to act more “judicial.”

      This uncharacteristic change in behavior may be evidence of the judge’s vulnerability. Despite his proclamations of unfettered power and authority, he does have to answer to the Ohio Supreme Court and to Ohio state legislators in Columbus.

      And so, if you are a supporter of Protect Geauga Parks or have written a letter to the editor, signed the petition to remove this probate judge from office, contacted your state legislators, submitted a complaint to the Ohio Supreme Court or have stepped up in some way to “Take Back Geauga Parks,” then please take heart. These actions have teeth! And apparently the judge is feeling the bite.

      But let’s not be satisfied with a mere show of written restraint. Beware of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I believe this shameless judge is still a threat to the parks that we know and love.

Kathleen O. Webb, Munson

Disconcerting park issues

      Regarding the Geauga Park District, Judge Tim Grendell, Executive Director John Oros and the three park commissioners who have a total institutional memory of approximately 24 months or less, there are a number of very disconcerting issues which have been brought to the attention of the citizens of Geauga County.

      As I’d mentioned in my letter last March, there is still no five-year strategic plan. There has been no report to the public since 2013. Mr. Grendell and the commissioners have continually ignored and decided not to publish the public survey of Geauga citizens conducted in March 2015, which cost the taxpayers $9,700.

      As of the May meeting of the Geauga parks commission, there is now no agenda presented to the public before the meetings. The few minutes of time allotted for public comment have been completely eliminated. Also, the  meeting dates, times and locations seem to continue to be intentionally shuffled around, making it very difficult for citizens to attend.

      As Mr. Grendell pointed out to the citizens of Geauga County last February regarding the ideas of law, fairness and due process, they are actually being reduced, ignored and eliminated by the judge, the parks director and the three commissioners.

      Without a budget, how can citizens question the validity of a $130,000-to-$180,000 expenditure for advertising of the Geauga parks on television, glossy print, at $11,000 a run, and online. Advertising for the Geauga parks? Really?

      My question to this leadership is: “Do you really feel comfortable not having an open dialogue with your neighbors who are citizens and taxpayers in Geauga County? Are you at least uncomfortable performing a surrogate role for Tim Grendell? I’m not clear where the law, fairness and due process are in this picture of convoluted, parochial, small-minded politics.

      Please help Protect Geauga Parks. Continue to attempt to “shine a light” on this very opaque process Mr. Grendell describes as law, fairness and due process.

Bill Franz, Bainbridge

Categories: News

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