The following article appeared today on Cleveland.com, the online news site of the Plain Dealer. You can read the full article at http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2016/08/can_the_public_comment_at_geau.html
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on August 04, 2016 at 7:00 AM, updated August 04, 2016 at 7:01 AM
CLEVELAND, Ohio – A change in the bylaws for the Geauga County Park District could effectively muzzle public input into how the parks are run, advocates for park preservation say.
The changes, approved at the last meeting by the district’s board of commissioners, streamlined the rules for what is required in the board’s meeting agendas. A public comment period no longer is required.
Members of Protect Geauga Parks, a non-profit organization that advocates preservation of the parks and their resources, say the change is a reaction to their commenting at meetings. A survey by the group could find no other park district in Ohio that does not allow public comment.
The group has often been at odds with the board and with Geauga County Probate Judget Timothy Grendell, who appoints board members. It has objected to decisions it believes damage the natural beauty and resources, such as allowing snowmobiling on trails, and complained that the judge exerts too much influence over his appointees toward changing the park district’s focus from conservation to recreation.