In Maple Leaf- Judge gets corrected on the facts!! Letter to the Editor AND Editors note online at Geauga Maple Leaf today.
The following is from the Geauga County Maple Leaf website, posted on August 18. Our thanks to the Maple Leaf for permission to republish the article here.
COST TO RUSSELL TAXPAYERS?
Several facts in the Aug. 11 article concerning the Russell Township Park District and Russell Township Trustees were incorrect.
Please allow me to provide you with the accurate facts:
1. In December, 2015, I decided not to reappoint Mr. Ries, who had served more than 20 years on the Russell Township Park Board, to allow other Township residents the opportunity to serve their community.
2. As of December, 2015, Park Board member Roy Podojil had one more year on the Board and Park Board member Sandy Siegler had 2 more years on the Park Board.
3. In February 2016, Mr. Podojil quit the Board, though he had about one more year on his term. I did not ask Mr. Podojil to resign. Frankly, I expected Mr. Podojil and Mr. Siegler to finish their terms on the board, thereby providing leadership and continuity as the Board transitioned to allow other township residents the opportunity to participate and bring fresh ideas to the Board.
4. In April, 2016, Mr. Siegler quit the Park Board even though he had 2 more years on his term. I did not ask him to quit.
5. Unless Mr. Walder is clairvoyant, there is no way he could have known in December 2015 that Mr. Podojil and Mr. Siegler would prematurely quit the Township Park Board or who I would appoint or reappoint to the Park Board in December 2016 and 2017.
6. It would have been equally clairvoyant for Mr. Walder or anyone else to conclude in December, 2015 that a new Township Trustee controlled Park Board was needed to pursue the purchase of the Modroo property because the Modroo property issue did not surface until March-April 2016.
Russell Township residents should ask how can the creation of two township park boards be in the best interest of Russell Township residents when creating the second Township Trustee controlled park board will unnecessarily increase operating expenses and land acquisition costs to Russell Township taxpayers?
Simply put, had Mr. Podojil and Mr. Siegler not quit the Park Board, they would currently still be on the Board and could pursue the purchase of the Modroo property if they thought that was vital and immediately necessary. Further, it bears asking if the Modroo property was such a concern to Mr. Podojil and Mr. Siegler, why didn’t they purchase the property when they had the opportunity before resigning?
Thank you for the opportunity to provide Russell Township residents with the correct facts. I would have happily corrected the record had someone from the Geauga County Maple Leaf contacted me before publishing the article.
Judge Timothy J. Grendell
Geauga County Probate/Juvenile Court
Editor’s Note: Judge Grendell’s letter states he is providing accurate facts regarding several statements contained in the Aug. 11 article, “No Walk in the Park for Russell Trustees.”
The Geauga County Maple Leaf would be remiss if it did not note:
1. The article does not state Judge Grendell asked former Russell Township Park District Commissioner Roy Podojil to resign. It said Grendell replaced Podojil, who was, in fact, the next expiring commissioner, with Charlie Butters. That is a true statement. As Grendell’s letter indicates, Podojil had one more year left on the board, making him the next expiring commissioner. The Maple Leaf has reported on numerous occasions in the past that Podojil resigned.
2. The article does not state Grendell asked former Russell Township Park District Commissioner Sandy Siegler to quit. It states Siegler resigned after butting heads with Park Commissioner Linda O’Brien for several months. That is a true statement.
3. There is nothing in the Aug. 11 story to suggest Russell Township Fiscal Officer Charles Walder was “clairvoyant” in December 2015 or that he knew that Podojil or Siegler would resign from the park board. It states township officials were concerned in December 2015 about the future direction of the park district after learning of Grendell’s letter about not reappointing any of the then park commissioners. That is a true statement.
4. There is nothing in the Aug. 11 story to suggest township officials concluded in December 2015 that a new township-controlled park district was needed to pursue the purchase of the Modroo property. Walder noted the township owns several properties that are not under the control of its current park board and trustees decided to pursue creation of an ORC 511 park district after exploring other options to gain and maintain control over its park land. The decision to research formation of a 511 park district was made before they knew the Modroo property was available this spring.