Park Board holds meeting in courtroom under tight security

     The GPD board meeting, usually held in one of the Park facilities, was

moved to the Probate/Juvenile Court for today’s meeting. While no reason

was offered to citizens who called earlier this week – it was released to

the press that the meeting was moved for “safety and security reasons.”

John Oros was quoted, “the board meetings have been disruptive at times.”

Evidently, asking questions is “disruptive” to those who want to conduct

public business secretly.

     At the Courthouse, attendees were required to pass through a metal

detector and most were advised that they needed to turn off or surrender

their cell phones. At 9:00 AM—30 minutes prior to the announced start of the

meeting— all park board members were in the meeting room with the door

closed. Members of the public were refused admittance. Approximately 30

citizens waited in the corridor while the board discussed unknown topics.

     Members of the public were not permitted to bring cameras and recording devices

into the meeting. The reporter from the Plain Dealer was granted an exception

to the no recording rule.

     New board member, Andrej Lah, was in place, introduced as having been

sworn in this morning. Refreshingly, Mr. Lah asked pertinent questions

about plans that he had evidently had the opportunity to study prior to

the meeting. We applaud his questions but wonder when he was given the

documents, having only been sworn in that morning. Once again there was very

little question or comment from the other board members, even when

presented with a replacement for the financial report that they had

approved in less than 8 minutes at last month’s meeting. Director Oros

mentioned a formatting error that moved sections of the financial document

out of place – leading members of the public to wonder if the board

members had even looked at the financial document that they so quickly

approved at the Dec.13th meeting.

     Members of the public were mostly silent at this meeting, partly due to

the fact that no outrageous new developments were presented as fact with

zero oversight, and partly due to the uncertainty of the venue. The

director’s goal of squelching public oversight was quite successful.

(Probably illegal—but successful.)

     The entire public meeting was completed in 17 minutes. The board called

for executive session which lasted another 15–20 minutes but resulted in

no further business or votes. The next meeting was scheduled for Feb.14th

with the location to be decided.

     Responsible citizens still ask “How and where are park decisions being

made?” Protect Geauga Parks encourages all citizens to exercise their

right to attend these public meetings despite the fact that Judge

Grendell’s handpicked Commissioners have eliminated all public comment. Public

meetings are meant to be open so that the public can understand how

decisions are made concerning our tax dollars and public property. It is

more important than ever for responsible citizens hold this public board

responsible to the PUBLIC.

Thank you!

Kathy Hanratty, President, Protect Geauga Parks

1 reply »

  1. It’s pretty clear that the meeting today was in violation of the Open Meetings Act. They met in private before the meeting officially began and the “executive session” resulted in no additional business. So what were they doing?

    The refusal to allow recording devices in the room had only one purpose—to make it difficult to document the proceedings so anything said about it later could be characterized as inaccurate.


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