Judge Tim Grendell’s latest Geauga Parks power play reinforces need to revamp Ohio law on park oversight powers: editorial

The Plain Dealer editorial referenced in our previous post is now also available on and includes links to all the articles the PD has published related to the Geauga and Mahoning County parks controversies.

By Editorial Board
on April 26, 2017 at 5:49 AM, updated April 26, 2017 at 5:50 AM

During more than five years on the bench, Geauga County Probate/Juvenile Court Judge Timothy J. Grendell has attempted to expand his statutory authority over park districts to become sole arbiter of how his county’s park system ought to be run.

This has not worked out well.

January: Geauga Park board moves Tuesday meeting to courthouse for ‘safety and security’

John Oros, executive director of the Geauga Park District, says his board has moved its Jan. 10, 2017, meeting to Probate Court for safety and security after disruption at recent meetings. District critics say the move is part of a drive to silence them.

His dictatorial style of micromanagement and attempts to suppress citizen input have resulted in unprecedented turnover on the three-member county Park Board of Commissioners. His approach also has drawn the ire of conservationists trying to protect the pristine nature of the county’s parks from the judge’s view that they ought to be used as recreation centers.

A year ago, our editorial board proposed a solution: Remove oversight of park districts from probate judges and give it to county commissioners – where many citizens probably already presume it resides.

2016: Time to remove Judge Grendell from Geauga parks oversight: editorial

The case of Judge Timothy J. Grendell in Geauga County is Exhibit No. 1 for why the Ohio legislature should reconsider the 99-year-old law that places county park districts under the unfettered direction of their probate judge, writes the editorial board.

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