Letters to the editor—Chagrin Valley Times, April 26, 2018

Open records important

I bet nearly all of us appreciate the founding fathers adopting the Bill of Rights, but they missed one. Had I been there squabbling over the issues with them, I bet I could have convinced them to add a sunshine bill to the bill of rights. However, likely had the Judge Timothy Grendell appointed park commissioner Andrej Lah been sitting beside me, I bet he would have been one of those fighting tooth and nail against those rights.

Just recently Mr. Lah received a good verbal spanking by the special master of the Court of Claims. One of Protect Geauga Park’s board members, Shelley Chernin, had filed a legal complaint with the court of claims because of the refusal of the Geauga park board to release a resident’s letter that Mr. Lah had read at an official park board meeting. It is obvious from reading the letter and listening to Mr. Lah’s comments at two board meetings the he was seriously mischaracterizing the letter and using it as an excuse to lambast Protect Geauga Parks. See for yourself by reading the woman’s letter, special master’s report and viewing the video of Mr. Lah at the April meeting on the Protect Geauga Parks website (

I’m guessing that had he been a founder, Mr. Lah would have been particularly vociferous in fighting against the First Amendment giving us the right of freedom of speech since he and the other commissioners have continued to not permit public comment or questions at commissioners meetings and any emailed questions to the board typically find their way into the park board’s black hole never to emerge again or be answered.

Time for a probate judge, park board and park director that appreciate the Bill of Rights and put their appreciation into action.

John G. Augustine

Parkman Township

Transparency matters

In regards to the Geauga Park District, its board of trustees and the probate Judge, it would appear that the lack of transparency which has permeated its relationship with the citizens of Geauga County since 2011 continues.

Why in the world does a special master of the Ohio Court of Claims need to recommend that the court issue an order for a copy of a letter from a board meeting from last Aug 8. So much time, energy and monies expended by the park board and private citizens on this exercise instead of simply “opening up meetings for public questions and comments.” Open dialogue is needed. The closed manner in which monthly meetings are now conducted insults not only the board, but also any one attending. The citizens of the county clearly have a right to ask questions in a civil manner and expect answers in a reciprocal manner.

We owe a huge “thank you” to Shelley Chernin and Protect Geauga Parks for their continued effort to “shine the light of transparency on the park district board, director and probate judge.”

Bill Franz

Bainbridge Township

Categories: Commentary

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