Letters to Editor—Chagrin Valley Times, Feb. 6, 2020


Time for change

After Judge Timothy Grendell was appointed juvenile and probate judge to replace Judge “Chip” Henry (who tragically was killed by a hit-skip driver), troubles started brewing with Judge Grendell’s control of our county park district. I have been following events of the past several years and am very concerned with several issues, like the frequent appointing of park commissioners, some of whom had no previous interest or professional background in park management, and then their firing after a few months if they didn’t conform to his wishes, or asserted themselves on an issue. Why? Public participation is no longer allowed at the Geauga Park District commissioners’ public meetings. Why?  And now I see our tax dollars being spent on big blue signs placed around the county, slick brochures and expensive mailings, always with his name and face on them. Why? This is not how our parks should be run. This was not how Judge Henry ran our parks.  I miss Judge Henry. It’s time for a change.

Rosemary Balazs

Chester Township

Vote for Matt Rambo

I support Matt Rambo for Geauga County Probate and Juvenile Court Judge in the March 17 Republican Primary. It is time we had a judge who can wisely and competently fulfill the duties of his office relating to our county treasure, the Geauga Park District.

The current Probate Judge, Timothy Grendell, has jeopardized the GPD since taking office in 2011, by appointing a revolving door of board commissioners whose actions have undermined the park mission to “conserve, preserve and protect.” Grendell’s GPD board has banned public comment at its monthly meetings since June 2016.

Judge Grendell does not have a transparent process for recruiting or selecting persons qualified to serve as park board commissioners. There are no open position announcements, application forms, or formal review procedures. Two of the three current park board members own and operate businesses that the park board regularly contracts with (Howard Bates of Arms Trucking and Pat Preston of Preston Auto). This conflict of interest requires Mr. Bates and Mr. Preston to abstain from voting on monthly spending plans, an essential component of board oversight. In the past, such voting abstentions have delayed paying the vouchers, disrupting financial management.

Judge Grendell believes in park board member turnover, and makes appointments to give opportunities to “people who want to contribute to the good of the county” (Chagrin Valley Times, Jan. 9, 2020, “Judge Names Pat Preston to Geauga Park Board”). I believe Matt Rambo can do much better than the Grendell version of “good.” Surely there are two other people in the county who could serve on the board whose business dealings with the parks don’t create a potential conflict of interest.

Geauga County needs a probate and juvenile court judge who can be judicious, transparent, and accountable in appointing a fully qualified board of commissioners to the Geauga Park Board. It’s time to renew accountability, stewardship and citizen input. Vote for Matt Rambo in the March 17 Republican Primary Election.

Ann Jacobson

South Russell

Categories: Commentary

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