Park commissioners vote down public comment—again

At the Geauga Park District Board of Commissioners meeting on Monday September 13, after years of agitation by Protect Geauga Parks for public comment at Geauga Park District meetings, board member Patrick Preston handed out a proposal that would offer a very limited opportunity for public comment at the monthly park board meetings.

Comments would be pre-screened before being allowed. Comments and questioned would be required to be submitted by e-mail in advance of any meeting. Since the public is generally unaware of the topics under discussion at the meeting until after it has occurred, this would make it difficult to offer public input into issues prior to board decisions. Moreover, the comments would be screened and could easily be withheld from discussion at the meetings if they were not sufficiently in agreement with park positions and policies.

We should note that we have been told in the past that our concerns and questions can be submitted by e-mail. Over the past five years many e-mails have been sent, but few, if any have received a response.

 The vote on the proposal was tied 2-2, so the motion did not pass. Howard Bates of Arms Trucking and Mario Innocenzi voted no, while Dennis Ibold and Patrick Preston voted in favor of public comment.  A fifth board member, William Dieterle was absent for a third consecutive monthly meeting. 

So once again valuable input of citizens is rejected. The message from Grendell’s Park District is clear, just pay me your tax levy money and keep your mouth shut!

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