Thursday, December 31, 2009


The head of Classic automotive group, Jim Brown, resigned from the Lake County Port Authority Board. Brown Cited that he was "tired of" leaving board meetings because of the "chatter" associated with his conflicts of interest that have arisen since he is the fixed based operator (FBO) at Lost Nation Airport and on the Board. See the News-Herald story here.

Mayor Dave Anderson should have know better.

Jim Brown will still try to steer the County Port Authority into buying the Airport for his pleasure and business interests.

Good riddens!

Your loyal blog will take credit as some of the chatter.

More on this later.

Ohio Elks Associations gives Concord a small Grant: Hats off to Them!

The News-Herald ran a story today about the installation of so called "Knox-Boxes" being installed on the homes of elderly residents. For a change NO TAX MONEY WAS USED!

The Ohio Elks Association gave Concord Township a $750 grant to buy four boxes to lend to the Community.

Hats off to the Ohio Elks Association!

Wouldn't it be great to see Community Organizations raise money from the demographics they serve for use like this?! I think so!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Petition filings: Let's Hope Dan Troy and Steve Latourette get some competition

We might see some competition in the Fall 2010 elections.

Concord Township Trustee Chris Galloway has pulled petitions at the Lake County Board of Elections to run for County Commissioner seat that expires in 2010 now held by Commissioner Dan Troy.

The US 14th Congressional race for this fall saw Deputy Chief of Staff Dino Disanto pull petitions for U.S. Rep. Steve Latourette. Couldn't Latourette even show up himself? Also pulling petitions were Paul Bailey and John Green, both Lake County residents.

We can only hope one of these guys has a lot of money and give Steve Latourette a serious competition; Latourette has been spending tax dollars like a kid in a candy store since being put on the House Appropriations Committee.

In the Ohio 62nd House district only Loraine Fende pulled petitions for the seat she holds.

Finally, Painseville Municipal Court Judge Michael A. Cicconetti pulled petitions to run for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Let's hope Dan Troy and Steve Latourette are vigorously challenged!

Madison: hold onto to your wallets!

Get ready Madison School District...the new School Board is coming...hold onto your wallets! The spills the beans on the new Madison School Board's Plan to "stick it to the tax payers," by asking for the approval of bond issue to match State tax dollars for school construction. Here is the article. This quote sets the stage:

The clock is ticking for the Madison School Board to get on next year's ballot to again seek approval of a bond issue to rebuild its campuses and a separate operating levy to halt deficit spending.

These two quotes from the article give us some hope for Madison

We haven't passed any new money in 20 years, and the deficit levy has nothing to do with the school construction project
The five-member school board saw 2007 voters reject a combined $33.6 million (4.81-mill) bond issue for reconstruction and a 0.5-mill, 23-year operating levy to avoid school financing deficits

I think the people of Madison have shown great fiscal discipline by keeping the school board and teacher's union at bay for twenty years!

I simply don't care what excuse the article offers. For the record, the article makes the case on behalf of the new school board elect that if they do not pass the bond issue Madison will miss out on millions of State tax dollars.

Too bad. I don't want you to have those tax dollars either.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dan Troy and Gov't Reform

Lake County Commissioner Board President Dan Troy is a vice Chair of the Ohio Commission for Local Government Reform.

See the article here.

Having Dan Troy as any part of an entity studying Gov't reform is the dictionary definition of "The wolf watching the hen's house."

Dan Troy is a career politician; Dan Troy is a double-dipper. Both of these facts should him from studying local Gov't reform. Dan Troy is part of the problem.

Do you think Dan Troy will suggest cost saving measures such as the elimination of duplicated services at the City and County Levels? Do you think Dan Troy will suggest eliminating the positions of some local elected officials and/or the civil service employees that work for them?

How about having some tax paying citizens who do not receive pay checks, b preculde enefits, AND a pension from public dollars study local Gov't reform.

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Twist on Double Dipping

Does your friendly City or County employee also serve as an elected official? Does that smiling face behind the wheel of City or County snow plow serve on City Council? How about that hard working county administrator...does he serve on a City Council or as a part-time Mayor!?

Granted by numbers there are only dozens, or perhaps a hundred or so special folks who are City or County Employees that also serve as elected officials in Lake County. Why these people luck?

Well besides participation the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) and the tax-payer funded contributions these people enjoy...time is also vested on top of that as an elected official simultaneously!

That's right!!!! You can earn even more time towards a generous OPERS pension if you are a city or County employee AND you can finagle a seat on City Council or as a part-time Mayor.

My favorite double dipper of this sort is Lake County Assistant Administrator Bill Margalis who has served as Council President of Wickliffe, and is now going to be Mayor!

Who is your favorite double dipper of this sort?

Double Dipping

Last week the News-Herald ran a story about so-called "double dipping. Here is a link to the story by Dianne Ryder.

The definition of "double-dip" is to "obtain income in two different ways, usually in an illicit matter."

Precisely, the double-dipping that we are referring to is the act of of a Public Employee, that is elected official (e.g. Auditor, County Commissioner, etc.); civil servant (e.g. teacher, superintendent, county administrator, other county employee, city worker) retires from public service and is re-hired after a short period. Upon re-hire the retired public employee collects the Ohio Public Employee Retirement System (OPERS) pension AND the salary at the position they were re-hired to fill.

This activity is rampant everywhere. In Lake County Commissioners Dan Troy and Bob Aufuldish served for many years as elected officials and now collections OPERS pensions and salaries as County Commissioners.

Superintendent Keith Miller of the Willoughby-Eastlake Schools is retired and collecting a pension while serving as WEL Superintendent.

With unemployment ballooning...the young not being able to find we need elected officials, city, county and state civil servants collecting a pension and a salary? Should they be taking up valuable jobs after decades of service?

Mind you: DOUBLE-DIPPING IS LEGAL IN OHIO. But, is it ethical?

Anyone want to point out more double-dippers?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tim Grendell and State Senators May have to Work on Christmas

Governor Strickland is threatening to keep Ohio's Senate in Session by proclamation, allowed by State Constitution, in order to force a budget compromise on a $851 million budget shortfall: EVEN ON CHRISTMAS!

See the Plain Dealer article here.

Governor Strickland has BADLY,BADLY, BADLY bungled the State budget for 2010: video lottery terminals fell through, less stimulus money than bloated State Government needed came through, so now the Governor's fix is raise taxes 4.2% for the next year.

To be fair, Stickland proposed and Ohio's Legislature agreed to suspend the 4.2% income tax cut for this year that was signed into law a few years ago.

Both Loraine Fende and Mark Schneider, the State Representatives for Lake county, agreed with the Governor and voted to raise your taxes.

Ohio's Senate is NOT going along with the plan, YET.

Will Tim Grendell and other State Senator's defend our pocket books and say "no" to the tax hike?

Lake County Sales Tax Stays at 6.25% !! We (the Residents) had an impact!!

That's right, WE, the RESIDENTS of Lake County have swayed the Lake County Commissioners to hold the sales tax rate at 6.25%. The News-Herald has several comments from the Lake County Commissioners here.

This loyal blog, active residents, and local radio programs put the pressure on the Commissioners and the sales tax stayed the same!

The Commisoners cut the budget by a paltry 3%, and passed a temporary budget of about $15 billion. So, we are not out of the woods. Ohio Revised Code requires a permanent budget by April. That being said...we may be in for a surprise in a few months.

However, with Board President Dan Troy up for reelection in 2010 I am sure the sales tax will stay the same.

There is no buzz yet on a republican candidate for Commisoner...ahem Dale Fellows!

Wickliffe School Board Saga

As the school book turns?

The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) cleared Vicki Wheatley of any wrong doing that may have endangered her educator's license. A News-Herald article discusses the recent development here.

The Wickliffe Schools have been like the Wild West this year. During the past election there were political action committees operating illegally, instults traded between board members and teachers, ..., the Vicki Wheatley saga, ..., and new school board members to boot!

Anyhow, Vicki Wheatley was the principle of Wickliffe Highschool. At the end of last school year Ms. Wheately was put on paid administrative leave by the school district over an issue involving the placement of students in classes for credit that occured at the same time and possibily graduating students with enough credits according to the ODE, but not Wickliffe's School Board.

With that said...Ms Wheatley has maintained her innocence and has been vindicated as far as we are concerned. Congrats Ms. Wheately! I hope your federal law suit teaches the Wickliffe School Board and Kathleen Cintavey a lesson.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Delay of Game: Port Authority pushes report and public meetings back a few months

According to the story, here, Lake County Port Authority Officials are delaying the feasibility study and report on Lost Nation Airport. Don't worry though, the Port Authority Executive Director says report is going well!

I wonder if the problem is really that Jim Brown, Port Authority Board Member and Lost Nation Fixed Based Operator (FBO), needs more time to convince fellows Port Board members that the prudent thing to do is buy the Airpot from the City of Willoughby.

Shame on Willoughby City Council for Authorizing Mayor Dave Anderson's request to enter into a contract with Jim Brown as the FBO for Lost Nation Airport.

I bet you that the report will conclude by suggesting that Lake County needs the Lost Nation Airport and that the Port Authority must make financial arrangements to buy it from Willoughby!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Looking Back: County's budget woes and how we got to recent job cuts

On October 15th the News-Herald ran an article in which the Commissioners asked Department Heads to work together to reduce the budget by 7% - 12%, and that they instituted a "soft hiring freeze. See the article here. The article said layoffs would be avoided at all costs. Furthermore, the Commissioners wail and gnash teeth at the fact that property tax collections are down due to sinking property values and sales tax collections are down.

Fast forward to November 18th: the commissioners informed us in a News-Herald article that the sales tax collections were down about 6%. See the article here. Even with massive federal government spending to encourage car sales through October were no help!

Yikes! Sounds like we are being set-up for a sales-tax increase, or another property tax increase!

Guess at all costs lead to layoffs!

Fast forward to November 25th: the News-Herald reported that Sheriff Dan Dunlap will layoff 14, close a jail, and scale back court house security. See the article here.

Then, yesterday we learn more layoffs are taking place at the Sheriff's Office and in the Prosecutor's Office. See the article here. Two road deputies from the Sheriff's Office, three attorneys and secretaries from the Prosecutor's office got pink slipped.

I applaud the Commissioners for cutting the budget. Seriously, thank-you. But, why does it always happen at the expense of safety forces? No room to scale back in the utilities, engineer's office, etc.?

I would like to here what else people think could be cut in Lake County.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What do the Lake County Commissioners Do?

Q: What do the Lake County Commissioners do?

A: Taken from their own; website

Duties & Staffing

The Board of Lake County Commissioners has both quasi-legislative and quasi-administrative powers and through resolutions adopted during their regular weekly meeting, sets the administrative policy for county government. While the Commissioners have no power to initiate legislation, they do exercise powers granted to them by the Ohio General Assembly through state law.

The Commissioners are responsible for the appropriations of the county tax revenues through the adoption of the annual county budget. The County operates on a January 1 through December 31 fiscal year and must adopt the final budget no later than April 1 of each year. The budget includes appropriations for the numerous county offices, including those offices headed by other elected officials. The Commissioners have the power to levy taxes and to approve the placement of tax levies and bond issues on the ballot for consideration by county voters. The Commissioners also administer all federal grant monies.

The Commissioners hold title to all county owned property and are responsible for the upkeep. By law, they must provide office space for all county offices. They must build the facilities necessary to house various offices such as the Courtrooms, the Jail, Engineer's facilities and parking. The Commissioners award all contracts for purchase and construction projects.


Sad day in Lake County: More Layoffs

Perhaps we are starting to see Government have to face reality: layoffs. Please understand that there are not too many things more sad than seeing another lose their job.

However, years of living high off the hog...raises...increased benefits...time off...longevity pay...had to catch-up with everyone.

The News-Herald details more jobs lost in county offices: sheriff deputies, prosecutors, ...; see the article here.

More details to come tonight...stay tuned!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Teachers union in Fairport Harbor need to take page from the Willoughby-Eastlake Schools Playbook.

Perhaps the Fairport Harbor Education Association should settle down with the heavy handed statements. The News-Herald details how the Fairport Harbor Education Association is doing what unions, a union is what they are, do best: bully, intimidate, whine! See the News-Herald article, here.

"In Fairport Harbor, the steelheads are running, but negotiations between the school employees and the board are at a standstill. Maybe the superintendent is waiting for deer season," began Fairport Harbor Education Association spokeswoman Becca Grunda Oct. 28.

This quote, taken from the News-Herald story, is attributed to union representatives trying to negotiate a new raise and more benefits...I mean a new contract.

The Fairport Harbor Education Association should know better!

Look at the Willoughby-Easlake (WEL) School District's voters: despite a deep recession, decreasing wages and benefits, lost jobs, etc. the voters handed WEL schools and the Willoughby-Eastlake Teacher's Association (WETa) more money!

Don't be fooled by Superintendent Keith Miller's negotiated wage freezes: Keith Miller and the two new School Board Members (both with teaching backgrounds) will give the unions generous raises next year.

Have hope Fairport Harbor! Wait a year on the raises. You will be rewarded handsomely.

I guarantee that the Willoughby-Eastlake School Board and Administration will give HUGE raises out next year!!!! Fairport Harbor should have had a game plan like Superintendent Keith Miller and the Willoughby-Eastlake Teachers Association.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

News Today

New City Manager at the helm in Mentor

Wayward boys in Lake County need a new home

Lake County Residents not getting a good deal on electricity

NOPEC sells Lake County Short

The North East Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC) negotiated a paltry 6% discount for its member communities' residents, and a 4% discount for commercial customers from First Energy Solutions for residential electricity supplies. NOPEC released a statement on their Website today, see here.

The following picture is taken from NOPEC's website and lists the Lake County member communities.

A 6% discount is all we get? let us down! We had a 10% discount this year! Times are tough...companies want business. All you got us was 6%?

According to the article NOPEC negotiated with First Energy Solutions (FES) a one time $12 million grant for energy conservation in FES' service area.

The press release goes on to say that FES will save NOPEC residential and commercial members $19 million through 2019.

A 6% discount is letting FES off too easy.