UPDATE: (06/30/2009 - TUESDAY AT 12:30 AM)
STARK COUNTY COMMISSIONER TODD BOSLEY
The fact that Mrs. Shafer does not know there is a definitive plan illustrates my point. They have not been to a meeting for many months and are making decisions based on hear say (second hand information)!! The Stark Council of Governments wants to hear why they are opposed, but they (the Trustees) will not make themselves available.
Here are some facts -
1) Cencom has an operating budget greater than $400,000.00 per year which is subsidized by Nimishillen Township residents for other communities dispatching needs. That means Nimishillen Township residents pay for the dispatching of other communities such as Perry and Canton Township.
2) Cencom cannot add any additional users until it purchases additional equipment which costs hundreds of thousands of dollars
3) The Trustees have not attended a SCOG Governance Committee meeting in over a year
4) Cencom will be forced to close if the SCOG Central dispatch system opens because no community will pay for dispatching if the County offers it for free
5) Even if Cencom remained open to service itself, it would not recieve 911 calls directly, they would still have to be transferred. This would create further delays and confusion for residents of Nimishillen in need of help. How could any Trustee say this would benefit the Township? It would create greater delays and put the Township in bankruptcy.
The conclusion to this matter is very simple. Nimishillen Township residents cannot shoulder the cost of dispatching on its own. The $400,000 plus operating cost would put the Township into bankruptcy and residents would suffer greatly by the decreased response time. There is no good old boys club as Mrs. Shafer describes, but how would she know since she has not taken the time to show up for a meeting in over a year.
I CHALLENGE ALL THREE NIMISHILLEN TOWNSHIP TRUSTEE'S TO SHOW UP AT THE NEXT SCOG GOVERANCE MEETING AND PRESENT THEIR CASE TO THE BOARD!
Your Stark County Commissioner
UPDATE: (06/29/2009 - MONDAY AT 11:30 AM)
NIMISHILLEN TOWNSHIP TRUSTEE LISA SHAFER
After reading the article, "Mule Peterson can-not-a go SCOG on 9-1-1" it is more apparent that even Commissioner Todd Bosley has lost touch with the direction that the 9-1-1 Project is headed.
First of all, Commissioner Bosley must be very confused because over the past 18 months or so I have attended many SCOGS meetings as well as Chief Peterson thru out the process. Attending the meetings however is more of a spectator status rather than being a participant.
In addition, I can assure you that the Nimishillen Township Trustees and the Chief are making educated decisions based on what is best for our community and the agencies that we serve. Our Board voted unanimously to remove ourselves from participation on the 9-1-1 committee which should not be confused with our participation in SCOGS.
The 9-1-1 project continues whether we participate or not . Why is it that Nimishillen and Cencom is the center of attention? Could it be because we refuse to be part of the "good old boys club?" The county has no definitive plan and too many unanswered questions... Not to mention, a sales tax that was imposed on the people that is still in question. Will it be on the ballot? This project should be about saving lives and making Stark County a leader in 9-1-1. Somewhere along the way the 9-1-1 Project has turned into a political three ring circus. Politicians serving their best interests not the interests of those they are sworn to serve.
For those who may be confused by Commissioner Bosley's statements, let me make this perfectly clear. Cencom is not closing.
Nimishillen Township Trustee
UPDATE: (06/28/2009 - SUNDAY - AT 12:15 PM)
COMMISSIONER BOSLEY RESPONDS TO NIMISHILLEN FIRE CHIEF PETERSON
I respect Chief Peterson and his views on this matter. I know he believes in the safety and well being of the public. He truely cares about Nimishillen Township residents.
I believe all three Nimishillen Township Trustee's are making decisions based on hear say with regards to SCOG dispatch plans. Had any of the Nimishillen Township Trustee's actually attended the SCOG meetings held on this subject, they might have been able to give Chief Peterson and the people of Nimishillen Township more accurate information regarding 9-1-1.
SCOG is willing to work with Nimishillen Township and incorporate their dispatch equipment into the County plan. SCOG will have to purchase additional equipment and I believe it should be at the benefit of Nimishillen Township residents. The Participation of the Nimishillen Trustees in this process would be beneficial towards moving thingsforward. It's impossible to have a meaningful discussion when the decision makers (The Trustee's) refuse to come to a meeting.
It is not a secret that we have the worst dispatch system in the entire United States. This fact was revealed in the Geocom Report in 2008. The restructuring of 911 is very territorial, but the Stark Council of Governments has proposed a solution that will bring Stark County to the forefront in dispatching services. It is my responsibility to represent all residents of Stark County and keep them safe. All that matters to me is that once these changes are implemented, every person in Stark County can be confident that when they dial 9-1-1, help will be on the way. I look forward to continued work with my friend Chief Peterson and the other Safety Leaders in Stark County.
Your Stark County Commissioner
RICH PETERSON COMMENT - POSTED 06/27/2009 AT 10:15 PM (SCPR HAS ASKED COMMISSIONER TODD BOSLEY TO RESPOND. IF BOSLEY CHOOSES TO RESPOND, THE SCPR WILL UPDATE THIS STORY
For the record, Commissioner Bosley did not support a "centralized 911 dispatch center" when he was a township trustee and a candidate for county commissioner. He wanted to see the fire station / regional communications center become a reality in Nimishillen Township as a part of a countywide system. After a Nimishillen Township resident's little girl had a less than satisfactory experience with the current 911 system, Bosley took on the charge to "fix" 911 by having the calls answered in the regional centers that actually send the police officers, the ambulance units, and the firefighters. Meetings were held with many agencies and political factions regarding this regionalized proposal. Participants included Bosley, RED Center representatives, Sheriff Swanson, Kirk Shuring, Congressman Regula's office, the EMA/911 Director, and Stark County Commissioners.
It seems now the focus is no longer getting help to the little girl who wasn't breathing but is now about political favors and money for the county via the sales tax. So Martin, that's why I'm not participating in this charade any longer. I want no part of the creation of a system that is based on anything other than the best interest of the end user calling 911 and the dispatchers and emergency safety forces that use it every day and depend on it working.
I think the "taking my toys and going home" is just an easy excuse instead of tackling the truth head on. I've told you before, I never wanted the 911/dispatching position and quite frankly believed that the RED Center Director (Mark Busto) was the man for the job. Even you admit that Joe Concatto is not qualified and was a political appointee. Joe Concatto is a fine person. He just wasn't the best candidate for the job. And one has to question how he could go around telling people he had the job in the fall of 2008 and amazingly was hires for the job. I would think that your investigative curiosity would have prompted you to look into these allegations.
The issue about SCOG purchasing CENCOM's equipment is simply not true. The SCOG Committee and its Director have already decided that they are not interested in purchasing any agency's current equipment other than giving free dispatching to Canton City and the Stark County Sheriff in exchange for a $1 per year fee to use their existing centers. Nimishillen Township and the agencies making up its CENCOM dispatch center are not interesting in having a "garage sale" and ceasing operations for a proposed county system that doesn't currently exist, has far too many unanswered questions, and so far offers no advantages over CENCOM's current features and offers a facility (Canton's site) that is structurally inferior to CENCOM's tornado proof, below grade construction design.
And the need for a fire station was determined and was planned to be constructed since 1999. The idea to incorporate the communications center into the lower level of the fire station was after the initial plans were started and came about out of necessity due to the fact that a private dispatching company was going out of business and the agencies of that center had no alternatives for dispatching services. (Where were all of the experts then?) CENCOM was built and created out of necessity, not ego which is more than can be said about the current county dispatch proposal. There are way too many egos and too many folks just wanting to create a legacy. So let's be clear. The fire station and the dispatch center are not closing. We will continue to operate CENCOM for those agencies that seek quality, customized, state of the art dispatching at an affordable price.
The big sticking point for Nimishillen Fire Chief Rich Peterson on the SCOG 9-1-1 is project manager Joseph Concatto.
Piercing the veil of all the rhetoric that Peterson has unleashed as to why Nimishillen is going its own way on 9-1-1 dispatch, it is clear to the SCPR that the real reason is the appointment of former Canton Fire Chief and Creighton administration official Joseph Concatto.
Peterson does make a valid point that Concatto had no previous experience in emergency dispatch and that he has had to work hard to get conversant in emergency services (necessitating the expense of taking trips to seminar sites such as San Diego).
Moreover, the SCPR buys into the notion that Concatto's appointment was wrapped up in Stark County politics under the direction of Stark County Democratic Party chairman Randy Gonzalez (executive vice president at the time of the appointment). Gonzalez battled with Stark Commissioner Todd Bosley over whom the project manager would be.
Bosley was pushing for Peterson. Gonzalez was pushing for departing Canton Safety Director Tom Nesbitt initially and then went to Concatto as his first alternative. Some Stark emergency force officials feel that Concatto was Gonzalez's first choice all along and that the Nesbitt thing was a political sleight-of-hand gambit.
Why Nesbitt or Concatto?
Because Gonzalez apparently feels that he can control/direct either one.
Back to the Nimishillen Township aspect of the 9-1-1 project.
How Rich Peterson goes, so goes the Nimishillen Township trustees.
At a Stark County Township Trustees Association (SCTA) meeting (June 18th - Louisville Baptist Temple), Nimishillen Trustee Allen Gress got into a "disagreement" (to put it nicely) with Stark County Commissioner Todd Bosley over the county's remake of Stark County centralized dispatch.
Listen to the audio tape (below) of Trustee Allen Gress (trustee since January, 2007) at the June, 2009 SCTA meeting.
You will hear Commissioner Bosley correct Gress on his facts regarding Sheriff Swanson and what he did/did not or could have done with regard to a centralized 9-1-1 dispatch.
As an aside, the SCPR takes exception to Gress's comment to the effect that the SCPR took the position that the Nimishillen wanted Commissioner Bosley defeated in the upcoming 2010 election.
What the SCPR actually said was that "the effect" of the Nimishillen trustees/Peterson position on the CenCom/SCOG Governance Committee tete-a-tete (via the media) "could" undermine Bosley's re-election drive because he ran on fixing 9-1-1 as his primary campaign theme when he defeated Republican incumbent Richard Regula whom he accused of dwaddling on repairing 9-1-1.
Historically, Peterson of Nimishillen and Bosley (a former Nimishillen trustee) have been pretty much joined at the hip on the need to redo centralized 9-1-1 in Stark County.
Now that Peterson, who Bosley fought hard for to make the 9-1-1 project manager, is - yes - Mr. Gress - "taking his marbles and going home" since he lost out to Concatto; he and the Nimshillen trustees are - ironically, in the opinion of the SCPR, undermining Bosley's re-election chances.
Gress is a newspaper man who comes out of Morrow County and presently works as an independent contractor (as the SCPR understands the relationship) for the Louisville Herald. It is interesting that he cannot seem to get the SCPR's take on the 9-1-1 centralization straight nor the correct take on Sheriff Swanson and 9-1-1 centralization efforts.
As another aside, the SCPR has been told that at the SCTA meeting, fellow trustee Mike Lynch advised Gress that the SCTA forum was not the appropriate place to air his grievances with the SCPR, Bosley, Sheriff Swanson and the 9-1-1 Governance Committee.
One final point. The SCPR believes that Nimishillen local government is in a world of hurt on this issue. They have expensive dispatch equipment that will become inefficient when most if not all of its Stark County local government customers migrate to Stark County's centralized dispatch which they surely will do. How could local governments pay Nimishillen for a service that is "free" from Stark County centralized dispatch?
Moreover, there is that fire station that houses CenCom in its basement. If CenCom ceases to exist in its broader context; is there a justification to keep the fire station open?
Apparently, Commissioner Bosley is not holding it against Peterson and the Nimishillen trustees for (again, in the opinion of the SCPR) undermining his prized 9-1-1 centralization project.
Why would the SCPR surmise that?
Because he is trying to find a way for Stark County centralized dispatch to procure the Nimishillen equipment.
That folks, is interesting, indeed.
Now listen to the audio, as Gress fulminates.