The SCPR has learned that The Rep itself is making internal cuts (except for the sports department) that has to affect - in a negative way - the quality of the reporting and investigating that Repository resources will allow for.
One thing that should not be affected is the editorial function.
But in has taken a nosedive since the likes of Schultze and Kaminski have left.
For instance, on May 26th the editors published a editorial on how H. Michael Miller, CEO/superintendent of the Stark Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (MRDD) was "(t)he right man for the times."
This is apparently a case of the editors finding an excuse for the draconian cutting that Miller has been doing at MRDD. This program was at one time was one of the very best in Ohio and perhaps in all of Ohio and perhaps all of America. But under Miller it has become a mere shell of its former self.
The SCPR believes that Miller was asleep at the switch and was not proactively engaged to respond in a positive way to new financial realities (private sector competition) ahead of their onset. Earlier in the year yours truly attended an MRDD promotion for the then upcoming levy that eventually passed in May immediately passed.
Miller put up his charts showing the revenue and expenses and the carryover factor going back ten years. A quick look at the chart clearly show that Miller did not swing into action until well after the numbers warned of an impending financial crisis.
By then the time for preventative and curative measures was well past.
Hurriedly, Miller put together a levy effort for March, 2008 which failed mostly likely because The Rep Editorial Board did not endorse it.
The main reason The Repository gave for not endorsing?
More efficiencies had to be implemented at MRDD.
While more efficiency is always something to be focused on, MRDD was then at the point that more cuts would be "cutting into the bone."
For the editors to excuse and indeed laud Miller for "cutting into the bone," shows what an inrresponsible group of editors abide at 500 Market Avenue, South.
On June 30th, a citizen and former MRDD board member wrote a letter to the editor of The Rep (Stark MRDD: Changes need to be made, but not this way, June 30, 2009) decrying the kind of and manner of the cuts.
On June 22nd, Mary Parker (a commenter on The Rep and the SCPR) also had a letter published in The Repository: Loved ones of MRDD clients didn't dream so many layoffs were coming.
Particularly poignant is this portion of Mary's letter, to wit:
I hope that one day, we will again see some semblance of the great MRDD program we once had. I hope voters, the community, will continue to support it.It not sad - as the Rep editors put it - that Miller is retiring in January, 2010. Rather it is a ray of hope that a much more positively creative person will take of the helm and restore Stark MRDD to "some semblance of the great MRDD program" Stark Countians once had.
I didn't foresee ICFMRs pulling so many clients out of MRDD programs.
Did the board and Superintendent Michael Miller deliberately mislead us?
God, I hope not. I want to believe these people have our children's best interest at heart. That's getting harder to do.
These editorial writers ought to be a prod to initiative, creativeness and the positive; not the excusers and honorers of those who disassemble Stark County's quality infrastructure.
As yours truly has said a number of times about this body of editorialists: Shame on The Repository!