Wednesday, December 1, 2010


The worst thing outgoing commissioner Todd Bosley could have said at Tuesday's work session was that incoming coming commissioner Janet Creighton did not matter.  He said it in the sense that she does not have a vote until after she is sworn in on about January 1, 2011.

But that is exactly what Bosley did at the Bernabei (newly seated commissioner)/Creighton called work session held yesterday.

From that point in the meeting, the discussion got a little rocky.  Creighton took offense and asserted that even though she is commissioner-elect, how Commissioners Bosley, Ferguson and Bernabei rule on the Stark County Fair Board's (Farigrounds) request for an infusion of Stark County capital improvement funds (sitting at about $1.9 million according to Chief Administrator Mike Hanke) into repairs on facilities owned by the Fairgrunds but sitting on land owned by the county does matter as to how the county commissioners (post Jaunuary 1, 2011) will be able to cope with demands on county finances.

The SCPR was not all that surprised to see the sparks fly a little bit between Creighton and Bosley.  It was clear from the outset of the meeting to The Report that Bosley was not a happy camper at being involved in a Tuesday work session instituted on the joint call of Bernabei and Creighton.  When Bosley was a commissioner-elect in 2006, he initiated himself differently to county affairs and apparently feels that Creighton and Bernabei should be following the model he used which he adopted from what other commissioner-elects have done down through the years.

So with Bosley in a negative mood (in the opinion of the SCPR), it was predictable that a flare up would occur and, most likely, between himself and Creighton..  After all, Creighton has just defeated Bosley political pal Steven Meeks (a fellow Democrat from Jackson) on November 2nd.

Bosley has long been a advocate for helping the Fairgrounds out.  But with the county only having the $1.9 million for capital improvements (which is not much considering all the facilities under county control and care), Commissioners Ferguson and Meeks needed convincing by Fairgrounds representative Jim Tressel to fork over money to the Fairgrunds.  How much money?  The SCPR believes that the real request is whatever Tressel can talk commissioners into, however, the money being talked about is in the $200,000 to $400,000 range.

Bosley's position on providing the Fairgrounds requested money is based on an implied promise he says was made back in 2008 when the Stark County Farm was sold at auction.

Well, at yesterday's meeting, Creighton jumped on the implied promise thing.  To paraphrase, "no legal obligation" she opined.

Creighton started out saying that the Fairgrounds' request was lower on her list of priorities given the overwhelming needs of the county.  However, when Ferguson and Bosley injected safety of the fairground buildings concerns, Creighton seemed to elevate her willingness to consider the Fairgrounds' request to a higher priority (see the included video).

The testiness between Bosley and Creighton was an interesting aside at the meeting.

Bosley's overall quest is to force a decision before he vacates his commissioner's post on December 31st.


The SCPR believes that any chance at all that the commissioners will give money to the Fairgrounds will be with Bosley serving as advocate.  Once he is gone, the chances of the Fairgrounds getting any county money plummet.  It seems to be "a point of honor" with Bosley that he produce on the implied promise.

The SCPR is with Creighton on this one.  What is this business of implied promises being made by county officials?  This is the second time around in recent times on this implied promise stuff between county officials and political subdivisions (Alliance and Massillon) on not being charged for Stark County housing inmates convicted in municipal courts.  The only county obligations are legally enforceable obligations not this "wink and a nod" kind of stuff done behind closed doors between public officials.

What's more, why would Stark County put taxpayer money into decrepit buildings owned by another entity?

If commissioners were to do so, the county would be throwing good money after bad money.  In time these buildings will have to be replaced.  It would be irresponsible for commissioners to spend taxpayers money as a stop-gap measure.

No county money should go into fairgrounds' buildings!

The SCPR believes that the Fairgrounds' board has been irresponsible over many years of not having an adequate ongoing maintenance and capital improvement effort to modernize and replace buildings as a share of each and every ticket sold to fair attenders.

If Commissioners Bosley, Ferguson and Bernabei (or, Ferguson, Bernabei and Creighton) provide the Fairgrounds with the requested money, they are mimicing the federal bailout of irresponsible bankers.  That a government unit is the object of the bailout does not negate The Report's stance that the Fairgrounds' board  has been irresponsible and that irresponsibility should not be rewarded.

In the next few months Stark Countians will be hearing of proposals to deal with the impending county financial crisis which will hit full bloom in 2012.

A decision by commissioners to sink county into rickety buildings will be a clear signal to Stark County taxpayers that commissioners are not responsibly managing taxpayer money.

If they persist, then taxpayers should take such action into account in determining whether or not to support any of the revenue raising measures likely to surfaces in the next month or so.

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