Commissioners failing to follow recommendations

DEAR EDITOR:

It has been well over a year now since the Trumbull County Budget Review Committee submitted 18 cost-saving proposals to the Trumbull County commissioners. The first five of these proposals, related to collective bargaining issues, were forwarded well before the June 2017 final draft in order to provide input on the then-current labor contract negotiations.

A concluding paragraph from our document reads: “The Trumbull County Budget Review Committee intends to henceforth meet quarterly to monitor and report publicly on progress that the commissioners are making toward implementing these recommendations. The committee suggests that the commissioners maintain a scorecard to chart their progress on the recommendations contained herein and respectively offer to hold the quarterly meetings jointly.”

Unfortunately, only one follow-up meeting was held in August 2017, and there has been no documentation yet made public from the commissioner’s office detailing efforts or progress towards these recommendations. No “scorecard” yet exists. It was the committee’s hope that with the hiring of Administrator Rebecca Gerson pursuit of these proposals and documentation of her efforts would be a high priority and provide the transparency the committee desires from the commissioners. Unfortunately, numerous attempts to meet with Administrator Gerson over the last four months were unsuccessful. Her recent departure leaves any activity and documentation toward the implementation of committee recommendations and the documentation of such in limbo.

It is the committee’s majority opinion, endorsed by eight of the 12 committee members including Brian Angelo, Mike Bollas, Guy Coviello, Bernice Marino, Mike Matas, Rich Musick, Stephan Stoyak and John Talstein, that combining the office and responsibilities of county administrator with any other office (i.e. Trumbull Transit Board Administrator), is wrong-headed and not within the capability of even the most competent administrator. County oversight and management of a $40 million-plus budget is a full-time, 50-hour per week job and should not be combined with other duties. The position must be filled as rapidly as practicable.

Pursuit and development of reporting metrics for the aforementioned proposals must be the highest priority for the commissioners and any new appointee. The citizens of Trumbull County demand it and insist that the commissioners act in good faith and as competent stewards of the public purse.

STEPHAN STOYAK

Trumbull County Citizens Budget Review Committee

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