Your editorial in the June 21 Tribune about Mayor James Melfi and the city of Girard was most interesting.
I have long been a critic of Mayor Melfi and the way he has run this city into the ground. In addition to the items you mentioned, wasteful spending, etc., a lot has been overlooked or covered up in this administration. Openly violating the Ohio Revised Code on more than one occasion and misuse of city funds to pay other bills he created are but a few of his misdeeds.
When the late Ralph Ruggerio, city safety director, left, he and I talked on more than one occasion and he repeatedly stated that when then-Mayor Vincent Skyler left office in 2000, funds were in place to cover all the city projects they started, such as the Route 422 widening, street lighting and payments of the Girard lakes purchase prior to Melfi taking office in 2000.
The money was there for the lakes payments. The city water department was the funding source for the $250,000 per year payment. The Water Department funds at that time were $1 million in the black. From that point on if they never put any money in the Water Department, Melfi would have had enough payments for four years.
How could the city default on the year 2000 payment? The mayor took more than $680,000 from the city water funds and spent it elsewhere. The Ohio Revised Code, which Sen. Bob Hagan wrote to me in a letter, stated that the ORC is the law of Ohio and must be enforced, states Water Department funds can only be spent in the water department, which includes the Girard lakes. Nothing was done to the mayor. The state auditor came to the city, put us under fiscal watch for more than 10 years and said nothing to anyone for the money missing from the city water department.
There are many more incidents of misuse and wasteful spending these past 12 years and I am ashamed to say that government officials and citizens of Girard don't seem to care.