''For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse the rider was lost. For want of a rider the message was lost. For want of a message the battle was lost.
"For want of a battle the kingdom was lost. And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.''
This old proverb is essentially about the consequences of missed opportunities. The Trumbull County commissioners apparently never learned this proverb and don't seem to understand that their delay in making a decision on the proposal to consolidate the Eastern and Central district courts has, in all likelihood, cost this county the opportunity to save $1 million over the next five to seven years.
The time was ripe for this consolidation because Eastern District Court Judge Ronald Rice is not seeking re-election. The Ohio General Assembly had to approve this merger by a two-thirds majority and historically would not do this if it meant unseating an incumbent judge. An opportunity like this may not come along for another 20 years.
While it was the Ohio General Assembly that had to ultimately approve this merger, it was highly unlikely to do so without a recommendation from Trumbull's commissioners. The General Assembly also generally would not have considered a proposal like this without the approval of the Ohio Supreme Court.
Central District Court Judge Thomas Campbell originally proposed this idea last year. After sitting on this proposal for several months and being informed repeatedly by Judge Campbell that the opportunity would be short-lived, the commissioners finally asked the Ohio Supreme Court for its opinion in January. They were informed in early March by Justice Maureen O'Connor that the Supreme Court backed the proposal and yet waited almost a full month to even schedule public hearings on the issue.
At the first hearing on this matter, the commissioners made excuses for their delays, saying they needed to make sure that this is what the public wanted. At the second hearing, when citizens questioned their reasons for the delay, Commissioner Frank Fuda claimed that they did not know for sure that Judge Rice would not be seeking re-election until February.
Judge Rice informed Judge Campbell that he was not seeking re-election in October of last year. That is why Judge Campbell put together the proposal. If Judge Rice told Judge Campbell, he certainly told members of his own party, including his party chairman, Commissioner Dan Polivka. Even if for some bizarre reason Judge Rice did not inform members of his own party of his intentions, commissioners could easily just ask him if Judge Campbell's information was accurate.
Finally, only after much public pressure to make a decision, the commissioners gave written support to the consolidation of the courts. Even after that approval, Mr. Fuda backtracked and in a newspaper article said he didn't think that Judge Campbell proved what the savings would be. To the contrary, Judge Campbell provided a complete presentation of the savings at both public meetings.
In that same article, Mr. Fuda said that Judge Campbell told us that the court would be located in Cortland for the first year and then moved to a central location. In fact, Judge Campbell said those exact details could be worked out later after approval from the legislature. Of course, perhaps if the commissioners hadn't delayed so long to even consider this proposal, those details could have been settled earlier.
Also, Mr. Fuda made a statement in that article that the commissioners would have to sell both court buildings. There are two problems with this statement. First, the county only owns the building in Cortland. It leases the Brookfield building. Second, it had not been determined yet whether the Cortland building would be sold or not.
Regardless of Mr. Fuda's problems understanding these facts, one fact is now clear. The commissioners delayed so long in approving this proposal that it was doomed to fail in the legislature. This has been, as my 13-year-old son would say, an ''Epic Fail.''
The commissioners knew from the beginning that this was a very limited opportunity and delayed anyway. Their delay was either intentional or just plain incompetent. Either way, it is inexcusable.
Yoder is a Farmington resident.