New goals, commissioner and beginnings
Undoubtedly things are different in the Trumbull County commissioners office these days.
Admittedly, we weren’t quite sure how many times newly elected commissioner Niki Frenchko’s legal eligibility to serve as a Trumbull County commissioner was going to be questioned, but now that a judge dismissed the latest case — that one brought by former Commissioner Dan Polivka, whom Frenchko beat — and Frenchko officially has taken office, we are eager to see the new board get down to work.
Frenchko made a lot of promises to the electorate during the heated campaign, and now we are all waiting with great urgency new beginnings.
Tops on Frenchko’s list of goals were plans to bring more transparency to county government, particularly when it comes to hiring practices and political appointments.
During her campaign, the new commissioner also made several other promises. She said she intends to eliminate “pay to play” activities that have limited job opportunities and economic growth.
Indeed the Mahoning Valley has ranked higher than other Ohio counties in jobless rates and lagged behind other Ohio counties in new job creation.
And in an area already struggling with high joblessness, the COVID-19 viral outbreak worsened matters when businesses shed workers or even closed. The rates have come down, but the area still fairs poorly.
Latest numbers showed Trumbull and Mahoning counties were in a three-way tie for fourth-worst rate in the state at 6.8 percent. About 17 percent of Trumbull County residents between the ages of 18 and 64 live in poverty.
There is much to be done, and being welcoming and inviting to new business is high on the list.
Previously, commissioners have been accused of using the county as a personal employment agency for family and friends. This new beginning provides an opportunity to prove that is not the case and to end any appearance of nepotism and favoritism.
Additionally, Frenchko also has promised to find innovative ways to save taxpayer money, and there are few residents who would object to that.
Frenchko never has been shy about speaking her mind and pushing what she thinks is right. While her often demanding demeanor might alienate some, we applaud her drive and audacity.
Likewise, fellow Commissioners Frank Fuda and Mauro Cantalamessa have promised this three-person board will work together for the good of the county. Make no mistake, while we hope for cooperation, we also hope for healthy debate and discourse among commissioners, provided it’s done openly.
We are pleased to see this board now made up of representatives from two political parties, something we always believe helps improve accountability.
Indeed, there is much to be done, and we, like all local voters and taxpayers, are awaiting incredibly needed new beginnings and progress.