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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Lucas County Commissioners: Bored, Board or What?

Are the individual Lucas County Commissioners bored or are the individuals collectively a Board? Are the Lucas County Commissioners banging heads or are they head bangers?
A recent Blade newspaper article has reported what seems to be some less-than-satisfactory relationships amongst individual Lucas County Commissioners and the CEO of the Lucas County Improvement Corporation (LCIC).
It is important and very relevant to note that the LCIC is a private non-profit corporation governed by a Board of Directors, on which sit all three Lucas County Commissioners along with other local elected officials and area business leaders. LCIC has an administrative staff that is answerable to the LCIC Board of Directors. LCIC staff is not answerable to the Board of Lucas County Commissioners or to individual Commissioners.
It also important to note that there is a County Administrator, an Assistant County Administrator, and a very large administrative staff that is under the jurisdiction of the Board of Lucas County Commissioners.
I find nothing in the Ohio Revised Code in either Section 305 or Section 307 or any other section of the ORC that gives any authority to individual commissioners in this matter or any other matter. The Board of County Commissioners is a body politic and only has power, authority, and responsibility when convened as a body. There are some instances when an individual Commissioner may sit in an official capacity on other public bodies, but in those instances as in the situation of the Board of County Commissioners, the Commissioner has no individual power. The lack of individual legitimate authority of a County Commissioner is just as valid when one or more commissioners sit on the Board of a Non-profit Organization, as in the case of LCIC.
It seems to me that the staff of the Lucas County Improvement Corporation and the appropriate staff of the Board of Lucas County Commissioners are the people who should be working cooperatively on a daily basis on issues and ventures that are of joint concern to both organizations.
Given the fact that there is professional staff for both entities whose jobs are in the area of concern from which this controversy has evolved, I can't help but wonder why in the world do individual County Commissioners get into the nitty-gritty specifics of administrative functions. It couldn't be political posturing, could it?

6 comments:

Lisa Renee said...

Considering $500,000 a year of tax dollars is paid to LCIC from Lucas County, I don't think it's political posturing to expect that something be received for that amount of money.

Though a Commissioner that did want LCIC to exist might have some political motivation for not wanting to admit it hasn't worked out very well.

Interesting WTOL editorial if you didn't see it:

here

Roland Hansen said...

LisaRenee,
The fact that the BOARD of Lucas County Commissioners provided funding does not justify individual Commissioners to micro-manage LCIC staff. If any of the Commissioners have any concerns about LCIC, the appropriate procedure would be to address the concerns at a meeting of the BOARD. That could be a meeting of the Board of County Commissioners in which the concerns would be addressed with a consensus being reached, or at a meeting of the LCIC Board of Directors where the LCIC BOARD would direct the LCIC CEO of what should be done.
That same concept holds true for each and every one of the members of the LCIC Board of Directors and their respective organizations.
Incidentally, I read nothing in the original or subsequent news reports that allege nothing is being accomplished by the LCIC or that the County is not receiving anything for the funding it provides LCIC. What I read was that individuals were acting in individual capacities in attempting to direct the CEO of the LCIC. The direction given the CEO is more appropriately provided by the LCIC Board or its designee. It is not reasonable nor is it professional to have the CEO be assigned projects or duties by individual Board members.
I do believe it is political posturing when an individual who is a member of a BOARD attempts to effectuate projects, policies and/or programs as an individual in assigning tasks to the staff rather than through action of the Board of which he or she is a member.

Judy said...

Fifteen months for any new Board of any kind is just the start. If they all work together they can get the job done!

Lisa Renee said...

Roland, I understand where you are coming from, yet I can also see the other side of this issue, where if there is not good communication and you have the appearance of less than stellar work being done that questions should be raised.

While it is always better to try to work within the system, there are times when if the system is not responding to concerns that the best way to deal with it is to bring attention to it.

Fifteen months without any measurable progress or progress alone that is being debated does I believe warrant some concern.

Roland Hansen said...

Lisa Renee,
I have not heard of, nor have I read of, any reports in regards to measuring progress of LCIC.
Have there actually been any studies or reports of that nature or has there just been inferences and speculation by one or more individuals? I find no objective information on this anywhere.
I remain unchanged in my position that the issue as it has been reported should be voiced at a meeting of the appropriate Board. To the best of my knowledge, the disagreements as expressed in the media have never been discussed at any Board meeting for the Board to discuss them.
I prefer to base my opinion based on facts rather than "he said, she said" scenarios. To date, I have seen no facts that indicate the issue was brought before appropriate Board. When I learn that the issue had been previously discussed at a meeting of the Board and the concerns were not adequately addressed at such meeting, I will re-examine my perspective.

Roland Hansen said...

The latest development in this sage is taking the right course of action.
Kudos to Lucas County Commissioner Ben Konop for tackling the issue in a very appropriate manner.
You can read of that which I reference by visiting the October 15, 2007 entry of Ben Konop's blog which appears on the Lucas County Elected Officials Blog website.