Commissioners ignore Tiffin mayor, citizens, and forge ahead with own agenda
"No good deed goes unpunished."
— Clare Boothe Luce
— journalist/author/U.S. ambassador
The phrase “No good deed goes unpunished” has become rather cliché by today’s standards, but it certainly had to be resonating with Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz Tuesday morning after he learned what little regard the Seneca County Commissioners have for him, the city, the county and the bulk of the taxpaying citizens.
Most people are aware that the location of a joint city/county justice center has been a hot topic lately. The question has been between building a new structure on courthouse square (hence, erasing much of the green space that has become the venue for free movie nights, ice skating and other community events) or rehabilitating the East Tower (old East Jr. High). That grand building is owned by Tiffin native, Andrew Kalnow, who has offered to eventually donate the structure to be used as the new JJC.
Granted, there is a larger price tag associated with the East Tower. That’s why, at a combined meeting of commissioners and city council members last Thursday, Mayor Montz presented a valid list of ways that financial gap can be bridged. He made a proposal. It’s as simple as that. Proposals are not orders; they are considerations that people with some semblance of common sense generally use for discussions toward a solution.
The operative words in that last sentence are “people with some semblance of common sense.” Obviously, common sense is not part of the job description for a Seneca County commissioner. Commissioners Fred Zoeller and Mike Kerschner construed the mayor’s proposal as a blindside. It was nothing of the kind. It was merely one big step toward a solution.
Today, the commissioners — in keeping with their twisted sense of self worth and “we’ll show you whose boss” prowess — gave the proverbial middle finger to virtually everyone by voting unanimously to build a new justice center on the courthouse green. Screw you mayor. Screw you Kalnow. Screw you “little people who aren’t smart enough to decide for yourselves what’s best for you.”
Those good ol’ boys (plus one good ol’ woman commissioner) wanted to give the young, forward-thinking mayor a sound spanking. And they did. Kerschner called the mayor’s proposal a “non proposal.” They lined up their judges like Stepford Wives and each gave his canned speech about why new construction is such a great idea. If the truth be told, the new construction thing has been part of Judge Steve Shuff’s agenda from the get-go. It was almost humorous to finally hear from Kelbley, Myers and Repp, who, up to now have been less vocal than Marcel Marceau.
I always suspected that the city would be the poor cousins in all of this. This board of commissioners proved that today. Even after Tiffin City Councilman Roberts asked for continued discussion, the commissioners completely disregarded and disrespected him by doing exactly what they wanted to do.
Kerschner even ripped the mayor for proposing the county eventually sell the courthouse green to the city for $1. He said he felt “insulted” at the notion. “I’d like to get your thoughts on that,” he said to Stacy and Zoeller. Neither of them had a thought. No big surprise there. That alone speaks volumes about Kerschner’s lack of responsibility and concern for what’s best for the City of Tiffin.
What they didn’t say was just as important as what they did say. Commissioner Zoeller balked at the idea that the East Tower/JJC would be privately owned. He left it at that. The real concept is that it would be owned by Andrew Kalnow for no more than five years before it would be turned over to the county. Why do it this way? Because public entities cannot get the same tax credits offered to private individuals. That’s why contracts were invented.
Basically, it appears that only the names have changed where the commissioners are concerned. We thought that by ridding the office of the previous band of self-absorbed politicos we’d find replacements who were sound thinking and — dare I say it, — in possession of at least a smidgen of common sense. Silly us. With this bunch, we created a monster of flagrant good ol’ people when we fed their egos with praise at the voting booths.
The mayor opened discussions and attempted to work with the county. Now Mayor Montz is being vilified by three people who have decided that neither he — nor the taxpayers — should have the slightest input in this topic.
Obviously, they did not read the A-T’s poll, that showed overwhelming favorable response for the East Tower site.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The county commissioners work for us; not the opposite. Perhaps it’s time for a round of pink slips.