County commissioners need to take a stand

If ever three politicians gave lip service it was Thursday, when Erie County commissioners Nancy McKeen, Bill Monaghan and Tom Ferre
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

If ever three politicians gave lip service it was Thursday, when Erie County commissioners Nancy McKeen, Bill Monaghan and Tom Ferrell talked about a countywide development effort.

"It's kind of stupid to have three separate groups out there," said McKeen, referring to independent, and often conflicting, efforts.

McKeen and Monaghan were part of the "Gang of Eight" that proposed a central office for the economic development officers from city, county and GEM.

But both commissioners seemed to be backing away from the proposal on Thursday, while saying they supported a unified approach.

"We would never sign anything like that without going to all three commissioners, Mike and Gary," McKeen said.

Two is a majority on a three-person board, and county administrator Mike Bixler and county legal counsel Gary Lickfelt are not elected. McKeen and Monaghan were, but seem reluctant to take a stand.

Monaghan seems to be making a complete about-face on the unified approach to development.

Making the county development officer sit in an office with other development officers "would not make any sense. He has so many other duties," Monaghan said.

Maybe that's part of the problem.

Commissioners took no action on the "one-stop shop" approach to development and gave every indication they hoped the concept would just go away.

Ferrell also flapped his lips on the Grow Erie County proposal, which was merely a suggested course of action, not a manifesto.

"You have to make it as easy as possible to get (potential developers') questions answered," Ferrell said.

Wow, what a profound statement.

In the end, they took no action, proposed no direction and retreated to a position that hasn't worked for the last 20 years.