Change looming at county commission

Tom Jackson
Mar 23, 2010

The transition has begun at the Erie County commissioners.

Pat Shenigo, the commissioner-elect, attended Thursday's and today's commission meetings, and told me he intends to keep coming to the meetings. He takes office in January.

He's replacing Nancy McKeen, who is retiring. Her last scheduled meeting is Dec. 29.

I asked McKeen if she'll attend that meeting, and McKeen, always clear when she answers questions, replied, "Hell, yes!"

"She's even threatened to be here after that," joked commissioner Bill Monaghan.

When Shenigo takes over, all three commissioners will be Democrats.

It's hard to know whether that fact is significant, or whether it's good or bad.

On one hand, the meetings themselves never have a partisan tone. Even if you sit through the meetings for hours, and pay careful attention, it can be hard to tell that McKeen is a Republican and that Monaghan and Tom Ferrell are Democrats. You wouldn't be able to say the same thing about the Ohio General Assembly.

On the other hand, one-party rule arguably has been a disaster in Cuyahoga County. The Plain Dealer constantly runs stories about how arrogant the all-Democrat county commission behaves. Stories about shady deals in local government fill the paper.

Then again, the commissioners here don't really behave the same way. The Cuyahoga County commissioners hiked the county sales tax for a "medical mart" boondoggle without bothering to put the issue on the ballot. Our commissioners have put every proposed tax hike on the ballot and let voters decide.

Then, too, commissioners in Cuyahoga County can do anything they like because the Cuyahoga County Republican Party is almost useless as an opposition party.

The Erie County Republican Party has had a rough time lately — it has lost the last three county commission races — but it has continued to field good candidates and compete well. As I wrote  recently, the Obama landslide probably prevented the Republicans from winning both county commission races this year. Yes, the Democrats won, but they're not immune from public opinion if things go badly here.

Comments

Anonymous

Eriie County certainly lost out on some talented people when both Republican candidates lost. We might have expected more attention toward being ready for our future if the Republicans were elected.

I suspect the Democrats will spend more time than we would like on trying to keep control of the issues arise rather than setting a new and exciting agenda.

I hope I am wrong. I suspect that I am not.

Anonymous

kind of a "new and exciting agenda" can 3 small county commissioners provide any way??? I suspect you'll see emphasis on the 250 corridor development and more infrastructure improvements. You sure as he11 aren't going to get any new manufacturing jobs since they are being wiped out all over the world. Printy and Hayberger wouldn't have done any more than what is going to happen anyway.

Anonymous

talented candidates got elected!!!!

Anonymous

has been indicted in the Cuyahoga County fiasco Mr. Jackson. So how bad is it??? Purely political....the whole swooping down of agents in Eliot Ness style and what have they proven in 7 months now?? NOT ONE THING!!!!

Anonymous

Somebody better be proving something because all these corrupt dirt-bags sure have ruined OHIO!

Anonymous

them corrupt just because the Plain Dealer wrties a story a day about the invasion of a Democratic County by a Republican President?? THEY HAVE INDICTED NOBODY IN 7 MONTHS!!!! NOT ONE!!! All show Baby All show!!!