Letters to Editor – March 7, 2013
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
Chester Wants Positivity
Chester is an incredibly inclusive community. People from all walks of life make their homes here.
Although there are some concerns over the future in these uncertain times, the community is defined by a strong sense of collaboration and a philosophy of"giving before you get" and of family pride. If you contribute, you are rewarded, often in unexpected ways.
At the same time, especially since it's a small community, it's particularly intolerant of bad actors. If you aren't sincere, constructive and collaborative, the community behaves accordingly.
There is a small group of people who continually act to expand negativity and to use their God given resources to sow doubt by continually trying to stop progress, to keep Chester in gridlock by disrupting the continuity of township government.
However, I believe Chester wants positive movement ... a reason to be proud of the homes we love. The roads are being improved; the cemetery is being expanded; the parks are being improved and expanded; new businesses are locating here; our property values are remaining more stable than the average; our schools continue to be rated as some of the best in the country; new ways are being explored; the county is rated as one of the best places to raise a family in the entire country.
There will always be those who complain only to hear themselves talk. They never have a viable plan to move forward; they only have plans to disrupt, to look to what they want. They show their "community spirit" by looking for reasons to enrich their property at the expense of others; to violate rather than to support the community; or to fail to support the community by failing to pay their fair share.
However, Chester is greater than that. Our people see through that and support honest efforts to rise above those who try to disrupt. That is why Chester is an incredibly inclusive community. People from all walks of life make their homes here.
Chester Township Trustee
Geauga Growth Partnership Internship
I was fortunate to have an internship with the Geauga Growth Partnership in the summer of 2012 and would encourage any high school junior or senior in the county to take a minute to see what they have to offer.
The wide variety of sponsors and jobs makes this program an opportunity for everyone, no matter what their plans may be after graduation. Participants get the opportunity to meet the potential sponsors and do a short interview with each of them, not only to get a feel for the job they would be doing, but for who they would most like to do it for.
My sponsor was Darrell Langford, co-owner of Sunrise Springs Water Company in Newbury. I gathered valuable skills and got a taste of the real world with an up-and-coming business in the county that I've lived in my entire life.
The most crucial lesson I learned was that the small details and extra work really do come together to make a business special to the community. Putting 100 percent into the day-to-day tasks was far more than doing a job for the people you work for. It made, and continues to make, a lasting impression on the many customers that Sunrise serves on a regular basis.
The ability to acquire invaluable skills and business knowledge, while having fun, meeting new people, and earning a nice salary is an experience that I would not have wanted to miss. There isn't anyone I wouldn't recommend this program to, both now and in the future.
Regain Local Control
Even the best lease may not protect you.
I recently listened to a man say that he would never need to worry about negative effects from the gas well on his property because he had the knowledge and foresight to have the best lease possible. Then he went on, pontificating on his belief that if everyone took such personal responsibility there would be no need for government to enact regulation of the industry.
I agree that if you are planning to take the risk and allow leasing on your property, a good lease is vitally important. It may even help to protect you financially. But, you must also understand that even the best lease will not protect your health, your water or your property from the effects of shale gas drilling and it certainly will not protect the public.
Any lease is only as valuable as your ability to enforce the terms of the lease.
Do you have the knowledge, time and money needed to check to see if the drillers are complying with the terms of the lease? And, if they are not, do you have the financial ability to sue to enforce compliance?
If an accident happens and your neighbors are harmed does the possible payout from the driller absolve you of all responsibility? If the company holding the lease goes bankrupt, leaving you with a big mess - what then? If three out of five of your family members suddenly develop respiratory problems or cancer linked to chemicals like benzene how does that lease help you?
Individual leases have no power to protect the public from the potential effects of this risky business. Many people who would never sign a lease may be dramatically impacted by a lease signed by their neighbor.
Property values for an entire area may be negatively affected because of increased truck traffic, noxious smelling air and the perceived dangers of pipelines. These sorts of things are specifically the purview of local government. It is appropriate and necessary for local governments to work to regain control rather than being subjugated by the state.
Rehiring Retirees: Savings Real or Unreal?
In last week's edition, the Maple Leaf reported our county commissioners rehired another retiree, who is probably our 14th rehire.
Rehiring a retiree is promoted by Commissioners Jemison and Samide as a cost savings opportunity. Employees can retire in order to receive their pension checks and then ask to keep on working for additional income, and they may request reduced hours as well.
Unfortunately, permitting this practice of rehiring has led to our county offices having two worker classes: regular 40 hour employees and 16, 24, 28, 30, 32, 36 and 40 hour employees receiving pay after retiring.
Let's review the information given in the article: Full-time position paid $31.78 per hour for 2,080 hours per year. The replacement position is going to 28 hours per week part time, paying the same $31.78 per hour for 1,456 hours per year.
Commissioner Jemison sees the dollars in the 12 hours (40-28) of reduced services per week as actual savings to the county and says for this latest rehire with benefits the annual savings totals $36,500. He advises of no negatives.
Might you believe the commissioners have achieved a new productivity approach to getting the same service provided in fewer hours? Can you copy it?
Or could the county offices be so overstaffed that what a county office gets done in a day is the same output whether or not the part-time retiree reports for work that day.
When hours worked are reduced, payroll savings can be tallied. But does logic not follow that the services to the community might be reduced or delayed?