Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hanks and Thompson play Nurse Ratched

Hey, Ken O'Brien, don't swallow the pill. -- Jim

The Delaware Gazette:
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Some commissioners agree: Dispute resolution is needed
Staff Writer

Delaware County commissioners Todd Hanks and Tommy Thompson feel that a visit from a state conflict resolution agency will work through some of the conflicts that they feel has divided the board. Commissioner Ken O’Brien disagrees.

In a split 2-1 decision, county commissioners have decided to set up a meeting with a mediator from Ohio Commission of Dispute Resolution, a state-funded agency that provides conflict resolution services to elected officials.

Before casting his “no” vote, O’Brien said earlier this week the program was unnecessary. The voluntary program would be free to the county, but O’Brien said the state-funded program was still financed by tax dollars.

“I don’t see conflict,” he said. “I don’t see consensus, but that’s not conflict.”

If there is indeed an ongoing conflict among members of the board, it largely centers around O’Brien’s concerns about a consulting contract for a $3.13 million waste-to-energy facility county commissioners quickly passed, and then later rescinded. The project, which drew heated criticism from O’Brien and members of the public, has since been abandoned.

Public debate among the commissioners has been civil lately, although it grows heated any time issues relate to the consulting contract. Commission president Thompson said a commissioner from a nearby county who had heard about the fallout surrounding the contract approached him recently and recommended the state program.

“They read the papers like anyone else does,” he said. Under the program, a representative of the state agency would meet with the individual commissioners and try to identify issues.

Commissioners have not been arguing in closed-door executive sessions, Thomson said. He just wanted to feel like the commissioners were “on the same team,” even if they disagreed on issues.

“It’s obvious that there are still some question and doubts, and we need to get through that,” Thompson said.

O’Brien has made a records request for e-mails and other written communications between all county commissioners and the county prosecutor’s office, which officials have said entails about 4,000 different documents. In the past, Hanks has referred to O’Brien’s request as a “witch-hunt,” among other unfavorable terms.

O’Brien suspects he was kept out of the loop as the project moved forward, and said earlier this week at the public meeting where the vote was held that he was still waiting for his request to be fulfilled.

This prompted Hanks to defend the project’s merits and say it was to be funded by a federal grant, which O’Brien said was “revisionist history” and unfounded. The two soon began speaking over each other.

The dispute resolution program is co-sponsored by the County Commissioners Association of Ohio.

John Leutz, a senior policy analyst with the CCAO, said the mediation program could help resolve conflicts among elected officials.

“We certainly participate with them and support the activities that they’re engaged with … and in some instances, using their services makes sense,” Leutz said.

A meeting with the dispute agency will be set up over the coming weeks. The results of the mediation meetings are secret under an Ohio law pertaining to confidential testimony in a court case.


Anonymous said...

WAIT -- How can the patient play the nurse??

Anonymous said...

More secrets? Why should these things be secrets? And this is more Facilitation. Can't a person refuse to be facilitated any more?

Anonymous said...

So, let me understand this: O'Brien prevented the theft of $3MM by Hanks and Thompson, and a mediator is needed because O'Brien didn't go along with the scheme.

Kinda sounds like our school board and their stupid work sessions around the Code of Conduct revisions. If the dissenting member is not made to conform then try to marginalize them.

But that shows the folly of it all: it's the member who dissents over conscience and reason who ends up, by virtue of "virtue" itself, marginalizing the majority that has no virtue.

Ken O'Brien is a good man and will prevail. Hanks and Thompson had better have their resumes updated at the end of their terms.

Anonymous said...

This sort of thing is the same that is done to school children in the government schools. Using Group Dynamics/Peer Pressure to bring the strays back into the herd. Some very well-paid Social Scientists have spent lifetimes devising these techniques. Teachers and their cohorts are trained in colleges to use them. Those on whom they are used often become facilitators themselves. The herd or flock do not like non-conformers. It's important that those in the cross hairs not take part in the Dialogue To Consensus.

Anonymous said...

Mediator needed?

O'Brien prevented the theft of $3.1MM of our tax-dollars. Mediator needed?

O'Brien prevented the payment on the illegal BMV contract. Which by law Hanks should pay out of his own pocket. Mediator needed?

O'Brien dare question why Thompson and Hanks buddy Comstock continues to work only for the city of delaware on the County's dime. Mediator needed?

O'Brien walks out when Thompson & Hanks violate sunshine law. Mediator needed?

Lets not forget Hanks and CEC meeting with officials through out the county to line his pockets with your tax-dollars. O'Brien does not approve. Mediator needed?

Remember Tommy Thompson lied in public session stating the mediator program is at no cost to the people of Delaware County. O'Brien said its State funded and the people of Delaware County do pay State Tax. "NO" said Thompson "enough said" cutting O'Brien off. Mediator needed?

Remove Tommy Thompson and Todd Hanks ASAP
clean house, NO Mediator needed.

Anonymous said...

Actually 5:21 AM,
It has nothing to do with disagreement. It has everything to do with the dynamic of the officers. There is massive tension. All you need to do is watch a meeting with interaction between the three members and you will see a lack of professionalism and civility on behalf of Mr. O'Brien.
Mr. Thompson plainly states that he is not bothered by civil debate and disagreement. So you can assume that it has to do with all voting the same way, but you would be wrong.

Anonymous said...

Actually 3:04pm

All you need to do is watch a meeting with interaction between the three members and you will see a lack of professionalism and civility on behalf of Thompson and Hanks.

Neither Hanks or Thompson know how to conduct a meeting.

I agree there is massive tension however if Thompson and Hanks would stop their illegal actions they would have no reason to be tense.

Anonymous said...

I'd rather our commissioners be venomous, but virtuous, instead of courteous and corrupt.

They could act like The Three Stooges on the floor of Parliament and I wouldn't give a damn. Just don't smile at us while you're picking $3MM out of our collective pocket.

Is Hanks up for re-election yet? Because I smell toast.

Anonymous said...

3:00 Right On.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but venomous and virtuous are mutually exclusive terms. Being venomous is not a mark of moral excellence;virtue. You cannot be virtuous and venomous at the same time. But honestly, that is not the point at hand,

It is clear that Mr. Hanks and Mr. O'Brien are having a feud that is influencing both of their abilities to make decisions. The wound that was broken open during the St eGe debacle has not healed over. The meetings on Monday and Thursday serve as proof of this. Mr. Hanks and Mr. O'Brien appear to work against each other out of prolonged bitterness.

You may not consider this a problem, but if you have ever worked in an environment like that you would know better.

Having a chance to hash out their differences, and finally get to the bottom of their issues could only result in a positive outcome. (It could not get any worse between the two.) It is the best way to make improvements on the board. There is no harm in trying to make it better.

You cannot separate the way people function together, and effective decision making. When people are back biting out of bitterness, we do not get the best decision. They can and still will disagree on issues, and that is a good thing. But at least they can clear the air of the past, if both of them are humble enough to let down their guard.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9:52

I couldn't disagree with you more. Venomous and virtuous are not mutually exclusive. Semantics.

Someone can do the right thing by the public who is abrasive as hell. You can have a a public body that has a lack of chemistry, but arrive at correct and right decisions.

I'd rather have a board that argues due to one member who won't go along, than have a board that agreeably supports each others' grift.

Ken O'Brien is a tripwire on that board and I'm glad he's there, no matter how noisy his alarm is.

Hanky Panky Hanks and Tommy Two-Face Thompson are the problem--not Ken O'Brien.

Anonymous said...

You are delusional. Just because people are not fighting, does not mean they always agree. You are living in a world of convoluted dichotomies. The conflict resolution has nothing to do with all voting the same way. You are only spreading ignorance and lies when you post those comments.I'm sorry you cannot get that warped logic out of your head.

Anonymous said...

You are delusional if you believe Hanks or Thompson have changed their evil ways. The behavior of these two is despicable.

They have their own agenda and damn the people of Delaware County. Remember Thompson was the one remaining vote to permit the theft of $3.13MM against legal advise when Hanks rescind his vote.

If you believe the liars from the delaware co poopoopolitical report you are delusional !!!

Anonymous said...

You are avoiding the issue. You continue to claim that the point of the mediation is to brain was Ken into voting the same way the other two commissioners vote. And all along the point has not been about agreeing and voting the same way. It is all about the commissioners being able to operate in a civil manner, even when they disagree.

If you think the tension or problems are caused by Thompson and Hanks, you should be thrilled that an independent group is coming in to help resolve the problems. But I think you are more paranoid that they will find some fault in your favorite commissioner. But only time will tell on this issue because the conflict team IS coming in to help.

It is obvious that tension still exists between Hanks and O'Brien. And this tension is not beneficial. The two have unresolved issues that need resolved before any real progress can be made.

None of the three men are evil. I am saddened that you cannot come up with anything other than name calling and lying. I am not willing to demonize people to convince people to feel the way I do, that is dishonest and immature. Your arguments detract from any point you might actually have.

I am not influenced by the reporter you speak of. I watch the meetings religiously and make my mind up based on what I see.