Ken, it's all a mind game. Luckily, Tweedles Dee and Dum have little in the way of mind power.
Note: Oh, and stay out of offices when univited. That's tough to defend.
From the Delaware Gazette:
Commissioners: Efforts to set up dispute resolution stalling
Thursday, November 19, 2009
More than four weeks after initially voting to do so, Delaware County commissioners are still trying to set up a meeting with a state dispute mediator they hope will address interpersonal problems on the board.
An official with the Ohio Commission of Resolution Dispute has contacted all three county commissioners, but commissioner Ken O’Brien said he won’t meet unless a specific issue is identified for the commissioners to talk about.
“I don’t want everybody to sit down in a room if we’re going to say ‘What are we going to talk about?’” said O’Brien, who voted against bringing in the mediator in the first place. He said he is waiting to hear back from the state mediator after she again contacts the other two commissioners.
Commissioner Todd Hanks said he hopes O’Brien gets on board with the mediation program.
“I think if it were to move forward, it would be in the best interest that all three would participate,” Hanks said.
On Oct. 29, Hanks and commissioner Tommy Thompson voted to bring in the mediator. Thompson said at the time he hoped it would help address lingering distrust over a controversial $3.13 million consulting contract that the commissioners passed over the summer before later rescinding it.
O’Brien has said he was not included on some e-mail communications related to the contract, and feels like the other two intentionally kept him out of the loop. O’Brien subsequently issued a broad records request for all emails between the commissioners and the prosecutor’s office, an action which the other two commissioners criticized as divisive.
O’Brien said the $3.13 million contract is now largely water under the bridge, but an incident that occurred the day after the vote to bring in the mediator might highlight some distrust that still exists between O’Brien and the other two commissioners.
On the evening of Oct. 30 after regular office hours, county economic development director Gus Comstock returned to his office to find O’Brien inside with the light off.
O’Brien said he went to talk to Comstock, and when he didn’t find him, he looked on his desk for economic-related information.
Afterwards, O’Brien said he may have made things worse by defending his right to be in the office in the first place.
“If I wanted to go into that office, I don’t have a problem with that, because (Comstock reports directly to the commissioners), and I said that,” O’Brien said. “But that doesn’t mean I’m going to go through his stuff, and I haven’t.”
Comstock declined to comment for this article, but some in the commissioners’ office view the incident as an intrusion and a violation of professional courtesy.
Thompson said after hearing about the incident, he began locking his office door when he leaves, something he didn’t do before.
“My personal opinion is that kind of action is unethical,” he said. He added he would leave a note behind if he were looking for someone in their office and they were not there, rather than look through their desk without permission.
Regardless, Thompson said he hoped bringing in a mediator would help the commissioners hash out some of their issues.
“I don’t want us all to be a bunch of rubber stamps … but I want us to communicate with each other and work together, and not be suspicious
of each other’s motives,” Thompson said.
Thompson also said he doesn’t think the commissioners should “berate or belittle” anyone in public sessions. He didn’t identify O’Brien by name, but he was referring to a few recent occasions where O’Brien’s directed pointed questions toward lawyers representing companies looking to do business with the county during public meetings.
O’Brien responded by saying he was simply asking hard questions of the lawyers in the best interest of the county. That’s what his job is as an elected official, he said, even if it makes him unpopular with the other commissioners.
“I think that’s what we should do, whether we like one another or not, or whether we trust one another or not,” O’Brien said. “If it’s good for the county, the objective data is there regardless of who gets the credit.”