Hey, Hanks and Thompson! What little cache of trust you once had was lost in a slew of sludge. And you can't consult trust into existence, not with a tax-funded mediator or a $3 million contract.
From The Delaware Gazette (one paper that still earns the trust of its readers):
Commissioners disagree on conflict resolution
Thursday, December 24, 2009
By ANDREW TOBIAS
Plans to bring in a state conflict resolution mediator will have to be dropped if commissioner Ken O’Brien doesn’t cooperate, commissioner Tommy Thompson said Wednesday.
Thompson is attempting to coordinate the mediation session, and he said he would like the commissioners to discuss “communication and trust,” but contends that O’Brien is not interested in participating.
Thompson and commissioner Todd Hanks in October voted to set up a meeting with a state conflict resolution agency. Without O’Brien’s involvement, Thompson said the commissioners may need to rescind the vote.
“It would be counterproductive to move forward without all three commissioners on board,” Thompson said.
O’Brien voted against the initial decision to bring in the mediator. He told the Gazette he is not necessarily opposed to mediation, but skeptical that a meeting could address something intangible like trust.
“I was not going to commit to doing it because I didn’t want to waste taxpayer money on something that likely would not come to a resolution,” he said.
The state-run program is sponsored by the County Commissioners Association of Ohio, and would not require any investment from the Delaware County government.
He has previously said he would only participate in the meetings if they were addressed toward a specific public policy issue. But, he said if the state mediator contacts him and is able to show a meeting about “communication and trust” may be beneficial to county business, he would be more receptive.
“I would like a concrete guide that she would recommend us follow if she thought there was something there,” O’Brien said.
Trust and communication have been an issue for the commissioners at times this year.
Since the passage and rescinding of a $3.13 million consulting contract over the summer, which O’Brien opposed and Thompson and Hanks initially supported, any discussion of the project has often turned heated.
O’Brien has stated he felt like the board had kept him out of the loop on that project, and subsequently requested every email sent between the commissioners and the prosecutor’s office. A county resident who ran O’Brien’s election campaign has also made numerous public records requests into the project and other topics, leading Hanks to accuse O’Brien of leading a “witch hunt.”
Thompson has also stated that he began locking his door in October after he heard about O’Brien searching a county employee’s desk when that employee was not present.