The Toledo Free Press has a front-page article highlighting some of the communication problems on the 8th Floor of government center (Commission: Impossible - see TFP link). Interestingly, it includes the following:
Though discussing the ADAS and Mental Health merger in the commission before June 30 would have been illegal, Gerken and Wozniak insisted any oversight of the law was done unintentionally. They said such an arrangement, once completed, would better serve taxpayers, the organizations and their clients.
"At this point, it is a formality to pass a resolution," Wozniak said. "The work that the two groups have done has been going on, at length, for a period of time."
Gerken partly attributed the mistake in timing to the fact the legislation allowing a merger to occur was part of a large package that was passed en masse by the state House.
"If there's a ‘gotcha' in this, that's unfortunate, because at the end of the day we did our homework," Gerken said. "We're prepared and we're ready to move forward."
Let's see...first contention is that oversight of the law was "unintentional." I guess I'm wondering why no one (except me) bothered to do their due diligence ahead of time so that there was no oversight - unintentionally or not. But, should we, as elected officials, be excused from compliance simply because we didn't "intentionally" do something that was incorrect?
The second contention is that passing a resolution is a "formality." As the ADAS and Mental Health Boards have made the recommendation to merge, it really shouldn't matter to the public that the decision of the commissioners is just a "formality." I guess that any opinions from the public are unnecessary and, perhaps, unwanted.
Personally, the message I get from that statement is that any questions to the two boards regarding their merger report would be unwelcome (by the commissioners - not the members of the two boards) since the decision to merge these two entities has already been made and (sarcasm alert) we certainly wouldn't want to ask any questions that may challenge such a pre-determined outcome. Or perhaps we should ask such questions, but we should do so now - privately - and not wait for a public meeting...
The third contention is that "at the end of the day we did our homework." Somehow I thought that knowing and following the legal process was part of "doing our homework," but perhaps I missed a change in the definition along the way.
What these contentions boil down to is this: the perspective that the ends justifies the means. "We're doing something good - so don't worry about HOW we do it - just be grateful that we're doing anything at all...and don't hold us accountable for following the rules - just be glad with the outcomes." And this "logic" has been used more than once to excuse actions that have the potential to get the BCC into trouble.
I was always taught that if something is worth doing - it's worth doing right, and that you don't sacrifice legality for expediency.
Is this a perspective that is needed on the BCC? As this is an election year, you get to decide the answer to that question.