Monday, September 28, 2009

Commissioners have no authority to interfere in YMCA

According to a story in today's paper, the residents who want to save the South Toledo YMCA from closure want the Lucas County Commissioners to form a task force that will examine the finances of the organization.

The only problem is that county commissioners have no such authority.

There is nothing in the Ohio Constitution or Revised Code that gives a board of commissioners the authority to examine the books, receipts, expenditures, etc... of a private organization.

A resolution submitted earlier in the month to the BCC to establish a task force was tabled. The Commissioner used the Zoo Task Force as a reason for this action. However, the Zoo is a different animal, so to speak. As a quasi-governmental entity, it exists solely to provide zoological services, under contract with the County, in accordance with the ORC. The YMCA doesn't. (Even then, I voted against the terms of the contract with the Zoo that mandated government appointments to that board because I believed it was outside the authority of the Commissioners to do so.)

The YMCA is a private organization and while they do get some public dollars for certain programs, those programs already have financial oversight and auditing, as required by the contract for those limited programs. If the YMCA did not bid to provide such programs, it would, unlike the Zoo Board, still exist.

The Commissioners should reject any request to interfere in the operations of a private organization - no matter what a few neighbors may think - and, in doing so, should remind that public that government is not always the solution to their problems nor a hammer to be used to force others to conform to a small minority's wants or desires.

However, should the Commissioners bow to the limited public pressure and attempt to exceed their authority, the YMCA should refuse to comply with any such efforts. If the Y allows a government-formed group to examine their internal, private information, they set the stage for other similar intrusions in the future. Such a precedent (and it will be a precedent) will enable the Commissioners and other governmental bodies to expect compliance with such encroachments in the future.

This cannot be allowed. All citizens, business owners, board members and others who do not want to see the heavy hand of government exceed its parameters should vigorously oppose this meddling, overstepping of authority.

Contact information for the Commissioners:

Pete Gerken:
Tina Skeldon Wozniak:
Ben Konop:
Phone number: 419-213-4500

1 comment:

-Sepp said...

C'mon Maggie, why would 3 democrat commissioners NOT think that they can just wield their governmental power to pressure / harrass a private entity? They're just following their "big brothers" in Washington as an example of how government works.

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