Trumbull County voters will head to the ballot box on May 6th to elect their favorite party candidates. The winners of the primary will then move forward to the general election in November. In the upcoming primary, Trumbull County has two Democrats going head to head to win their party’s ticket.
Incumbent Frank Fuda has served two terms already. During his time in office there have been scandalous headlines involving local agencies and officials that he and the other two commissioners are responsible for overseeing.
There have been the murdered and molested children while under the care and supervision of our county Children’s Services agency. An infant was raped while under the supervision of CSB and no employees were fired in spite of this and in spite of employees falsifying documents. Fuda has been mostly silent – other than a disturbingly cold comment he reportedly made to Attorney/Advocate David Engler. In a conversation with Engler, who has been pursuing justice for murdered and abused children, Fuda said, “These sort of things happen to kids in Children Services.”
There was the private sewer installation fiasco where a couple was charged criminally by the Trumbull County Health Department (a.k.a. the Septic Police). The couple, in spite of coming up with the money, but not until after the deadline, had to endure the stress and expense of being dragged into court. Fortunately for the homeowners, the county lost its case. In his ruling, the Honorable Judge Wyatt McKay boldly said, ”The court further agrees that the Board of Trumbull County commissioners, by and through the Sanitary Engineer and its agents, have deprived the plaintiffs of their due process and equal protection rights through an attempted unconstitutional taking under color of law, in clear violation of public policy.”
A similar case was brought to court by 34 property owners who said they weren’t properly notified of sewer projects in areas of Mineral Ridge and Vienna. Trumbull County Magistrate Beth Anne Aurilio ruled in favor of the property owners and said that the county commissioners, who used federal grant money to pay for part of the $261,396 project, failed to hold a public hearing, passed no resolution and didn’t properly notify homeowners. While this is a win for the property owners, who is left holding the bag?
In another situation involving the Trumbull County Health Department, Fuda was asked for help. An installer blew the whistle on health department officials. As a result, the health department administration responded with an all-out assault on him and his business. They even went as far as to attempt taking his license by creating an administrative hearing. During the hearing, the health department’s own witnesses gave incriminating testimony against Trumbull County Health Department’s health commissioner, Dr. James Enyeart. The health department officials and Board of Health quickly and prematurely shut down the hearing. The independent hearing officer later ruled that no violations by the installer existed and that the board of health, under Dr. Enyeart’s guidance, denied the installer due process.
In a desperate plea for help in addressing these horrors of the Trumbull County Health Department, Frank Fuda was told there is corruption believed to be going on there. Fuda threw his hands in the air and implied there was nothing he could do. He instead backed out of the room away from his constituent, but not before he dismissively said, “You’ll have to talk to my lawyer.”
Later, Fuda had no problem using his power and influence to try to elect long-time Board of Health incumbent William Hagood. Under Hagood’s tenure, the health department has become known for their heavy-handedness, expensive fees, strict regulations, and their silencing of the public by eliminating public participation. When Fuda was asked to vote for a candidate who is a highly respected pediatrician with a master’s degree in public health and business degree in economics, he stated that he had already pledged his vote for Hagood and that he wasn’t concerned with the political fallout because he was going to win re-election in May and Hagood would win the seat on the Board of Health. Fortunately, Hagood lost his seat anyway because a majority of Trumbull County’s trustees and mayors decided the county needed a change in direction.
Most recently, two state agencies raided county engineer Randy Smith’s office and confiscated computers, files, cell phones, and records of Smith and his top management. This came just one week after a lawsuit was filed by a private citizen to remove Smith from office for misconduct. Fuda was called upon to ask Smith to step aside during the investigation. Fuda, however, said, “It’s just an investigation.”
Thankfully, Fuda isn’t the only Democrat in the May 6th Primary election. Lisha Pompili-Baumiller is challenging the long-time incumbent. Pompili-Baumiller has served 14 consecutive years on Hubbard City Council. She serves as Head of Economic Development and has been instrumental in several businesses locating to the Hubbard area. She also serves on the Finance & Utility Committees, Downtown revitalization program and has been elected by her peers for three consecutive terms as President Pro-Temp. She’s a star in her corner of Trumbull County.
Pompili-Baumiller vows to be a commissioner for the people – all the people. She opposes status quo and political corruption. She has captured the support and attention of Republicans and Independents alike, as well as her fellow Democrats. Many conservatives have vowed to ask for a Democrat ballot at the polls on May 6th so that they can have a say in who their next commissioner is.
If Pompili-Baumiller wins the Primary election, she will face Republican challenger Patricia Paridon in November. Pompili-Baumiller and Paridon have been supportive of each other’s ideas and values. Either candidate will bring a fresh perspective and solid, principled leadership if elected.
However, if Fuda gets by Pompili-Baumiller in the primary election, it’s a sure bet that he will continue his reign as Trumbull County Commissioner. Are things really that great in our county that we are willing to vote for more of the same? Are we willing to consent to another four years of a commissioner who will not make hard decisions, follow the rules, and hold office holders accountable? Is this the election when Trumbull County residents make a valiant effort to clean out our local government and bring in new leaders, new ideas, and fresh perspective?
One thing voters must realize, if we want a different direction, we must be willing to elect different leadership.
Pompili-Baumiller is a star in her corner of Trumbull County. Let’s allow her shine over all of us. On May 6th, vote Lisha Pompili-Baumiller because real change is no longer an option, it’s a necessity.
There is a groundswell rising. There is a force uniting people across political lines, age groups, and economic class. Their common ground is the knowledge and understanding that something has been going wrong in Trumbull County, Ohio.
This growing army has battalions. The battalion leaders are meeting with one another. Together, they are learning the connections that create the dots that have created the outline that has produced the picture of the current Trumbull County.
The flow chart of familiar family names, business partners, and pals is so obvious it should be laughable if it were not so destructive.
The Machine in Trumbull County expects you to believe that an endorsement from current officials or local media is a good thing. Be assured it is not. However, be grateful for these stamps of approval, for this is the bright, shining light that signals the trumpet of alarm.
Inside the local parties there is a fight for good over evil; a fight for people over politics; for movement over status quo. In the past, voters have voted the way the media persuaded them to. They voted the way their union leaders had told them they should. They voted based on name familiarity, party affiliation, or because the person was already in office – and as far as they knew, no news was good news.
When our officials in power use their position to leverage consequence and promotion for personal and political agenda, the people are in trouble. They are no longer free. You can be guaranteed that you are only free until you challenge local economic markets, question public procedures and policy, or openly criticize the powers that be.
When our public officials are silent in the time of crisis; dismissive of egregious actions; absent in the time of need; punitive toward the public; and passive when asked for action, there is a serious lack of true leadership. This is the current Trumbull County.
There is a new Trumbull County on the horizon. Many are working hard and taking risks to make it happen. Rise up and be a part of it. Don’t be indifferent. Vote DIFFERENT. May 6.
By Martha Yoder
I am so proud of my little town. Those of you who know I was elected trustee in the recent election might assume that I am proud because of that. While I am grateful that I was elected, my pride has another source.
Seven people ran for two trustee positions in my town. The fact that so many people were willing to take the time to get more involved in their community is certainly something to be lauded.
For the first time in anyone’s memory, we had a candidate forum. Those who organized the event were told not to expect too many people. Some people even said that no one would come. On the night of the forum, it was standing room only at the VFW. Later, there were more than three hundred views of the forum on YouTube. On Election Day, there was a more than 40 percent turnout when the rest of the county was at mere 25 percent.
I am proud of my community, but I hope that the people in Farmington and West Farmington, as well as the people in this county, understand that citizenship doesn’t begin or end at the ballot box. It is a continuous process of informing and involving yourself in your community.
My goal when I started writing my column in The Tribune Chronicle was to wake people up – to get them more informed and involved in local government. I’ve had some of my more cynical and jaded friends tell me that people just don’t care about such things. I think they’re wrong. I saw that in the response to my columns – people are passionate about issues that may seem mundane, but really affect us all in our daily lives. As part of my campaign, I began knocking on doors in May. I had very few people who didn’t want to talk to me. They care. The folks that came to the forum – they care. The people who voted on Election Day – they care.
I think sometimes (and for some reason especially here in our county), public officials forget that they are elected to serve. They forget that the business of governing isn’t their own private business – it is the peoples’ business. They don’t want people to get involved. They see that as meddling. They don’t encourage it.
I’m not so sure that some of what passes for apathy is really a feeling of being intimidated by those in office who think that what they do is none of your business. Those public officials are wrong. It most certainly is your business.
One of my favorite quotes is from Thomas Jefferson. He said, “If once (the people) become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves.”
Not only is it our business to be informed, it is our responsibility. Our founders knew that and intended for us to be active participants in our government. Our responsibility is to keep public officials from becoming wolves.
I know, probably as well as anyone, that doing this takes time. We make time for what is important. Who is elected locally and the decisions they make affect our daily lives as much as what happens in Washington. Keeping up with these issues is far more important than Keeping up with the Kardashians.
Make time for it.
We need to really understand how important our local issues are, and that we have the power to change and improve things if only we stay involved and informed.
Go to meetings.
Force change when you need to.
Don’t let busyness stop you.
Don’t let ingrained and entrenched politicians stop you.
I used the quote above in a column I wrote last year after the election. I noted that it seemed wolves were just so Trumbull County. They still are, but it doesn’t have to stay that way.
Don’t let it stay that way.
- Look what happened in famous eminent-domain case (wnd.com)
- Ann McFeatters: Resolve to be better citizens in 2014 (lacrossetribune.com)
- Local Citizen Involvement Wanted? Whatever! (personalliberty.com)
- Unjust Public Service, inadaquate Public policy or Official misconduct? (zalainacarp.wordpress.com)
- The Best of 2013: The Great Awakening about the Status Quo (dianeravitch.net)
What if your parents worked hard and saved most of their money? What if they wanted to ensure their assets would be passed on to you and your children so they created a trust and left you as the successor should they become unable to handle their affairs and/or eventually pass?
What if twenty years later, in their fragility of years, they became ill, but to ensure diagnosis, you sought out second opinions – of which, came back declaring your parents incompetent to oversee their own affairs? That’s a sad and heavy place to come to as adult children of aging parents.
How would you feel if in a moment of paranoia likely brought on from Alzheimer’s disease, your aged and ill father accused you of stealing his money and without any evidence or documentation to support it, the court stepped in, kicked you off the trust, and began appointing strangers to oversee your incompetent parents million dollar estate?
And, in spite of all your meticulous record keeping, they create reasons to hire and pay officials, friends, attorneys – all with your parents money. Now imagine if you are one of these goons that has the pleasure of making money off an incompetent’s estate without question or resistance. Sounds like a pretty good racket, doesn’t it?
Meet the Setinseks of Trumbull County, Ohio. Two warm, kind-hearted people who thought that just doing things right and doing the right things would be enough to get by in life. However, Rudolph (Joe) and Dorothy Setinsek have been fighting an uphill battle that has played out like a living nightmare for the last four years. Fortunately, they are now being represented by Attorney David Engler who is well-known for his fierce advocacy of civil rights and staunch position against government abuse and overreach.
Meet Jeff Hovanic, Champion Township Trustee, court bailiff, and spouse of one of Judge Swift’s employees. Swift appointed Hovanic as the Trustee over the Setinsek’s estate in spite of the family’s wishes. He said he was appointed because he is “trusted.” Judge Swift vouched for Hovanic and said that Hovanic oversees Champion Townships $3 million budget. That qualifies him. I wonder if any of the counties other 21 township trustees have been appointed to handle hefty elderly estates. Hovanic can bill the Setinsek’s trust and uses the trust money to “take care” of the Setinsek’s trust assets.
Meet Attorney Douglas Neuman. He’s the attorney appointed by Judge Swift to “represent” the incompetent couple. He gets paid by the trust, too. Should he really be representing the interests of the incompetents when he’s already ignored their wishes stated in the trust document they created 20 years ago? Think about this, the longer Attorney Neuman drags this out, the more money he makes. No?
Meet Mark Finamore. He’s Jeff Hovanic’s attorney. He is also the attorney for the county’s other township trustees. Finamore is being paid by the Setinsek’s trust, too.
Meet Josh Garris. He’s the agency attorney for Trumbull’s Guardian and Protective Services (GAPS). He admittedly erred in billing the Setinsek’s trust $12,877 for just 1.5 hours of work. When asked if he’d repay the money, he indicated he would if the court said he had to. So much for “guarding and protecting” aye? Why should it take a court order to repay a $12,000+ billing error?
Twenty years ago, these parents were highly competent and trusted their only son to oversee their affairs at some point in the future – when they suspected they may not be able to care for themselves. Why should that change when they become ill with dementia/Alzheimer’s? Is this court and it’s appointed men exploiting this situation and using the trust money for their own personal gain?
I know many of you have elderly parents. Many of you have had similar illnesses and circumstances with your aging loved ones.
Now, imagine this happening to you and your parents. Be informed. Be aware. BEWARE. Other than more investigative media coverage and informed voting decisions, I don’t know what the answers are. I’m putting this out there for discussion.
I can’t help but consider a slightly different situation. I wonder, if this elderly couple were poor, would this court still have the same interest in their affairs? Or, is it because this couple amassed more than $1 million in assets that the court developed a fascination with overseeing and paying hand selected high-priced attorneys out of the trust assets? I wonder.
- The Advantages of Living Trusts: 6 Ways a Living Trust can Benefit Your Estate Plan (eldercenter.wordpress.com)
- Estate Planning Basics (quicken.intuit.com)
- A Scathing Tongue Lashing & Judgement to a Trustee of a… (prweb.com)
- Probate Nightmare on High Street: Swift’s Severe Actions (trumbullcountynews.wordpress.com)