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.