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Many of county's problems are of its own making



Published: Fri, April 22, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Many of county's problems are of its own making

EDITOR:

Federal courts have found that prisoners were beaten and repeatedly deprived of their constitutional rights.

Did this happen at Guantanamo Bay?

No, right here at the Mahoning County Jail, actually.

We've recently had eight deputies adjudged guilty of these very offenses.

They will soon be sentenced, to jail I trust, for their crimes.

Those with good leadership skills lead by example, making it known what will and will not be tolerated.

When one considers that Sheriff Randall Wellington, the county's top elected law enforcement officer has been found guilty of violating the supreme law of our country, the U.S. Constitution, for years in another Federal Court, it's no wonder that his subordinates had such little regard for the rule of law. Furthermore, according to an article in The Vindicator April 3. Sheriff Wellington, received a waiver from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction to permit more bunks to be added to the jail, provided individual cell doors were left open, allowing inmates 24-hour access to the dayroom, and that the sheriff would no longer house federal inmates in the jail; he also added many more bunks than permitted. Judge David Dowd found that Wellington violated all three of these provisions, and also had violated Dowd's original order of November 2003 by ignoring the judge's order to stop violating the constitutional rights of inmates, who were sometimes "locked down" for 231/2 hours a day.

Those are conditions that should be reserved for violent convicts in a maximum security prison; not in our county jail, where court records show the vast majority of Mahoning County's inmates had not been found guilty of anything other than being too poor to post bond. The Mahoning County sheriff must be a good administrator with law enforcement experience; judging by the many failures under his aegis, administration is obviously not Sheriff Wellington's forte.

Now, because of his poor administration, leadership and illegal actions, Wellington must accept most of the responsibility for his money woes, and the humiliation of having a court appointed special master -- at taxpayers' expense -- to do his job of jail oversight.

Instead, as in the past, Wellington thinks restoration of the county 0.25 percent sales tax will solve his problems, when the real problem is a systemic one perpetuated by tax and spend politicians who still don't accept the taxpayers' message sent by voting against the tax: live within your means, as the rest of us must. Since money is so tight, sheriff, ask Michael Budd to return the "salary" you allowed him to collect since his October 2004 indictment before you ask the taxpayers for more money.

Politicians must realize that wages and benefits in the public sector are much more than those in the private sector of our county; enough is enough.

Threatening to unleash violent offenders on the county if the tax should fail is going to backfire, sheriff.

WILLIAM CRAWFORD

Austintown

Patch-up old or invest in new?

EDITOR:

For almost 100 years students have received a quality education at the current Jackson-Milton High School. The building is in a crisis, as it needs several million dollars worth of repairs to outdated equipment and a structure that is 100 years old and failing.

The time has come to replace this building with a modern facility to provide our community's students with a safer and improved learning environment.

As taxpayers we can continue to spend our hard earned dollars on bandaging a century-old building, or we can invest our money into a new modern facility.

The average household cost to build a new high school in the Jackson-Milton community is equal to one cup of coffee a day or one pizza per month. Please vote yes May 3 to support a new school building to educate the most important resource in our community -- our children.

MATT KECK

North Jackson




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