Because all politics is local, it's not surprising that public officials in cities, townships and villages are the first to hear complaints from residents -- even when they're not responsible.
Being on the public payroll means never having to say it's someone else's fault. Taxpayers aren't inclined to allow the buck to be passed.
But there are times when buck-passing is justified and when residents need to direct their anger elsewhere.
Case in point: The Ohio Department of Transportation's resurfacing project in the city of Canfield.
About a week ago, City Manager Charles Tieche lashed out at ODOT for what he said was substandard resurfacing of U.S. Route 62 (North Broad Street) from state Route 446 north to state Route 46; state Route 11 from state Route 14 to just north of Leffingwell Road; and Route 46 from Route 446 north to the Ohio Turnpike.
"If they don't resolve this satisfactorily, this may get to be a big issue," Tieche said of the stretched pavement with holes in the center.
"We're aware of the problem, and we're working with the contractor to make sure everything meets our standards." So said Jennifer Richmond, a spokeswoman for District 4. The contractor on the $1.4 million project is Shelly Co. of Thornville.
If Richmond's name sounds familiar, it's because she made similar comments last July when Hubbard Mayor Arthur U. Magee complained about the $1 million repaving of several state routes that run through the city. Interestingly, the contractor on the Hubbard job was Shelly Co.
Magee, who publicly berated ODOT for not being more vigilant and for failing to address the city's concerns, is still fuming and is not satisfied with the outcome.
"It's a lousy job," the mayor said. "It's a lousy job for that kind of money."
Given that, why would ODOT not do whatever was necessary to prevent a recurrence? Someone higher up than the agency's District 4 spokeswomen had better publicly address the complaints lodged by Canfield's city manager Tieche.