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Boardman trustees wrong in hiring of administrator



Published: Sat, August 26, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



Before Boardman Township trustees turn the community into an even bigger joke than it has become in recent months, they would do well to withdraw the offer they've made to young, inexperienced Jason Loree to be the administrator. Loree has no business being the chief executive officer of one of the largest townships in the state of Ohio.

His r & eacute;sum & eacute; clearly reveals his lack of credentials for the $60,000-a-year job, which was previously held by a long-time administrator who had the professional qualifications but failed on other levels. Loree's primary experience with government work has been the eight months he served as administrative intern in Boardman Township. In other words, he was a temporary employee in the administrator's office.

And that qualifies him for the top job? Trustees Elaine Mancini, Kathy Miller and Robyn Gallitto said they were impressed with Loree because he completed the projects assigned to him. Seeing an assignment to completion may be a rarity in government, but in the real working world, of which Loree has limited exposure, doing the work assigned to you -- fully and competently -- is standard operating procedure.

Another job

Gallitto, Mancini and Miller are obviously taken with this young man, and it may be smart to keep him on Boardman's payroll. But not at almost $30 -per-hour, and certainly not as its top administrator.

There is no credible explanation they can give for their decision to offer the position to Loree, which leads to the suspicion that they wanted someone who would kowtow to them because of his lack of credentials and work experience. He has a bachelor's degree in political science and is working toward his master's degree in public administration. That, too, raises a question: Will he be completing his course work and his master's thesis on his own time, or are the trustees going to let him interrupt his work schedule to attend college?

If they do, Miller and Gallitto can expect to be harshly criticized by Boardman residents because of the hardline they took against former Police Chief Jeffrey Patterson. They reprimanded Patterson for e-mailing a few pages of law school notes to his township computer and printing them out to study during lunch. Rather than talking to Patterson about his private use of public property and warning him about any future violation, they made a public stink about it.

As for Loree's inexperience, we would remind Miller and Gallitto of the reason they gave publicly for dismissing administrator Curt Seditz: His inability to get a handle on the township's finances.

Here's what Gallitto, who has been a trustee since January, had to say: "If someone isn't 100 percent committed to a vision and moving forward, I'm not sure you're getting your money's worth anyway."

And Miller, who has several years' service under her belt, offered this observation: "We really felt we were headed for a financial meltdown."

Their solution to dealing with the township's financial crisis is to hire someone with no background in government finances, with an intern's experience in government work and with no private sector credentials that would make him a valuable commodity for the public sector.

Indeed, Loree was not among the 11 finalists from the 71 applicants for the job when Michael Villano was hired and was not immediately considered by the trustees when Villano resigned after just three weeks.

Villano, the auditor in the city of Hubbard, was qualified to be administrator, but he quit after he concluded that the political climate in Boardman Township is not conducive to the proper and efficient management of government.

The two applicants that the trustees did go after decided, in the end, that relocating to Boardman was not in their best interests.

Pushover

Loree does not have the experience that would allow him to stand up to the trustees. And few graduates given a $60,000-a-year job with a golden benefit package would be inclined to jeopardize such a first job by taking on his bosses. Loree hasn't earned the salary he will be making, and there is no justification for his appointment to the highest administrative post in township government.

Trustees Miller, Gallitto and Mancini should withdraw their offer to Loree and spend some more time looking for someone who meets the definition of "the best and the brightest." If they have to pay a bit more than $60,000, so be it. After all, had Seditz remained on the payroll, he would be earning about $78,000 this year.




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