With this example, how do you trust government to save us?

By Todd Franko

I have a high level of aggravation right now based on the economy.

We all do, I suppose.

My aggravation specifically targets the role of government — at all levels.

That leads me to Matthew Falter. He’s a 31-year-old Cortland native who works for the state. No, he hasn’t done anything wrong. His name came up in an announcement published in The Vindicator this week that he has a new job that pays $56,000 per year.

The job, we’re told, is important

Falter “will serve as a liaison to state government, local business leaders, elected officials and economic and work force development entities to meet the training and talent development needs of businesses in the region.”

In short, he’s supposed to find ways to develop Ohio talent to fill Ohio workplace needs.

In this time of economic uncertainty, the announcement leapt out to me as one of those government jobs I cannot comprehend.

The announcement this week from the Ohio Department of Development read:

SDLqMark Barbash announces appointment of Falter as Northeast Ohio Regional Workforce Director.”

Everything about my further scrutiny starts with this fact:

Falter began working in September. He has been on the job for six months.

Barbash’s staff just got around now to announcing this important job to our job-starved region.

Barbash is probably not a familiar name. But it is a name Democrats want you to know. That is the reason they put it at the front of news releases — even ones that are six months old.

His current job title is interim director of the Ohio Department of Development. Two years ago, his job title was chief economic development officer. I was told this week he will begin replacing Lee Fisher on various duties as Fisher launches a U.S. Senate bid.

So he’s important.

So I asked Barbash’s staff why, if Falter has been on the job for six months, was it just being announced March 3?

I was told it was to bring attention to the job and help reach audiences.

That is Falter’s job. With a title that connects him to local business leaders, elected officials at all levels, chambers of commerce, etc., he should have no problem making himself and his duties known and should not need a forced news event.

Aside from that, if the need was only to get Falter’s (and Barbash’s) name out before the public, then a more honest and timely press release would have simply stated “Hey, this guy would like to be busier.”

Falter said he has been busy in the six months he’s been on the job. He directed me to this Web site: www.development.ohio.gov/strategicplan. His job is under the link “Cultivate Top Talent.”

It’s a rich Web site with layers upon layers of good-sounding tasks and ventures.

Government is about layers — which is my other concern with this job.

The layers of economic development jobs in this region could warm an African village dropped in the middle of Alaska.

The job was vacant for an entire year. No one in existing roles could have filled that, uhm, need and saved the state $56,000? Not the chamber of commerce, not the Mahoning Valley Economic Development, not the city economic development staff, not Team NEO, not NorTECH, not any of the trade schools?


I read about another job holder who works in Falter’s office — Arnold Clebone. He was hired in April 2007. And when I went to look at his hiring announcement, it looked vaguely familiar:

SDLq... will act as a liaison between the state government and local business leaders, elected officials and business development groups to meet the challenges of the area’s communities.”

Government says they can fix us. I’m not convinced.

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