With two terms in office under his belt, Trumbull County Commission Dan Polivka has a record of accomplishments — in partnership with his two colleagues, of course — that is noteworthy.
From consolidation of the 911 emergency telephone service, to the installation of sanitary sewers, to balancing the operating budget without laying off employees, it’s a record that bespeaks an officeholder who through his many years as an elected official has learned that constituency service is the first priority.
Taxpayers may be impressed with grandiose projects, but what they want from government most of all is solutions to problems that affect the quality of their lives.
Thus, when Polivka, who is seeking re-election on Nov. 6 to a third four-year term, says that he and his colleagues, commissioners Paul Heltzel and Frank Fuda, have overseen the installation of more sewers than at any time in the history of Trumbull County, he’s saying that a long existing problem is finally being addressed. The work completed carries a price tag of $32.7 million, while there’s another $18 million under construction. More than 2,700 homes have been helped.
As for the 911 consolidation, the savings to taxpayers will top $3 million.
With the budget, Polivka told The Vindicator’s editorial board that the commissioners follow simple rules: negotiate everything; save a buck whenever you can; question lots of things; and, keep a tight rein on spending.
“The commissioners work very well together,” the former member of Warren City Council said. “That’s why we’ve accomplished so much.” He acknowledged that he is the “young guy on the totem pole,” and has learned and taken direction from Heltzel.
His strength is his business and construction background, while Heltzel, a former assistant county prosecutor, deals with the myriad legal issues. Fuda, a former school teacher and Niles city councilman, focuses on citizen outreach.
It’s obviously a winning combination, as evidenced by progress being made in Trumbull County.
Polivka, a Democrat, is being challenged by Republican John Hull of Hubbard, a former Youngstown police officer.
While Hull seems well-intentioned, his decision to seek one of the top jobs in county government while not having run for elected office before seems to us to be ill-advised.
He charges that there is no accountability in government, but did not provide any specifics when he met with The Vindicator’s editorial board. Likewise, he said there is “wasteful spending,” but again was hard-pressed to provide specific examples.
Pro forma sessions?
He also charged that the meetings of the board of commissioners were nothing more than pro forma sessions because “they’ve already had meetings.” Hull had no response when it was pointed out that the commissioners hold workshop sessions prior to their meetings that are open to the public.
Every elected official seeking another term is vulnerable, but a challenger must be able to clearly articulate why he or she is more qualified, more experienced and more prepared for the job than the incumbent.
Hull did not make a persuasive case for his candidacy.
Polivka has a record that should be rewarded. The Vindicator endorses his re-election.