Trustees Mark Naples and Robert Lidle have 28 years between them of serving Poland Township, which explains why this year’s election has turned out to be a politically mundane affair.
Naples, who is seeking a fifth four-year term, and Lidle, going after a fourth term, are being challenged by Joanne Wollet, who says she first became interested in township government when her backyard flooded.
Wollet, a nuclear medicine consultant, insists the flooding isn’t the reason she’s running for trustee in the Nov. 5 general election, but without that complaint, her candidacy lacks specificity. Incidentally, the flooding of her backyard is an issue that would have to be addressed by the county engineer’s or sanitary engineer’s office, not the trustees.
Her criticism of the way the Naples and Lidle have managed the township’s business falls apart under close scrutiny.
For instance, Wollet says, in listing her top priorities in The Vindicator’s candidate survey form, that she wants to have a “complete review of the township’s finances and inventories.” The suggestion is that there’s a problem with the budget and with the township’s equipment and tools.
But as Lidle pointed out, township government’s records are open to anyone who asks to see them, and that if Wollet had done so, she would have found out two things: one, Poland has a budget carryover of $2.7 million; two, there is an inventory list of all equipment and tools, but miscellaneous items valued at less than $100 are not included.
Naples rightly notes there has not been a tax increase in the 16 years he has been in office, and yet government has continued to provide the services residents expect.
Because townships are limited in the way they can raise revenue, securing $1.5 million in grants for paving, storm water management, the recycling center, parks and police is worthy of praise — especially in a small community.
Lidle and Naples, in separate appearances before The Vindicator’s Editorial Board, were open and straightforward in discussing the investigation of the road department in which three employees were suspended for 30 days without pay and fined $500 each. One subsequently retired, while the two who remain on the payroll are prohibited from applying for any supervisory positions.
Wollet contended that the trustees should have brought in an outside agency to investigate, but the incumbents explained the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations was asked to investigate but officials in the Ohio Attorney General’s Office concluded the case did not merit their involvement.
During her meeting with the newspaper’s editorial board, Wollet kept insisting that township government lacks transparency and that the trustees should attend to township business during the day.
With an administrator on staff, it isn’t necessary or required by state statute that the trustees serve as full-time officeholders. Naples and Lidle certainly spend more than the normal amount of time on township business, but the administrator is responsible for the day-to-day operation of government.
The Vindicator endorses Naples and Lidle for re-election without equivocation.