Trumbull County Commissioner Frank Fuda is like the Energizer Bunny (the political version). He just keeps going and going and going.
Since his first days on the job in 2007, Fuda has made it a priority to be accessible to any community in the county needing the assistance of the commissioners’ office or other departments and agencies.
As a result, the cooperation between county government and city, township and village officials has never been better — as evidenced by the numerous projects that have been undertaken in the past seven years, some that had been on the drawing board for a long time.
“We look for every way possible to function at the same level of services for our citizens,” Fuda said in The Vindicator survey that’s part of the newspaper’s endorsement process. The commissioner pointed out that county government has lost more than $6 million in state Local Government Fund money over the past two years. Governments at all levels have been affected by the cuts.
As a result, there’s a growing need for money for infrastructure improvements and water and sewer systems.
Nonetheless, since Fuda has been in office, the county has completed over $50 million in infrastructure projects. About $27 million of the amount was in the form of grants.
At least 17 percent of the septic systems have been eliminated, with the new sewer systems making it easier for residents to sell their homes and for Trumbull County to attract new industries.
Fuda made it a point to heap praise on his colleagues, Paul Heltzel and Dan Polivka, saying the three commissioners consistently work as a team.
The one program Fuda believes reflects the creativity of county government involves inmates performing such tasks as cutting grass, removing snow, creating community gardens and cleaning up neighborhoods.
The county has saved about $2 million using inmate labor. Another $2 million worth of supplies from the federal surplus program has meant trucks, cars, snow removal equipment and kitchen equipment for the jail.
In the May 6 Democratic primary for commissioner, voters should show their gratitude by rewarding Fuda with the party’s nomination.
We believe hard-work and dedication to public service are qualities that define the incumbent’s two terms in office.
Nonetheless, the former Niles city councilman and veteran school teacher faces a challenger next month. Long-time Hubbard Councilwoman Lisha Pompili-Baumiller said in her Vindicator survey that she’s running because the taxpayers of Trumbull County “deserve better.” She emphasized the word “better.” However, despite numerous attempts by Vindicator writers to elicit specifics about Fuda’s perceived failures, Pompili-Baumiller spoke in generalities and, in fact, agreed with the incumbent on several issues.
For instance, both talked about the lack of public transportation, especially for seniors, but unlike the commissioner, the challenger was unable to give us specifics as to how she would go about restoring the service.
We have long believed that while requiring elected officials to justify their existence is good for democracy, an individual who challenges an incumbent must clearly articulate his or her vision and reasons for running.
We do not believe Pompili-Baumiller has made the case for her candidacy.
The Vindicator urges Democratic voters to reward Fuda for being a dedicated officeholder.
The winner of the nomination will face Republican Patricia Hale Paridon of McDonald in the November general election.