MetroParks board contiinues discussion on committees

CANFIELD — The Mill Creek MetroParks board will consider a revised version of a motion that created board-advisory committees.

An amended version of board member Tom Shipka’s proposal that was approved in July was presented at a work session tonight by board member Germaine Bennett. Her proposal deviates only slightly from Shipka’s.

Instead of nine-five member committees that focus on finance, development, wildlife, nature education, recreation, volunteers, environment, horticulture, and employee relations, Bennett suggested elimination of the employee relations committee and combining recreation and volunteers into a “community engagement” committee.

She also proposed increasing to seven the number of people allowed on each committee.

Bennett also defended recommendations previously given to the board by MetroParks Executive Director Aaron Young that suggested reducing the number of committees to five, and making the committees report to him instead of the board.

Young was criticized for his recommendations by several members of the public during tonight's regular board meeting.

“His proposal would make meaningless the whole purpose of the committees,” said Barbara Brothers, who is among a group suing Young and the park board over their handling of a staff restructuring implemented in February.

“The committees have to report directly to the board,” said Anna Adams. “The park is in desperate need of fresh ideas. We need the nine committees to bring those ideas to you, the board.”

Bennett stressed the board asked Young for his input, and insisted that making the committees report to him would have been done not to be less transparent, but to free committee members from the responsibilities of the Ohio Sunshine Laws that govern public boards and their committees.

For the complete story, read Tuesday's Vindicator and

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