Published November 29, 2005
Whatever reason Mahoning County commissoners David Ludt and Anthony Traficanti give Tuesday for George J. Tablack's return to the Courthouse should be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism.
Why? Because Ludt and Traficanti hid Tablack's impending return from Palm Beach County, Fla., from their colleague, John McNally IV. Such conspiratorial behavior can only mean one thing: They have something to hide.
So, what possible reasons are there for King George's turning his back on the sunny, golden (as in filthy rich) climes of Palm Beach after only four months in a government job that paid a six-figure salary?
1. Tablack was told by his bosses in Florida that he would not be offered a contract for the controller position when his six-month probation was up. (If this turns out to be the reason, it will be because Tablack forgot that being king in a puny county like Mahoning doesn't mean diddly in a large county in God's country.)
2. Ludt and Traficanti begged Tablack to return after the county Democratic Party chose Michael Sciortino to succeed Tablack as county auditor. Tablack's appointment as the director of the Office of Management and Budget is simply a stepping stone to his running against Sciortino for a full term as auditor.
3. It's personal.
4. The cost of living is so expensive in Palm Beach County that Tablack can live like a king in Mahoning County with the salary he'll earn as OMB director and his state retirement benefits.
5. He hates sunshine.
6. He missed having someone to boss around, as he did Ludt and Traficanti when he was county auditor.
Or, it may simply be that Tablack would prefer being a big fish in small pond than a small fish in the ocean.
Whatever the reason, commissioners Ludt and Traficanti had better be prepared to answer this question: Did you two make a deal with Tablack before he left that you would not fill the OMB position until he was absolutely sure that Palm Beach County was where he belonged?