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Shedding more light on Wellington’s “stunt”

By Todd Franko (Contact)

Published January 19, 2012

Untitled document

The posturing has been interesting following Sheriff Wellington’s move to stop staffing city video arraignments due to budget issues.

Here’s our story today.

Here’s one email that arrived almost instantly the other day:

....Why doesn't the Vindicator "call out" Wellington on his new scam to get a budget increase. The Sheriff in Ohio has only 2 functions required. Maintain a jail AND serve court papers...that's it!!! He is doing what school boards do when they want to get what they want...cut sports or cut bussing. Wellington has plenty of people sitting on their asses. Detectives, road patrol, 38 people in office jobs, etc.,etc.,etc. In the old days we would shut everything down and do the 2 REQUIRED things when money was short. But not this idiot......and because of the Vindy he gets away with this....unbelievable!! Video arraignments save lives...hopefully no one gets hurt.

First consideration:

If video arraignments save lives and dollars, why aren’t all these instant county fiscal experts wondering why the county courts don’t use video arraignments? That’s right — Judge Krichbaum & Co. have all the inmates trucked over. So the video arraignment system exists at the jail only for city operations.

On the thought of city operations, Warren, Akron, Dayton are among the big cities in Ohio that pay its county for jailing services. Why does it not work for Youngstown?

You say no one in the county should pay for special county services?

Then please ask Canfield Township how much it pays to the county to have deputies provide road patrol services.

I’m not for or against any one county or city office over another. But I don’t mind pausing from the furor and just letting the numbers speak.

The jail’s budget numbers — from 211 closed jail cells to 110 less deputies to $12/hour inmate watchers — speaks volumes. Where do you find those comparable reductions in any other county operation — or even city operation?

For people to care now how Wellington spends is kind of amusing. No one cared when the jail spent less and cut services. Has anyone paused to wonder how the city’s summer murder spree might have been different had 211 cells been in use? Would a YSU student still be alive had his shooters been locked up?

Retired jail boss Jim Lewandowski told a tale once that went something like this: The brain and the heart got into a fight once, and each argued that it – not the other - was the more important function of the body. The lungs heard this and said “we are the air; we are most important.” The liver and kidneys partnered up and touted their overall significance, too.

Then the ass end tried to join the debate and cite how “most important it was to the system” — much to the chagrin of the heart, brain, lungs, kidneys and liver.

Insulted, the ass end decided to stop working, and all the other functions shut down. The jail operations have been the ass end of county operations in recent years, with funding that comes seemingly only when a federal court orders it.

So be it ...

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