New Vienna leaders must be prepared

No elected official necessarily prepares to deal with a situation like the one Vienna finds itself in. However, elected officials are expected to lead their communities in a positive direction no matter the circumstances.

Recently, two elected officials in the township decided to forgo those responsibilities and resign from their positions amid a $1 million financial crisis that leaves the township in danger of fiscal emergency.

They are taking the easy way out.

Trustee Robert Root and Fiscal Officer Rhonda Root, who is Robert’s aunt, cited similar reasons for their resignations as they both mentioned the number of hours they spent dealing with the township’s situation.

When Robert Root resigned April 17, he said, “You may be aware I’m the owner of a business and member of St. Louis Parish (near Canton) and the father of three beautiful girls and the husband to my wife and I feel as though I’ve been neglecting my duties as a father, a husband and a man of God. I feel the township deserves someone at this time that can give 110%.”

He also said his doctor influenced his decision and that stress from serving the township, along with other responsibilities, impacted his health.

Rhonda Root, who has been the fiscal officer for less than two months, submitted her resignation Wednesday at the trustees meeting.

“I work Monday through Friday, 7 (a.m.) to 3:30 (p.m.),” she said. “I come home, I don’t even change my clothes, I grab my computer and I come here (the township building) and I’m here until 7:30 or 8 o’clock at night, and it’s just physically exhausting (and) mentally exhausting.”

In a letter she wrote to the township, Rhonda stated she would stay on until her replacement is appointed and “I remain committed to supporting the township in any way I can.”

We simply can’t agree with the decision that both Robert and Rhonda Root have made. Despite this not being a situation they expected to be in, it’s one they were elected to handle and they are doing the opposite by stepping away.

However, while we don’t agree with their decisions, we understand them. Not many would be able to step into a situation like Vienna’s and succeed, which leads us to Vienna residents who are applying for the positions the Roots have left vacant.

We implore you to make sure that you are mentally and physically capable of handling the demands of the position you are applying for. We also ask you to make yourself fully aware of the situation you are stepping into, as it is a difficult one. You will be responsible for leading the community out of a dire situation and helping straighten out their financial woes. This, in itself, is a major responsibility that must not be taken lightly.

We also ask township officials, both current and new, to make a greater attempt at communicating, not only with the community, but with each other. It is evident there was a lack of communication, which played a part in the township reaching this dire financial situation and it must be addressed and corrected.

To move the township out of these dark times, shortfalls must be addressed for the betterment of Vienna’s future.


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