Friday, December 31, 2010


As I have taken something of a self-imposed hiatus for the holidays I have been flagging some Butler County stories that I didn't want to just forget about.  So here are a few of those along with some stuff that hit the radar today...


Mike Pitman had a story about how one county bureaucrat was trying to blame the Cincinnati Premium Outlet mall for taking away money from Butler County.  While this may have some elements of truth to it, Butler County should have been able to balance that with IKEA alone.

And isn't it ridiculous that the county is left to whining about the success of a development project in a neighboring county?  Why not offer some suggestions on what the county should do to make itself more attractive to business?

Pitman makes one mistake in his piece.  He writes:
The national economy is still to blame for many problems, including Butler County’s projected $7 million 2011 deficit.
That's just not right.  I could buy that if Butler County started its downturn at the same time and actually took proactive action to correct it.  But if you look at Butler County budgets, it's been nothing but SPEND, SPEND, SPEND with no end in sight (I was going to say with a few exceptions, but that's not really accurate either as there were plenty of exceptions, its just that at least one department gobbled up all those savings because The Exalted High Commissioner of the Sheriff's Department whined to idiots like Mike Pitman and the Intrepid Reporter Josh who were all too willing to air the dirty laundry while not saying a word about how sheriff Spotlight has been driving this county off a financial cliff for a decade or so.)
And then there is this guy...
But whatever is done, Commissioner Don Dixon said it cannot be business as usual, but rather business as it should be.

“It’s going to be difficult, it’s going to be difficult all over,” Dixon said. “But it’s not impossible.”
I can only laugh at yet another of Sheriff Spotlight's stooges rants and raves about money HE SPENT.  That's right, Donbo, you've been on Commission long enough now that this game is more than a little tired.  Shut up and get the job done. 

Jolly is a good man, but I have take a shot at this kind of thinking:
Jolivette said it’s unfair to play “Monday morning quarterback” with the Commission’s decisions in recent years.

“You need to be there at the time the contract was signed to see what was available,” Jolivette said. “And you can’t use the economic times that we’re in now to say, ‘Look at what you can get it at now versus what you got back then.’ Times were different and prices were different.”

Jolivette said the county’s reserves had increased to $14 million before the economy tanked. As a result of the poor economy, those reserves have been tapped into for the past three years, he said.
This is the sort of "philosophy" that lacks vision and principle.

The guy who said Commission was "spending like a drunken sailor" when he was on the outside looking in now thinks that we all just had to be there to understand it.  Exactly WRONG.  This county has had a spending problem (as Roger Reynolds frequently points out) for quite some time and the principled leader keeps some dough in a rainy day fund.  Butler County bought a Navy, Horse Cavalry, and an Air Force for starters.  admitting these things has to be the first step towards fixing it.

Thank God we have at least one elected official who gets it, the afore-mentioned Roger Reynolds:

“My concern for the 2011 budget is to ensure we have spending below revenues, approved spending below estimated revenues,” Reynolds said. “I have a significant concern that over the past two years we’ve continued to spend more reserves than we should be as opposed to cutting the expenditures.

“And now we’re in a position with fewer options than we would have, had we been more disciplined over the past couple years in cutting expenditures.”

Reynolds said he’s done more than voice his concerns; he’s tried to lead by example. Since taking over the auditor’s office, Reynold’s has cut the department’s budget by 35 percent.
When you discover where that 35% went, you will be outraged.  Because that 35% didn't get saved, Commission spent it.  Every last dime of it.


Now we go to the Enquirer and Sheila McLaughlin for the story on the political maneuvering going on now that people are moving to their new gigs.

Clerk of Courts:

On Jan. 12, the central committee will give the nod to one of three people jockeying for the $68,000-a-year-job.

They are Jeff Wyrick, a deputy clerk of courts under Carpenter; Mary Swain, a court administration manager for Butler County Common Pleas Court and the GOP's state central committee woman; and Fairfield Township Trustee Steve Morgan, who runs M & M Fine Used Cars, a family business that his late father started more than 50 years ago.
Publically, Cindy Carpenter has backed Jeff Wyrick in the past because he was her right-hand man and her campaign manager.  It will be interesting to see how long her loyalty lasts...  In this field, Wyrick is probably the least likely to survive the cut, but he is probably the most knowledgeable and experienced candidate.
Swain's interest is a surprise of some sort. But her experience with the courts aside, I find nothing about her that evokes confidence in me that she is capable of leading anything.  The few times I have heard her speak on any issue have been underwhelming.  She has lived in the shadow of Carlos Todd the entire time I was aware of her existence.

Morgan is a fascinating choice and if I had to pick one of these, he would probably get my vote.  He's a business man and has held office.  Good combination of skills and what I have been able to learn about him so far shows that he is the kind of guy that could serve the county well.  If the Butler County GOP is serious about bringing new blood countywide, Morgan ought to be their choice.

Infighting between assistant prosecutors Lance Salyers and Jason Philabaum prompted Salyers to quit that job in November and announce that he's running against Philabaum for the GOP appointment, which the central committee will make in February or March.

Philabaum has come under attack by a third candidate, attorney Mike Gmoser, in what Philabaum has called a smear campaign.

According to documents obtained by The Enquirer, Gmoser, an assistant prosecutor in the late 1970s and early 1980s, met privately with party leaders in November and presented them with a letter that accused Philabaum of ethical violations for being paid for work on a civil case while he was an assistant prosecutor.

Philabaum has responded with his own letters to GOP officials, saying he did nothing wrong.
My choice?  None of the above.  Sticking a gun to my head?  Gmoser.  Why?  Gmoser makes all of the right people cringe.  Nothing against Philabaum, who would do well in the position; I just don't like who his friends are...

A federal judge brought the smackdown on Mike Fox and denied his motion to dismiss the charges against him.

I got nothing to add to this except that as I have said all along, anything short of prison for Mike Fox is a miscarriage of justice.


Nice story about the "end" of Greg Jollivette's political career (for the moment?)


I have been hearing rumblings that state Senator Gary cates may leave his post early and join the Kasich administration.  He has been involved in education and has made surprise appearances at the state board meetings.

If I am not mistaken, Cates is on his last term anyway in 2012.  While we still have some time for that to happen, it wouldn't hurt to start thinking about some of the possible replacements.

  • Bill Coley?  I think he is about to be term-limited in the Ohio House.


  • Tim Derickson?  He just got to the Ohio House, I'd like to see him stay there

  • Corky Combs? He just made the Policy Committee, but I think he is approaching term limits too and his interest in County auditor awhile back illustrates his desire to figure out what is next

  • Greg Jollivette? He has expressed an interest in continuing his career and he did mention the Ohio House as a possibility, why not consider the Ohio Senate

  • Roger Reynolds? Just throwing it out there...but we do need Roger to continue doing God's Work right here in Butler County

  • Nancy Nix? She should be able to garner the support to pull this off...

  • I'm just getting started...  If you got ideas, put 'em in the comments.