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Thursday, May 29, 2008

County government reform bites dust; people named Russo breathe easier

Posted By on Thu, May 29, 2008 at 1:30 PM

With the Ohio Senate "studying" Hagan's proposal, the commissioner may have dodged a bullet.
Thank goodness for our state senators. Yesterday, they moved to block a proposal to “reform” Cuyahoga County government -- allowing nieces, nephews, and well-connected ex-girlfriends of politicians everywhere to breathe a deep sigh of relief. The doomed proposal, put forth without a trace of irony by Commissioner Tim Hagan, would have turned elected offices such as auditor, sheriff, coroner, and clerk of clerks into appointed posts. In theory, this restructuring would help cut down on waste and patronage, perhaps even winning us a few bureaucrats who knew how to use a calculator. In practice, of course, it simply would have given Hagan and Jimmy Dimora another avenue to stack the cubicles with their favorite minions... It was also great PR. It made Hagan, who routinely wastes millions of tax dollars on doomed projects, look like a disciple of Suze Orman. At least until House Speaker Jon Husted called his bluff and fast-tracked the proposal though the House, and the Plain Dealer editorial page rallied behind it with a ringing endorsement. "Shit!" thought Dimora and Hagan. "This was just something we were kicking around over McMuffins. They can’t actually turn it into a law, can they? Hey, kid, can I have the rest of your McMuffin?" But their pals on the Senate finance committee rescued them by stripping the proposal out of the House bill. It seems the Senate wants more time to "study the matter," which is usually Columbus-speak for "We're gonna bury this bad boy behind the garage. Did anybody bring the shovel?" It’s future is now extremely tenuous. And from Bedford to Parma, people named Russo and McFaul are counting their lucky stars. —Lisa Rab


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