(LFC Comments: Auburntownship.org very clearly shows that they are bringing the truth to the citizens of Geauga County. They do not let party politics or friendship color the truth. We say BRAVO!)
We have been told we are equal opportunity slayers. I prefer that we be remembered for the Latin phrase attributed to Papal legate, Abbot Arnaud Amalric, prior to the massacre at Béziers, the first major military action of the Albigensian Crusade: “Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius” (“Kill them all. For the Lord knows those that are His own.”) I mention this because auburntownship.org received a letter to the editor from a private citizen followed by a rebuttal letter.
The original letter from Shelley Chernin appeared to implicate Tim Grendell for lack of transparency and double-dipping. For a good definition of “double dipping” in the public sector, see https://www.governing.com/columns/public-money/Looking-Twice-at-Pension.html, quoted in part below:
“Most public employees feel that they have earned their pensions, but many seem to be unaware of how much earlier they are able to receive substantial benefits than their counterparts in the private sector. It is their entitlement to pre-retirement income that is disputed by the watchdogs. Many of the early “retirees” who double-dip clearly view their pension as deferred compensation and pre-retirement income, not retirement security. They also tend to overlook the gamesmanship that transpires in the pubic pension arena, where workers can transfer service credits from one employer to another and parlay benefits that could never be attained in the corporate world. Portability is one thing; triple-dipping is another.”
Ms Chernin’s claim of lack of transparency was obviously incorrect. The fact that Tim Grendell filed his intention to exercise his right to collect his OPERS pension with Board of Elections Director Zeigler was in fact an act of transparency in compliance with ORC 145.38
Her second accusation of “double-dipping,” presumably meaning the Judge would be collecting retirement benefits at the same time as he is also holding a judgeship, has been an active topic in Geauga County for many years. Let me take you back to about 2014 when Ralph Spidalieri and Skip Claypool were the new commissioners. Backed by the Tea-Party, they proclaimed “double dipping” to be the evil mantra of the day. Pressure was brought to bear on many department heads because of “double dipping.” The most obvious examples were Sally Bell, Director of Department on Aging and Jim Adams Director of the Board of Mental Health and Recovery Services. The fact of the matter is that collecting an OPERS pension while continuing to work is neither illegal or unethical.
The rebuttal letter from Tim Grendell exemplifies extreme overreaction comparable to killing a mosquito with a baseball bat. While his letter amply demonstrated self-promotion, he attacked both Ms Chernin and us, the messengers, who were entitled to present any letter to the editor we chose. We remain disappointed with Mr Grendell’s apparent failure to recognize our rights and responsibilities as editors. By not backing up his accusations he is guilty of the same sloppiness as Ms Chernin.
In the end, in our opinion both letters were flawed. The voters of Geauga County still have the final say on April 28 in the Republican Primary.