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‘Kill the messenger’ still alive and well in Buckeye Lake

The ability to listen to criticism and then make constructive changes is a sign of maturity for individuals, businesses and organizations. For years, far too many Buckeye Lake Village officials have acted like a second grader that covers his ears when a teacher tries to correct his behavior.

The latest example came at Monday night’s council meeting when Mayor Clay Carroll announced that the village will likely stop recording Mayor’s Court sessions. Carroll is still upset that council members didn’t accept his ‘I’ve talked with the magistrate about his language’ response to Magistrate John Berryhill’s repeated profanity and unprofessional conduct during Mayor’s Court sessions. Council members knew Berryhill’s comments weren’t a one-time occurrence and understood the Mayor’s responsibility to conduct court under the Supreme Court of Ohio’s rules better than Carroll did himself. Carroll finally did the right thing, but childishly didn’t inform council members. They learned about Berryhill’s forced resignation from our report.

Carroll, former Council President Charlene Hayden and council member Arletta Ruton blame Beacon letter writer Bonnie Mansfield for Berryhill’s departure. Mansfield did Carroll and the entire village a favor. In recent months, Berryhill was creating a sort of backwoods kangaroo court reputation to complement our now well established speed trap status. At some point, Berryhill’s actions would have reached the attention of the Supreme Court of Ohio, turning the attention to Carroll and his responsibility for how the court conducts its business.

Hayden even claimed that Mansfield was upset because a family member was ticketed. Mansfield simply believes everyone, particularly public officials, should play by the rules. She knew Berryhill’s actions were wrong and called him out. We need more Bonny Mansfields who will stand up for what is right.

Carroll likes to sweep dirt under the carpet. He did it as a council member when he was named the point person to the fire department during The Beacon’s year-long expose of its broken EMS services. Little changed and the department still isn’t committed to Patients First.

Carroll prefers to work behind closed doors and is reluctant to discuss his plans and actions even with council members. His priorities don’t align very well with the village’s needs. Buckeye Lake is chronically short of money. It can barely fill potholes at a time when many village streets are crumbling thanks to Hayden and former Mayor Rick Baker. Streets and yards regularly flood with stormwater.

Is Carroll working on any of these problems? No, his focus now appears to be on building a new village complex next to the water tower. His reluctance to really fix village hall’s leaking roof stems from his hope to sell it next spring. Carroll has even commissioned a rendering of the new office complex. Has anyone read about his plans in The Beacon or heard them discussed at council or committee meetings. No, you haven’t, because that’s not how Carroll does business.

He takes the “strong mayor” form of government to heart, believing that he gets to make nearly every decision. It’s probably time for Buckeye Lake voters to take another look at our ‘strong mayor’ charter and make some changes next year. We doubt many charter supporters thought they were turning the mayor into a king and seven council members into pawns. But that’s what Carroll believes!

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