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Article published May 8, 2012
County govt. normalcy
Steven HivelyCranberry Township
It’s time for the Butler County Board of Commissioners to show a return to normalcy. The government center has been subjected to four months of Jim Eckstein’s false accusations, witch hunts, fabrications and documented, dysfunctional behavior riddled with ramblings that have accomplished nothing for our county. Eckstein’s unwarranted personal attacks have repeatedly targeted fellow commissioners, row officers, other management, employees, respected law firms. On May 2, even a private citizen was publicly attacked with serious accusations by Eckstein. He continues to show no respect. His inexperience and lack of management skills and governance abilities have been more than evident. This ineffective rookie commissioner seems to have a “do as I say, not as I do” mind-set that is very hypocritical. His personal expense requests for 2012 show a disregard for personally saving any county money and paints another documented picture of his spending and wasteful travel. It’s ironic that Eckstein blasted the need for new county vehicles, yet found ongoing use of county-owned vehicles as just another taxpayer-funded freebee for his personal use. However, at a recent meeting, Eckstein voted against purchasing much-needed vehicles for Children and Youth Services as requested by CYS director Joyce Ainsworth. He then blasted a cost of $33,000 for each vehicle, which is $10,000 more than the actual purchase price of $23,000 as approved. Self-serving drama? Then, at the April 18 commissioners meeting, Sheriff Michael Slupe asked to lease or purchase a new cargo van. Slupe was unprepared and did not know the cost of the monthly lease or final purchase price when asking for approval. One would think the motion would be tabled until he provided the requested information. Certainly Eckstein would have tabled the request if Ainsworth was the one making the request. Unfortunately, the purchase was approved immediately with a caveat to fill in the price “later.” Good-old-boys club? I urge all taxpayers to demand any action needed to address Eckstein’s documented and misdirected behaviors. Eckstein’s campaign rhetoric to “save money” has proven only to be Eckstein’s wasting of money and causing embarrassment for our county. An apology would be appropriate to dedicated county employees and others who have been subjected to Eckstein’s reign of verbal and degrading terror by an inexperienced and misguided commissioner. Eckstein has become irrelevant and ineffective by his actions. Butler County deserves better. A recent online poll by the Butler Eagle found 46 percent of respondents feel that Eckstein should at least be censured. It’s time.