Boccieri: Mill Creek Board Selection On The Right Track
Says new selection committee has added value but believes commissioners should have input too

State Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland) today emphasized the benefit of incorporating citizen input into the selection process for MetroParks board members ahead of the upcoming round of candidate interviews. Mahoning County Probate Judge Robert Rusu Jr. recently announced he will today interview the five candidates recommended by a newly-established citizen selection committee for the two vacant positions on the Board of Mill Creek MetroParks. 

“I strongly support incorporating citizen input into the park board selection process, especially as a method of lowering the tone of controversy we’ve seen with our local board,” said Boccieri. The Poland lawmaker believes all future selection processes, not only in Mahoning County but around the state, be modeled with a similar element of public participation. 

Judge Rusu created a citizen-led selection committee after Rep. Boccieri and other community members called for a more transparent board member selection process. The 10-member committee is comprised of local residents with diverse interests in the park system. 

“From first appearances, it seems like this process is working,” stated Boccieri. “However, I firmly believe that going forward we need to have a guarantee that citizen recommendations and feedback will be an element of the board member selection process. I think that allowing county commissioners to make additional park board appointments will provide a critical added layer of accountability.” 

Last month, Rep. Boccieri introduced HB 561, legislation to require probate judges to consider public input when making park board selections. The legislation would also require county commissioners to make any additional appointments to the board beyond the base three members. Commissioners would be held to the same public participation standards as probate judges under the proposal. 

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