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Government transition gets ugly

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

In a testy exchange with a colleague about the pending change to the form of government in Summit County, County Commissioner Sally Elliott insisted she will seek a seat on the Summit County Council when the new board forms in 2008.

"Yes, I am going to run for council," Elliott said Wednesday in a meeting at the Sheldon Richins Building.

Next year, the current three-person commission will be replaced by a five-member county council, a change voters approved in 2006. The board will oversee legislative duties in the county while a new appointed manager heads up the government’s executive branch.

Summit County Commissioner Ken Woolstenhulme opposed the change, claiming it is not how county government should operate.

Woolstenhulme will not seek a seat on the Summit County Council, he said Wednesday.

County Commissioner Bob Richer said he hasn’t decided whether to campaign for a seat on the new board.

"The city election is not even over, so it’s just way too early to even talk about it," Richer said Friday.

Before they elect five councilors next year, people want a chance to influence how the transition to the new council/manager form of government occurs, Elliott said

"I’m beginning to get lots of questions," she said, adding that, "it’s only fair to give people an opportunity to know what our thinking is."

But discussing the transition today is "premature," Woolstenhulme contended.

Woolstenhulme criticized Richer and Elliott for indicating that the $1 annual salary voters approved for new councilors should increase.

"It’s not productive, Ken," Elliott responded. It’s been long anticipated that the $1 salary would increase substantially once councilors are elected.

Woolstenhulme doesn’t have to be involved in the discussion, Elliott added.

"I’ll be part of it as long as you are," Woolstenhulme quipped while pointing his finger at Elliott. "You said the salary would be $1."


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