Seneca County Commissioner Ben Nutter wants re-elected so he can address "unfinished business." As commissioner, Mr. Nutter had no qualms about simultaneously being a commissioner and a firefighter. And recently, he added yet a third hat. According to the company's website, Commissioner Nutter is a consultant for Progressive Fire Management Consulting, a Florida limited liability company organized this past July.
As a county resident, I question what effect these multiple responsibilities have on Mr. Nutter's ability to devote the time and energy required to be an effective commissioner. Perhaps Mr. Nutter would have been able to "finish" more had he been willing to devote himself full time to his position as commissioner.
Of course, one thing Mr. Nutter did accomplish was putting a wrecking ball to the building he once called "a statewide and really nationally significant historical monument." (The Blade, Aug. 26, 2009). This, after he declared renovation of our former courthouse "the most cost-effective way to address our court space needs - period!" (The A-T, Feb. 17, 2011). Mr. Nutter even acknowledged "maintenance on the renovated 1884 courthouse building would be less than that of a new building over a 25-year time frame" (The A-T, May 12, 2010).
Mr. Nutter claims he changed his mind because state cuts to the county budget made renovation no longer "fiscally responsible." But the Republican precipitated cuts he decried did not interfere with Nutter's own plan to pay cash for a new courthouse by saving $3 million over five years (The Blade and The A-T, Dec. 9, 2011). If Mr. Nutter acknowledges that Seneca County could save $600,000 a year even in the midst of current budget challenges, he must have a dismal view indeed of our county's future to think that $270,000 (the county's annual obligation to the loan for renovation) would be an impossible obligation in the future.
This county needs full-time commissioners whose word can be trusted. Who are motivated by what is best for Seneca County, not what makes the loudest political statement in Columbus. And, most importantly, who have hope for our county's future.
After eight years of flip-flops, Ben Nutter admits that our court space issue is still "unfinished business." The 1884 courthouse is gone. And I realize some county residents are glad. But I think Ben Nutter said it best himself: "The most politically popular thing to do would be remove the former courthouse regardless of the financial considerations; however, that is not good government and not good leadership" (The A-T, May 12, 2010).
It's time this county had the full-time commissioner providing the good leadership and good government we need and deserve. And it's time we give Ben Nutter the time he needs to focus on that new consulting job in Florida.