Welcome to Auburn Township in Beautiful Geauga County Ohio

Commentary for 2024 July thru September

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“COUNTY WILL BE HOLDING THE BAG...WE ARE NOT SIGNING OFF. . .”

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Prosecutor Jim Flaiz and Chief Assistant Prosecutor Laura LaChapelle showed up at approximately 10 am today for “a discussion . . .regarding the Purchase and Sale Agreement,” a vague and meaningless reference unless the reader has been following the acquisition of the perfect property that will eventually become the Geauga County Senior Center under the auspices of the Geauga County Department of Aging. Flaiz and Chapelle made their appearance after about a five-minute Commissioner commentary at the conclusion of the July 9, 2024, Commissioner meeting .

It has become apparent that either there are a large number of elected officials who are not privy to all the details or it is simply more important for these individuals to act first without doing the necessary research. Those individuals whom we expect to provide the correct answers have managed to miss the next public sessions for one reason or another (most recently, we understand the reasons for delaying an important answer are vacation days). Given repeated days of absence, the officials that we look to for final resolution of questions, along with those seeking the answers, may forget their issues altogether. To be clear, 2024 is an important election year. Intended or accidental forgetfulness of diligent research and facts is inexcusable.

One of Prosecutor Flaiz’s assets is his ability to make his voice audible and his logic coherent. These were not always his strong points, but his 25-minute “ discussion regarding the Purchase and Sale Agreement” provided much clarification. As noted by Assistant County Administrator, Linda Burhenne, Gerry Morgan (the County Administrator on vacation) was not present to defend himself.

It was vacation days at the Prosecutor’s Office the previous week that had frustrated the Commissioners when they could not get answers regarding the potential “Purchase and Sale Agreement.”

Flaiz prefaced his public comments regarding the “Purchase and Sale Agreement” with a request that the two commissioners present, Spidalieri and Dvorak, sign off on any Attorney/Client privileges.” Thereafter, Flaiz recalled the multiple edits, deletions of language, and amendments that Laura La Chapelle made to the “Purchase and Sale Agreement” as long ago as March 2024. Flaiz was also concerned why the seller required a $50,000 non-refundable deposit when the Commissioners had apparently demonstrated that the purchase was to be Cash. Referring to the “Cash is King” deal, Flaiz expressed his skepticism about the motives of the seller and/or the defects that the vacated Dollar General building property might contain, such as oil drums or stripped wire/metal as a result of property vandalism.

Inability to sign off on any inspections in a very short period of time might “thrust us into another lurch,” according to Flaiz. If the seller was not eager to deal with a cash customer, what dark secrets about the property might he also be hiding?

Before the 25 minute “discussion” was over, Spidalieri claimed to “see the light” by offering the seller one (and only one) 15 day extension to disclose all possible defects or to void the contract once and for all and move on.

Perhaps if Gerry Morgan is back, stays organized, and can address the issues regarding the “Purchase and Sale Agreement,” he will not need the Assistant County Administrator to defend his absence and lack of answerability. . .



HOUSE COMMITTEE SUBPOENAS MAYORKAS OVER TERRORIST DATA, NATIONAL SECURITY THREATS

Saturday, July 13, 2024
Bethany Blankley | The Center Square contributor

U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Mark Green, R-Tenn. subpoenaed Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Friday seeking information he and other House Republicans have requested for over a year about the record number of known or suspected terrorists (KSTs) illegally entering the U.S.

The subpoena follows several unanswered requests previously made by Green and the Republican chairs of the House Oversight and Judiciary committees. They and others have expressed concerns about the skyrocketing number of KSTs who’ve been apprehended after attempting to evade capture between the ports of entry at the Southwest border under the Biden administration.

If they hadn’t been apprehended, they’d be among the more than two million gotaways who illegally entered the U.S. since the president’s been in office. Gotaways is the official CBP term that refers to foreign nationals who evade capture after illegally entering the U.S. The number is a “best guess,” law enforcement officials have explained to The Center Square, and is underreported by between 10% and 20%. DHS and other officials have no idea who the gotaways are or how many or where they are, The Center Square has reported.

Since fiscal 2021, more than 370 KSTs have been apprehended after illegally entering between ports of entry at the southwest border compared to 14 between fiscal years 2017 and 2020, according to CBP data.


Overall, more than 1,700 KSTs have been apprehended illegally entering the U.S. since fiscal 2021 as of July 12, with the majority apprehended at the northern border (1,054), according to CBP data.

The subpoena was issued after more than a year of DHS “stonewalling and failure to satisfy the Committee’s document and information requests related to the record number of inadmissible aliens on the Terrorist Screening Data Set who are crossing the Southwest border between ports of entry,” Green said in a statement on Friday.

“President Biden and his now-impeached DHS secretary’s refusal to secure our borders or comply with our laws is putting our country in rapidly growing peril,” Green said after numerous officials have continued to warn about increased terrorist threats because of the Biden administration’s “open border policies.”

“The Biden administration has utterly failed to safeguard the American people by allowing millions of otherwise inadmissible aliens into the country with limited screening and vetting, including tens of thousands of special interest aliens,” Green said. “Secretary Mayorkas has continued to stonewall congressional oversight and clearly will not comply unless compelled to do so – because he knows this information places the blame squarely at his and President Biden’s feet.”

The subpoena was also issued after 21 Republican U.S. senators demanded answers from Mayorkas and FBI Director Christopher Wray about federal agents releasing illegal border crossers into the U.S. who weren’t properly vetted and were later discovered to have alleged terrorist connections. They demanded answers after the U.S. House Intelligence Committee chairman and a retired CIA director warned that potential terrorist attacks could occur on U.S. soil before the end of the year, The Center Square reported.

Wray testified earlier this year about potential terrorist threats connected to the Islamic terrorist organization, ISIS. Soon after, NBC News reported that DHS had identified more than 400 foreign nationals from countries of foreign concern in Central Asia who were connected to an ISIS-affiliated human smuggling network and illegally entered the U.S., The Center Square reported.

The senators also highlighted examples of “multiple recent releases of aliens on the terrorist watchlist into the United States,” including from Afghanistan, Jordan, Somalia, Uzbekistan and others.

The majority of the KSTs who illegally entered through the southwest border and were released into the U.S. were released because CBP said they weren’t on the terrorist watchlist, “according to the three officials, and the agency did not have information raising concerns at the time,” NBC News reported.

The OIG's report contradicts this argument, noting in a recent audit that DHS’ “ineffective practices and processes for resolving inconclusive matches with the Terrorist Watchlist led to multiple mistakes.” Agency deficiencies have allowed KSTs to illegally enter the U.S. and “potentially threaten national security and public safety,” the OIG warned.



GEAUGA COMMISSIONERS SEEK RETURN OF TAX-ABATEMENT DOLLARS FROM PARKMAN PROPERTIES #30

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Gina Hofstetter, Geauga Community and Economic Development Director, reported on July 9, 2024, to the full board of Commissioners, her recommendation for immediate cessation of “exemption from taxation” due to the failure of Parkman Properties #30 LLC to meet its contractual obligations to create twelve new full-time permanent job opportunities, . . . to retain thirty full-time equivalent jobs, and generate additional annual payroll” as required under its Community Reinvestment Area Agreement.

Incorporated in 2015, Parkman Properties went through a vetting process with the County Community and Economic Development Department in late 2015 to qualify for a tax abatement; the company was to be exempt from paying real-estate taxes, chalking up about $199,000-$200,000 in the ten year period. Parkman Properties has continued to receive the “exemption from taxation” in spite of the 35,000 square foot area not being fully occupied nor being in contract-compliance.

Ms. Hofstetter further identified plans of the Geauga County Prosecutor’s Office to send an official letter to the owner of Parkman Properties with further legal action a direct response of continued non-compliance.. Hofstetter reported bringing Parkman trustees with her for support.

Commissioner Dvorak wanted the Commissioners to “go after” any tax dollars lost to Geauga County as a result of any failure of Parkman Properties #30 LLC to comply with the terms of the Community Reinvestment Area Agreement.

This snafu is not the first time that Geauga County taxpayers have suffered as a result of a Community Development plan gone haywire. Some may remember Blue Tractor, the recipient of a low interest revolving loan set up by the then Economic Development Department circa 2012-2015. Blue Tractor subsequently abandoned its Geauga County and its obligation to pay off its low interest loan granted by taxpayer generosity. Prosecutor Jim Flaiz spent several years tracking down most of the funds due to Geauga County taxpayers through legal recourse, but the total “low-interest” debt was never paid back to Geauga County. Currently, a county-owned parcel at 8200 Cedar Road in Chester Township is the subject of an upcoming Geauga Board of Revision hearing to determine the correctness of an expiration of tax-exemption from payment of real-estate taxes.

During these troubled inflationary times when it is becoming more and more difficult to make allotted dollars stretch, good stewardship of budgets is an absolute necessity for individuals, families, townships, school systems, libraries, and county and state governments.

It’s TRUE-UP Time. Fiscal insolvency resulting from spending beyond one’s means is an imminent way for government officials to burn their little candlesticks from both ends.

Stay tuned.



OHIO CITY FACES 'SIGNIFICANT HOUSING CRISIS' DUE TO MIGRANT FLUX

Thursday, July 11, 2024
Therese Boudreaux | The Center Square

Large numbers of people entering or living in America illegally are exacerbating the housing crisis, including in areas like Ohio far from the border.

City Manager Bryan Heck of Springfield sent an urgent letter requesting federal aid to U.S. Sens. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. Despite the city’s ongoing advancements in housing projects, the sheer number of migrants arriving and residing in the area has strained resources to their limits.

“Springfield has seen a surge in population through immigration that has significantly impacted our ability as a community to produce enough housing opportunities for all,” Heck wrote. “Springfield’s Haitian population has increased to 15,000 – 20,000 over the last four years in a community of just under 60,000 previous residents, putting a significant strain on our resources and ability to provide ample housing for all of our residents.”

Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, presented the letter in a Senate Banking Committee hearing Tuesday as an example of how the swelling numbers are reducing the supply and increasing the cost of housing.

Vance cited how Springfield is “trying to build 5,000 new housing units, which is a very Herculean task in a town of about 55,000 people, but it's also hospital services, it's school services. There are a whole host of ways in which this immigration problem, I think, is having very real human consequences.”

Since January 2021, an estimated 12 million people have entered the country illegally, coming from more than 150 countries.

 


4 IN 10 COMPANIES HAVE POSTED A FAKE JOB LISTING THIS YEAR. HERE'S WHY

Tuesday, July 2, 2024
Alex Arger | Scripps News

Still waiting to hear back from that job you applied to eons ago? There's a good chance you won't, and in some cases, your resume won't be at all to blame.

A new report from ResumeBuilder.com found more companies are posting fake job listings, meaning you had no shot at a callback in the first place.

After surveying 649 hiring managers in May, the site found as many as 4 in 10 companies said they'd posted at least one fake job listing this year. Of these, 26% posted up to three fake listings, 19% posted five, another 19% posted 10, 11% posted 50, 10% posted 25 and 13% posted 75 or more fake listings.

And of those companies who posted a "ghost" listing in the last year, 79% currently have one fake listing active in everything from entry-level (63%) and mid-level (68%) roles to senior (53%) and executive-level (45%) roles.

According to these hiring managers, the idea to post fake job listings primarily came from human resources (37%), senior management (29%), executives (25%), investors (5%), or consultants (4%). Further, fewer than 1% say the idea came from other sources, and about 1% of hiring managers were unsure where the idea originated from.

SO WHO IS DOING THIS?

Well, every action starts with an idea, and the hiring managers involved in the Resume Builder survey said human resources employees came up with the fake job listing idea in 37% of cases, followed by senior management at 29% and executives at 25%.

Plus, 7 in 10 hiring managers believe posting fake job listings is morally acceptable, despite 66% of them saying people who weren't supposed to find out about the practice, have found out.

"It's a concerning scenario, particularly when these misleading postings originate from HR departments — the very entities entrusted with shaping accurate perceptions of their organizations," said Stacie Haller, Resume Builder's chief career adviser.

BUT WHAT'S THE GOAL?

The top two reasons hiring managers gave Resume Builder as to why their companies were posting fake job listings were so that they could appear open to external talent or to act as if the company was growing.

But other top reasons were more targeted toward their employees, including to make them believe new hires would lessen their workload or to make them feel replaceable. Additionally, respondents said some companies keep your resume on file for when they do actually need you at a later time.

"Employees deserve transparency about the companies they dedicate their time to rather than being led astray by false representations," Haller said. "Any tactic aimed at undermining employees' sense of value and security is deplorable. Ultimately, fostering an environment of trust and honesty not only benefits individual employees but also contributes to the long-term success and reputation of organizations."

DOES IT ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING?

While the applicants may argue the ghost listings accomplish a negative amount of anything, 68% of the hiring managers told Resume Builder that their fake job postings positively impacted their revenue, while only 7% reported a negative impact.

They reported similarly for employee morale and productivity, with 65% reporting a positive for the former — though 12% reported a negative impact — and 77% positive for the latter.

But a fake job listing doesn't always mean the whole thing is a wash. Resume Builder said around 84% of hiring managers said the candidates who applied for these jobs were always or sometimes contacted, so I guess the bright side would be ... interviewing practice?

Still, critics argue the practice is deceptive and compounds an already tumultuous task.

"The frustration candidates experience due to fake job postings exacerbates the already stressful job search process," Haller said. "Companies engaging in this practice not only tarnish their reputation but also sabotage their long-term prospects. Deceptive practices erode trust, dissuading potential applicants from considering them in the future as viable employers."

HOW CAN WE TELL THE REAL FROM THE FAKE?

Some fake job postings may look exactly like a company's real ones, so deciphering the two can prove difficult. But Forbes has a few tips:

1. Check how long it's been posted: Forbes says if the role has been open for two months or more, you might want to do a bit more digging, as most roles are filled within 44 days, according to research.

2. Ensure there's a detailed job description: Companies want the right person for the job, which means the listing will likely include many qualifications. If it doesn't, that's a red flag.

3. Research the company's standing: There won't be new roles posted during a hiring freeze.

4. Contact the company: The only way to make your interest really known is through direct contact. Forbes recommends this as another method to discuss your qualifications with someone involved in the hiring process.