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Participation a problem for council

It’s disappointing to see such lackluster participation in Council of Governments meetings.

Roughly 20 municipalities weren’t represented at all at the most recent meeting while seven municipalities were recently represented by staff instead of council members. If the council is to continue to exist, better participation is needed from member municipalities, and that participation has to by members of decision-making bodies.

Councils of Governments are voluntary associations that represent member local governments that seek to provide cooperative planning on issues of mutual concern that cross jurisdictional lines. The ongoing Emergency Management Service crisis in Warren County certainly fits that bill. So why are so few members attending?

Solving regional issues only happens when there is trust amongst the people at the decision-making table. It’s hard to have trust, however, when the table is largely empty.

Lack of participation creates a vacuum in which frustration and anger festers. Paul Giannini, a Warren City Council member, expressed frustration with towns for the city’s increasing role in answering EMS calls.

Those comments angered Al Fox, Mead township supervisor, who was it was disturbing Giannini didn’t attend the Council of Governments meeting. In fact, no Warren City Council members attended.

Problems won’t get solved this way. Alan Kugler, Warren Council of Government consultant, said at the last meeting that the council needs a reset.

He may be right, but in our view the council also needs a commitment from its members to participate in the council.

If there is no participation, the council might have to dissolve.

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