Colerain Township, OH

"It's coming from inside the house" the scary reality of Colerain Township's problems becomes starkly apparent

The Cincinnati Post
The problem in Colerain isn't the residents; it's the in house administration and leadershipModified from All Events promo 2002

Six resignations in 4 years from the top 3 leadership posts in Colerain Township reveals, the problems are in-house, not with residents.

It's not you - the residents - causing the lack of progress in Colerain Township, the problem is coming from in-house. It's the leadership. It's simply the way this township is run. For at least the 6th time, in less than 4 years, we'll be hiring another person in one of the top 3 leadership positions in the township. The turnover at the top in Colerain Township administration is emblematic of the problems in leadership, the lack of consistent progress, and the disconnect with residents.

The township just lost Jackie O'Connell after about 2 years on the job. She was a consummate professional with a broad skill set and good rapport with residents. The newly hired public works director is moving on. The scary reality is, the problem lies with the leadership mentality within the administration building. Usually, the trustees blame the residents for their inability to retain good employees. This departure throws a monkey wrench into that theory. It's not you. There were no scandals, no explosive insults at board meetings, in fact, I don't believe there was a single complaint lodged against Jackie O'Connell. The township leadership just can't keep the help.

Nobody's happy - if they're paying attention. Employees leave in droves. Native residents have moved away. And things really aren't getting better despite the rosy picture presented in videos.

The turnovers started when voters ousted the Ritter-Inderhees administration due to the hostile treatment of residents and the new administration hired Geoff Milz as township administrator despite his acrimonious relationship with residents as assistant administrator. It was a very bad move when voters clearly wanted to clean house and start fresh. Instead, newly elected trustees, Dan Unger and "Raj" Rajagopal and the township's "court jester," Greg Insco, made a calculated error in keeping the staff that contributed to the voter rebellion ousting the incumbents in 2016.

Shortly after, the wheels fell off that bus, one by one. The residents revealed that partisanship and favoritism dominated township hiring decisions under the Ritter-Inderhees reign. The first to go was the financial director when it was revealed in a public meeting that she was being paid over $80K a year and she only had a high school diploma. Taxpayers were having to pay outside contractors to perform her functions because she didn't have the licensure necessary for her basic job duties. However, she had a familiar qualification - she was a trustee's former babysitter and next-door neighbor. Next was the planning director who was revealed to be grinding an ax against residents for nonexistent violations she pursued aggressively. She resigned the morning she was called to testify in just sort of case. The public works director resigned and fled to central Ohio while under investigation for contract steering relative to the MegaLand mega-mistake causing the township to be without playground equipment at its flagship park for over 2 years. Meanwhile, the fiscal officer was found to have disregarded the findings of the state auditor and failed to timely and properly amend the township taxes costing taxpayers $60K. Instead of the trustees making her pay for her mistake, as required by law - they gave her a pass. She would opt to not run at the end of her term.

Residents forced out those who carried the banner for the previous administration. Milz, by default, was given the opportunity to reshape the township's attitude toward residents and the persistent problems within the township.

Despite all the awards and accolades, he failed. Miserably.

He's very good at bring in the bucks. Not so much with people. The township administrator demonstrated his lack of acumen in his hiring practices in what would end up becoming a revolving door of new hires that proved to be either incompetents or those intolerant of the governing mentality in the township. Milz's leadership style reflects his motto, "All I need to do is count to 2." Trustees Dan Unger and Matt Wahlert have been the only "2" opinions heard in the township for the last 4 years and why there is little progress. They supported Milz's leadership style even though it alienates residents and employees alike. Once Milz acquires the approval of the two trustees, off the record, he doesn't even bother to brief the third trustee, "Raj" Rajagopal, much less the residents impacted before putting it up for a vote.

He's not a consensus builder.

The only way to rid Colerain of this mentality causing both the turnovers and the lack of progress, might be in the upcoming elections. Mixing up the trustees might force Milz to learn how to count to 3, if not, to count in the wants and needs of 60K residents.

Something needs to change.

"Raj" Rajagopal is an incumbent that most believe will retain his seat, despite being the odd-man-out for the last 4 years when it comes to Milz's management philosophy. He was the biggest vote-getter in the last decade. While not in the top "2" favor of the administration, he has won the favor of residents, hands down. Dan Unger is the other incumbent. He is blindly satisfied with Milz as long as the books balance. Milz can always count on Unger's vote. A first-time candidate, Chuck Klosterman, is running on a platform of, "Trash, traffic, and turnovers." Being an outsider allows him to see what is at the heart of the problems in Colerain and he is the only candidate who was talking about turnovers before the news of yet another resignation hit. The fourth candidate is Kathy Ulrich. She is the endorsed establishment Republican, like Unger. She has set records in funding raising never before seen in a Colerain Township election.

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