Let mayor do her job, process runs its course

Susan Haugh, mayor of Wellsville, appears to be in an unenviable position these days – hand-picking a candidate whom she believes should be the next village police chief.

Yet what needs to be remembered is that Haugh only recommends an individual for the position. In fact, it is up to village council to do the hiring.

Yet, with recent council gatherings, it has been Haugh, and not the six-member council of Randy Allmon, Don Brown, Tony Cataldo, Diane Dinch, John Morrow and Nancy Murray, that’s received the brunt of criticism.

It was Haugh who was lambasted by two village residents at last week’s council meeting, questioning both her experience to make the recommendation and the way in which she is conducting the selection process.

It appears to us that Haugh is receiving undeserved criticism for her diligence in making sure the village’s police force is led by the right individual.

We believe Haugh is indeed “following the law to the ‘T,'” as she stated at the last council meeting. How can she not? Honestly, how, with all the personal jabs tossed her way, can she not make sure all her “t’s” are crossed and her “i’s” are dotted?

It’s silly to think otherwise.

From the start of this process, which came about due to the death of longtime Police Chief Joe Scarabino, there appeared to be an undercurrent of ill-will toward the mayor from members of the community.

And, with each passing meeting, there’s been nothing but accusations flying through council chambers, the majority in the direction of the Haugh.

Again, according to Ohio Revised Code (737.15), it is the mayor’s duty to recommend an individual for the position. And it’s council’s job to make the official hire. Can that be any clearer?

It comes down to this: If council likes the recommendation, they approve the hiring. And if they don’t like the recommendation, they oppose it. Can that be any clearer?

So, with that said, it seems unfair to us that Haugh has had to constantly deflect the negativity that cascades upon her.

The village received 17 application packets for the position of police chief, which, to us, only makes the process both a bit tougher and longer.

The public – at least those whom have addressed council – has wanted Haugh to automatically recommend the person who appears to be the next in line – Lt. Ed Wilson, who has 30 years of law enforcement experience.

We believe Wilson, who has been acting chief for some time, would be an excellent candidate, but we also believe Wilson – the veteran lawman that he is – would want the selection process to be done completely and fairly. In fact, and rightly so, Wilson is indeed on Haugh’s short list, which includes three candidates total.

In our estimation, Haugh is doing the right thing. She’s going through the process set before her by state law. And it can’t be easy – for anyone.

We appreciate the public’s willingness to become involved in their community, especially by attending council meetings and expressing their views. But, they also need to understand that rules have been put in place, and Haugh is simply following them.

And who is to say any amount of “experience” provides someone with a better way to filter through a stack of applications and determine the best fit for a community?

Understand that Haugh was elected mayor of the village by registered voters. The majority of those who went to the polls on Election Day believed she was the right person for the position; that she was the right person to run the village.

Now let her do her job.

If you think you can do better, step up to the plate – as Haugh and members of council have done – and seek a position in governing the community you call home.