Trustees deserve credit for Howland's success

Richard E. Orwig, who is completing 20 years as a trustee in Howland Township, says he doesn't know why William B. Jobe is running against him in the November general election. After interviewing Jobe, who has been in the news over the last year or so because of his battle with Trumbull County Sheriff Thomas Altiere, we aren't sure either.
Given that Howland continues to enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the Mahoning Valley and has a government that is, by all accounts, responsive to the needs of the residents, the argument for replacing a successful incumbent must be strong. Jobe fails to make such an argument.
Rather, he contends that the trustees are shirking their responsibilities because they have handed over the day-to-day operation of township government to Administrator John Emanuel. He also says there isn't a great deal of public participation in the regular meetings of the board of trustees because residents are intimidated. But when things are running smoothly and there aren't major problems plaguing the community, residents rarely turn out for routine meetings.
Budget: While Jobe was critical of the salary that is paid to the administrator, Emanuel, he was unable to provide The Vindicator editorial board with any details about the township's budget. A candidate who is suggesting that the trustees are wasting money should be able to discuss the operating budget.
Orwig, who served for 16 years on the Howland school board, and Sally Wehmer, who was appointed trustee nine months ago after Darlene St. George resigned to become administrator of Liberty Township, have earned the support of Howland voters.
While acknowledging that she is still learning the ropes, Mrs. Wehmer, who served on the Howland Board of Education for 17 years, has a firm grasp of the township's finances and the issues that most concern the residents.
Both trustees said that it is important for Howland to establish Joint Economic Development districts with adjoining communities in order to benefit from job-creation initiatives and to avoid political upheavals that result in legal battles.
As for the township administrator, Orwig and Mrs. Wehmer were unwavering in their support of Emmanuel and contended that he has saved the township money because of his negotiating abilities and his success at securing federal and state grants.
The Vindicator endorses the incumbents for re-election. Three other candidates in the race, James McCloskey, Gust Michelakis and Larry Sudano did not appear before the editorial board.