Experience, expertise, energy make Fuda the clear choice for Trumbull commissioner
Over the years, The VindicatorSFlb has lightheartedly compared the high-powered but no-nonsense character of veteran Trumbull County Commissioner Frank Fuda to that of the whimsical sunglass-clad pink bunny hawking Energizer batteries to the bang-bang beat of a big bass drum.
Like the Energizer Bunny, Fuda just keeps on going, showing absolutely no signs of slowing down toward reaching his goals of providing effective, constituent-first public service to the 200,000 residents of Trumbull County.
As an 11-year veteran on the three-member governing board of county commissioners, septuagenarian Fuda earns our endorsement wholeheartedly not only for his energy but also for his experience and expertise.
Fuda, who won about three-quarters of the vote in last spring’s Democratic Party primary despite being snubbed by the county Democratic Party, said his desire to see to fruition of several projects he helped initiate as a prime motivator for seeking another four-year term.
Those projects are many and varied. For example his fine-tuned networking skills with public officials at all levels of government have helped the county to oversee about $90 million in mammoth water, sewer and other infrastructure projects during his tenure.
The vast majority of those projects came to fruition thanks to grant awards that Fuda oversaw. The resulting improvements heighten the quality of life for residents and make the county more attractive to potential new businesses and industries.
STRONG FISCAL WATCHDOG
We also are drawn to Fuda for his long record of fiscal restraint in times of increasingly strained finances for local and county governments in Ohio. For example, since 2007, when he first assumed office, the former teacher has steadfastly opposed the hiring of a costly county administrator. Given two trials and errors in holding onto a county administrator over the past year, Fuda was proven correct.
In his meeting with members of The Vindicator Editorial Board earlier this month, the spry commissioner said he considered himself one of three elected administrators of the county simply by virtue of the post he holds.
He also remains vocal in his opposition to any county sales-tax increase imposed by commissioners without public hearings and a vote of the people. He is hoping that Ohio’s new governor – either Democrat Richard Cordray or Republican Mike DeWine – will oversee substantive increases in the state-financed Local Government Fund to the state’s political subdivisions.
The longtime Niles resident also has a strong grasp of the looming needs and challenges county faces. One of his top priorities, as it should be, is to work to reduce the scope of the opiate-addiction crisis that has hit his county particularly hard. Also on his radar are continued aggressive efforts to seek out state, federal and grant funding for additional infrastructure projects, ensuring safe, reliable and affordable public transportation service and monitoring the county’s budget to keep operating costs as low as possible without cutting services or forcing layoffs.
HIS REPUBLICAN CHALLENGER
Challenging Fuda on the Republican ticket is Mary Williams, a board member of both the Lakeview Local School District and the Trumbull County Career and Technical Center; and Niki Frenchko, an Independent who did not meet with the Editorial Board and therefore is disqualified from endorsement consideration.
Williams contends that the board of commissioners, as a whole, has become lackadaisical, particularly in implementing suggested cost-saving reforms from the Trumbull Budget Review Committee and in making stronger progress in economic development in the county, particularly in the skilled trades.
She also said the commissioners office has a tarnished reputation for hiring friends and family members for county jobs.
Fuda denies such allegations. “I’ve never had a list of people to give jobs to,” he said.
Though Williams would provide the board with considerable public administration and financial experience, she clearly lacks the breadth and depth of knowledge of county government management that Fuda has acquired over 12 years of passionate constituent-based service.
He has more than earned the trust – and the votes – of the Trumbull County electorate now through Nov. 6.
Editor’s Note: Details of the candidates’ positions on a range of issues can be found in Vindicator news stories, videos of Editorial Board interviews posted on vindy.com and by accessing the candidate survey forms on the website.