YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – 16 people spoke during the public comment session at Monday night’s meeting of the Mill Creek MetroParks Board of Commissioners.
13 people were critical of Executive Director Aaron Young, with most of them demanding he be fired.
There were moments when the meeting was a free-for-all, with people speaking over one another, and the commission president gaveling people to order.
The meeting started with Ray Novotny, one of the 13 people recently let go by Mill Creek MetroParks, receiving a standing ovation after being named Naturalist Emeritus.
“I want Aaron Young removed because he terminated 13 hard-working, loyal employees, harshly,” said Judy Peyko of Citizens for Mill Creek MetroParks.
Susie Beiersdorfer, one of the leaders in the Stop Fracking effort, told the board about the consequences of what she called a “public relations nightmare.”
“Have left many, many citizens with a total lack of trust in the current park commissioners and the executive director,” she said.
Kathleen Berry directed some of her comments toward Commission Chairman John Ragan.
“And Mr. Ragan, I’ve watched your smug smile as people have spoken and you should be ashamed,” Berry said.
More than once, Ragan had to ask for order.
“Public comment now if you guys don’t want to abide by the rules, please,” he said.
With the meeting winding down, Youngstown’s Kate McAllen spoke in support of the commissioners and Young, and was met with cat calls from the audience.
“You think you’re the majority. I’ve got news for you. We’re sick of listening to you. It’s the 20 people who are here who have absolutely nothing to do,” she said.
At one point during McAllen’s comments, a woman stood up and took off her Mill Creek Park shirt in protest, threw it on the floor and walked out of the room in her sports bra.
“Here is the shirt that I took so much pride in wearing,” the woman said.
“That’s your democracy, that is your spokesperson people,” McAllen said in response.
After McAllen spoke she was escorted to her car by a MetroParks policeman.