Board creates committees for Mill Creek Park, community weighs in

The Mill Creek MetroParks Board agreed on creating finance, development, wildlife, nature education, environment and horticulture committees

The Mill Creek MetroParks Board met to form advisory committees.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The public had a chance to comment Monday night about two proposals of how advisory committees for the Mill Creek MetroParks should be set up.

One proposal was from Executive Director Aaron Young and the other from board member Tom Shipka. According to Shipka, this is how they differed:

Young’s proposal:

  • Five committees
  • Committees report to him (executive director)
  • Committee members should have proven, documented experience and be residents of Mahoning County

Shipka’s proposal:

  • Nine committees
  • Committees report to the board
  • Committee members should have knowledge of and interest in an area

A majority of the people who spoke at the board of commissioners meeting Monday were in favor of certain parts of Shipka’s plans for the advisory committees.

Pam Garver wanted them reporting to the board, and not Young.

“I’m sorry Mr. Young, I think putting you in charge of committees is like putting a fox in charge of the hen house,” she said.

Former YSU Dean Dr. Barbara Brothers disputed Young’s idea that only Mahoning County residents be allowed on committees.

“Much money and support comes from people in nearby communities and counties. We should reach out more, rather than less, to them.”

Frank Nolasco, a finalist for the most recent two openings on the board, wondered why there was any delay at all.

“I feel that I’m being dishonored, that you think we’re stupid, that we can’t participate intelligently in these committees. We can.”

One man suggested there be five committees, as Young proposed, with three members each. He said they should report to the board and Young.

“With the original proposal, in my opinion, you will end up with stagnation.”

Another woman called it an “Aaron Young stalling tactic,” and could see no reason why the board should vote against Shipka’s proposal.

“You pass this, try it, do it. If it doesn’t work, change it.”

At a work session after the meeting, the board decided to keep almost all of Shipka’s guidelines for operating the committees. The only change was decreasing the number of committees from nine to seven.

The board agreed on creating finance, development, wildlife, nature education, environment and horticulture committees. It decided to merge recreation and volunteers into one committee, and eliminate employee relations.

The board will vote on Shipka’s proposal, which is expected to pass, at its next meeting.

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