April 16, 2014

Elyria
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‘Childish’ accusations deny Tom Williams County Commission presidency

Tom Williams

Tom Williams

ELYRIA — Lorain County Commissioner Tom Williams said he felt like he was back in junior high school on Monday after his fellow commissioners refused to name him president of the Board of Commissioners for the second year in a row.

“It’s childish,” Williams said.

Commissioner Lori Kokoski, who nominated Commissioner Ted Kalo to serve a second year as board president, said she didn’t believe Williams had earned the right to lead the board. She said Williams doesn’t communicate well with her or Kalo and has repeatedly blindsided them by bringing up issues at meetings without informing them beforehand.

She also said that Williams had stopped being her friend on Facebook.

“I knew I wasn’t going to get the position, but that shocked the hell out of me,” Williams said after the meeting. “I never thought at a government meeting someone would get upset about Facebook.”

Lori Kokoski

Lori Kokoski

Williams said he dropped Kokoski as a Facebook friend in December 2012 after family members of other Democrats began making personal attacks against him on the social media site. Williams declined to publicly identify who had made those comments on his Facebook page.

Kokoski said she doesn’t know anything about attacks on Williams, but she said that he has done a lot to undermine his fellow commissioners in recent years, including turning a dispute over Lorain raising sewer rates in Amherst Township into a political issue. Both Kalo and Kokoski are Democrats, while Williams, who is seeking re-election this year, is a Republican.

“I don’t think he did anything to earn it,” Kokoski said. “He always tries to make us look bad. There’s no camaraderie. It’s always him against us.”

She also pointed to a comment Williams once made about only trusting one person in county government — his former administrative assistant, Neil Lynch — as a reason why he shouldn’t lead the board.

“That’s like paranoia,” she said. “He doesn’t trust people in county government. He thinks everything’s a big conspiracy.”

Up until last year, the commissioners had traditionally rotated the position of president and vice president each year. But when Williams was due to become president in 2013, Kokoski instead nominated Kalo to serve as president, bypassing Williams.

At the time, Kokoski, who was re-elected vice president of the board Monday, acknowledged that she wanted to punish Williams for the divisions she believed he created on the board.

Kokoski said Monday Kalo has done a good job of serving as president, a post that carries with it membership on several boards, including the Lorain County Solid Waste Management District Policy Committee and the county’s Data Processing Board.

Williams said he would have liked the chance to serve on some of those boards, particularly the Data Processing Board. In recent years, he has unsuccessfully pushed to create a county-wide information technology department.

Kalo said he didn’t see anything all that controversial in Williams being passed over as board president.

“It’s no different than any other political setting,” he said. “The majority sets the leadership.”

Williams also cast blame for being denied the board presidency on Lorain County Democratic Party Chairman Anthony Giardini.

“I understand you take your orders from Giardini,” Williams said to Kalo and Kokoski during the meeting. Both denied the accusation.

Giardini, who wasn’t at the meeting, said he had nothing to do with who the commissioners named president.

“I have never talked to Ted or Lori about Tom Williams serving as anything on the commission,” he said. “Tom Williams doesn’t even believe what he said. He said it only because he thinks it will score some points with certain voters to have a bad guy.”

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.

  • Denise Caruloff

    and there ya have it folks…I used to admire lori when she was on council…ugh…..it was tom’s turn whether liked or not…I believe this childish behavior will win Tom more votes…so …so be it.

  • GreatRedeemer

    Maybe instead of playing on Facebook they could get to work .Get that audit going on how Mark Stewart was paid from the Auditor’s office for back sick pay, not the county general fund and what exactly and how much are these funds for. Why does the airport continue to lose money year after year? There are more but let’s say we start there.

    • JustTheFacts

      Per a previous post I am assuming that you have looked at the entire 2012 CAFR. Besides the General Fund there are multiple other funds of the County. Reading the fund descriptions will tell you what each fund is and what its purpose is. There are no secret or private funds as you constantly state. Also, if you notice, the 2012 CAFR was audited by the Auditor of State, as is done every year (the Auditor of State’s website goes back 15 years of audits on their website).

  • Summer Smart

    The entire situation is childish. Lori is correct to say Williams blindsided them on more than one occasion. Facebook should have been left out of this, but I believe Williams is pushing that side of it and promoting the childishness. They all need to remember that they were elected in by the voters, the people who pay their paychecks.

  • CharlesMartel732

    What an embarrassing backwater this area has become. Lorain County will never move forward until this clown car is taken to the scrap yard.

  • SniperFire

    Lorain County is about half a generation away from total collapse into a government-dependency cesspool.

  • sayitwearit

    “There’s no camaraderie. It’s always him against us.” Hmmm, maybe it’s him for the people and you are not for the people. This nonsense of discussing things in private before you go to a public meeting does nothing for the public. Lorain County is dying a miserable death while politicians play their games.

    • jz

      Unfortunately it’s like that all over. Look at Christie in New Jersey. How can anyone believe his bull about the bridge shutdown? To punish a mayor from another city? What would seem far fetched happens. What if Lori and Tony are right about Williams approach? Only those close would know. Lori never struck me as someone who doesn’t care about Lorain county.

      • Larry Crnobrnja

        That’s a hilarious comment, especially considering Kokoski admitted to PUNISHING Williams. Ya just can’t make this kind of stuff up!

        • jz

          It goes on all over. From both parties the childishness and “paybacks” have gone overboard lately.That is why many politicians have publicly announced getting out of the game due to this types of behavior. Do you really think Christie in New Jersey was not a part of the “punishment’ towards that opposing parties /cities mayor?

          • It has to stop

            It’s been very visible during the years Mr Williams has been commissioner of the 2 K’s fighting him every step of the way. If you haven’t seen it then you need to take your blinders off.

          • Larry Crnobrnja

            Since it looks like we’re deflecting, DO YOU REALLY THINK OBAMA BELIEVED THE ATTACK ON OUR CONSULATE IN BENGHAZI WAS BECAUSE OF A YOUTUBE VIDEO?

  • Jamie Smith

    OH…..Its going to be so WONDERFUL to have MATT LUNDY as our new county commissioner. No more Drama to be had !!!!

    • It has to stop

      No stop gap either. Just like when you had Blair with the 2 clowns (Kalo,Kokoski) and they put a levy on the ballot and it was soundly defeated but against the wishes of the voters put the increase through anyhow.
      If it hadn’t been been for Mr Williams they would have done it again.
      As far as no drama, how is Lundy being a commissioner going to stop Kokoski and her boyfriends from having their pajama biting parties? Was that Mr Williams fault also?

      • anonymous

        What does retired Commissioner Blair have to do with the constant complaining of Tom Williams and how the two K’s keep picking on him and the conspiracy that the two of them have against him? He has done nothing but complain since day one since he took office. In all actuality, I am getting tired of listening and reading his poor ole me crap in the newspaper. I will NOT be voting for him again!!!!

        • It has to stop

          It was in reference to when there were 3 democratic commissioners who after the failed sales tax levy imposed an emergency levy against the wishes of the tax payer.
          If Mr Williams speaking out about the 2 K’s and their efforts to stop him at every step of the way in bettering this county is complaining so be it.
          You can go ahead and keep being part of the problem like the rest of the sheep of Lorain County and don’t vote for him.

          • anonymous

            I apologize to you, I read your comment the wrong way. I now understand what you were talking about. Thank you!

          • It has to stop

            This is from an article from the CT dated Dec 9, 2010.

            Without Kokoski, her fellow commissioners, Ted Kalo and the retiring Betty Blair, can’t impose an emergency sales tax increase that would take effect in April and remain in place for a year. Voters would have to approve making the tax permanent — something they refused to do in 2009 for a 0.5 percent increase.

            Blair said she remains committed to getting a sales tax increase passed because it’s necessary for the county’s longterm financial stability. She said she would be willing to put it to the voters and even would agree to a five-year limit on the increase.

    • Tim Watson

      Only if hes worried about safety and protecting citizens.

  • Michelle

    Kalo didn’t see anything controversial about Williams being passed over LMAO! Kalo were you president last year ? The 2 K’s (aka) the Kardashians, must of had their toys taken from them as children. It’s called sharing, something even my 2 year old knows how to do! These 2 look like clowns! I’ve been laughing for 2 days over this Facebook issue, hilarious! Poor Williams, has to deal with such childish behavior! The Kardashians are digging a deep hole and its back firing in their face! Ill continue reading these articles well written by The Chronicle lmao This is better than the show on Tv!

  • Danielle Winchester

    Williams doesn’t have to do anything to make kokoski or kalo look bad… they do it all on their own by thinking they r better then everyone else… we need all new commisioners in office and get the big heads out.

  • Jacob Baumann

    “That’s like paranoia,” she said. “He doesn’t trust people in county government. He thinks everything’s a big conspiracy.” If you were caught repeatedly breaking the Sunshine laws…I wouldn’t trust you either. Oh…wait…you were. lmfao

  • Don Grantzki

    Can’t blame the parasites. The blame lies completely with the voters who insist on returning the same tired, old, inept folks into office. The cure would be a one four year term limit for them ALL.

  • Chipper

    These 3 need to go. Need new, fresh blood in there. Kalo and Kokoski have been in there way too long. Williams seems like a big baby.

    • Tim Watson

      I agree priorities are out of whack. Closing the Elyria jail while shootings and murders are normal is a joke. Heroin epidemic??? Wonder why???

      • It has to stop

        I hope you realize that the closing of the jail has nothing to do with the county.
        Uneducated voters is the biggest problem this county has.

  • Marlie

    “She also said that Williams had stopped being her friend on Facebook.” Don’t worry Williams, this article definitely will be changing my vote at the next election as I’m sure it will others. We do not need such childish people in these positions. Unbelievable.

  • jjj

    Bye Lori Baby…go cry in the corner when you lose the next election. Unless the facebook account was connected to his work he can do what he wants with it. Sounds more like he has brought some new blood into the mix, doesn’t feel he gets a fair shake with them and has to bring issues up publicly so they get aired. What a bunch of children.

  • It has to stop

    It’s pretty simple folks. This has been going on before Mr Williams got into office. Even with Blair in office the 2 K’s were mismanaging this county. It has got even worse and instead of trying to work with Mr Williams they are more concerned about wanting to violate the sunshine laws and having hurt feelings over a Facebook issue. If you don’t care about the direction this county is going then go ahead and vote Lundy in and when it’s time keep the 2 clowns in with him you’ll deserve what you get. Sad thing is for all the voters who do care about this county and will not vote because someone is a democrat or republican but will vote for the best person for the office are going to get screwed.
    My vote is going with Mr Williams who sincerely is trying to better this county and is the only stop gap in office that is keeping the 2 K’s from destroying things even more.

  • Shelley Miller

    While this situation is somewhat pathetic.. ok, really pathetic, it does make things much clearer when it is time to vote again.

  • FoodForThought63

    The problem is that so many people in this county vote “D” straight down the ticket. They don’t bother to know for who they are even voting. It is evident they do not support those they voted for come time for the tax increases, so why do they continuously keep voting these people in? Both K’s just won re-election bids, so it will be awhile til they are up for re-election again. And sadly, they will probably be voted in again by democrats who would never imagine voting in a republican, even if he is truly the only one with any sense out of the group.

  • Matthew Gerhart

    Fire all of them, pathetic!!! sorry example for publicly elected officials..

  • Stan K

    I think its fitting that these bunch of LOSERS are running Lorain countyYes I said LOSERS! Kalo.Kokoski and Williams are losers and as long as they continue holding on to their seats,Lorain county will lose.They are a prime example of the type of people Lorain county has to offer.

  • LookBackTwo

    “I don’t think he did anything to earn it,” Kokoski said. “He always tries to make us look bad.” As if this requires anyone’s help!

  • Conservator440

    This comes as no surprise. Keep voting D. If you always do what you always did, you always get what you always got.