Ohio budget amendment gives court more power over parks

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – A proposed amendment to the Ohio State Budget Bill could affect the Mill Creek MetroParks.

The new amendment proposed by a Republican committee would give probate judges more power over park matters, locally, that would broaden power in Mahoning County by Judge Robert Rusu.

If the bill passes, Rusu could remove any park commissioner at any time as well as penalize outside groups that “interfere” with the park board’s mission.

State Representative John Boccieri says the law is too vague and gives judges too much power.

“This would have the fear or strong arm of the court leveling penalties or duties, as the legislative wording is, on people who may dissent or oppose or interfere with some sort of mission or purpose of the park board,” Boccieri said.

Judge Rusu said the amendment came as a surprise to him and thinks the current system works well. He said these types of amendments that are put through the state budget need to be vetted thoroughly.

The Mill Creek MetroParks board faced opposition last year when it laid off several staffers following the approval a tax levy and called for the dismissal of Director Aaron Young.