Thursday, September 16, 2010

Rant: Tom Skeldon

For anyone who has never read my occasional comment about Tom "Baby Doc" Skeldon, allow me to express my opinion of this miscreant as succinctly as possible: Lower than the scum that collects on the bottom of Toledo's inner city sewer system. Skeldon was the Lucas County dog warden, mainly because of family ties to Lucas County commissioner Tina Skeldon-Wozniak and political ties to Pete Gerken. Skeldon enjoyed killing dogs that were captured by his own version of the Tonton Macoute, but after killing one puppy too many the general public started calling for his head on a platter. Instead, they got Baby Doc's resignation (here and here). Baby Doc should have been fired and sent to prison for the rest of his natural life, but in some cases there is no justice.

While Baby Doc held office, license fees continued to climb as Baby Doc pleaded departmental poverty and Lucas County commissioners Tina Skeldon-Wozniak and Pete Gerken failed to object. Less than one year since Baby Doc left office the Toledo Blade reveals that there is a surplus of almost $900,000 in the dog warden's coffers.

Though Lucas County officials have for months pleaded poverty in resisting calls for improvements to the dog warden's kennels and operations, records obtained by The Blade show the department sitting on a fast-rising surplus of nearly $900,000.

Fueled by proceeds from the county's $25 dog license fee - the highest in Ohio - the warden's "dog-and-kennel fund" has grown about $300,000 annually since 2008, reaching $873,414 this year.
License fees could have been cut and homes could have been found for unwanted dogs. Instead, it was easier and a whole lot more fun for Baby Doc Skeldon to kill the dogs and watch the money build up.

One commissioner, Ben Konop, spoke out against Baby Doc from the beginning. Here is Ben's comment about the surplus, Baby Doc and government in general, courtesy of WTOL:

While dogs are dying because of lack of space, lack of medical care, and a lack of a comprehensive adoption outreach program, the department's reserve fund has quadrupled since 2007, apparently due in large part to the license fee increase strenuously advocated for by previous Dog Warden Tom Skeldon. This swelling surplus in conjunction with the continuing rate of euthanasia is an unconscionable misuse of taxpayer revenue and a prime example of how county government is broken.  
The Lucas County government has been riding on a bent axle for years. The only county commissioner who had any sense of financial responsibility and county government authority is Maggie Thurber, and she was always at odds with the other two over little things like authority granted by the State law, fiscal responsibility and the need for lower taxation.

If the Lucas county government is ever going to be fixed, the very first thing we need to do is get rid of Pete Gerken (term expires 2013) and Tina Skeldon-Wozniak (term expires 2013). For my money, rather than waiting three years both could be impeached, tared and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail.

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