Here comes the ax. After a quiet first month as county executive, Ed FitzGerald announces that four county officials are heading out the door.
FitzGerald won't keep engineer Robert Klaiber, who failed to notice how his top deputies corrupted his office. He's saying goodbye to coroner Frank Miller, who hired corruption-implicated Strongsville councilman Pat Coyne, then blamed Bill Mason. He's showing the door to Deb Forkas, head of children and family services, who's been held accountable for the deaths of six kids in families her agency monitored. He's also replacing Susan Axelrod, head of senior and adult services.
It's FitzGerald's second dramatic break with the past this week. Wednesday, he announced that four county employees elected to suburban city councils as Democrats will have to resign from either their council seats or their county jobs.
Interestingly, three of them are Parma councilmen: Brian Day, Tom Regas, and Roy Jech. You may remember Regas as Bill Mason's drunk-driving buddy and Day from the board of revisions controversy; also, Day's brother Tom is very close to Mason. Jech is best-known lately for sticking his finger in Dale Miller's face on the Plain Dealer's front page.
The fourth, Danny Colonna, is from next door, in Brook Park. The move is part of the new government's attempt to implement civil service rules and abolish the patronage machines in the auditor's office, recorder's office, and so forth.
The next question is whether Bill Mason's employees who serve on partisan city councils will also have to resign one job or the other. Last March, the Plain Dealer reported that 11 suburban councilpeople worked in the prosecutor's office. If their towns have nonpartisan elections, they're OK. But the ones that have partisan elections may also have to choose.