More explanation needed

The installation of traffic monitoring cameras in the city of East Liverpool has been a volatile issue to say the least.

Since the cameras went into use and motorists began receiving fines for speeding in the mail in April, many have voiced their anger over the issue at City Council meetings and elsewhere, especially on social media sites. That’s why we were not surprised when a group of city voters filed a petition to place an initiative on the November ballot calling for the end of the city’s traffic camera enforcement program.

East Liverpool Auditor Marilyn Bosco, however, on the election filing deadline day, decided not to certify the issue to the ballot, saying that those who filed the petition “waited too long” to do so.

The petition contained 224 valid signatures, which exceeded the 173 required, and was certified by the county board of elections which returned it to Bosco.

Bosco contends that the citizens’ initiative should have been filed earlier this year when City Council first instituted the traffic camera program. She told this newspaper that she based her decision on a similar case in North Canton in 2008 where the finance director also failed to approve a petition to be placed on the ballot because he found the petition to be an untimely referendum. That case ultimately was upheld by the Ohio Fifth District Court of Appeals.

Bosco may legally be right, but she could have handled it with more diplomacy. She sent an email to the board of elections and had the police hand-deliver letters to the three people who headed the petition campaign, saying only, “I cannot certify the sufficiency and validity of the petition to the board of elections.” She only provided a more detailed explanation when quizzed by the newspaper.

Bosco’s decision may stand the test if challenged in court, but the people who gathered and submitted more than 330 signatures on the petition, obviously felt strongly enough about this issue to go to this effort and they, along with the public at large, deserve a better explanation, than the one sentence contained in the letter.

She owes the people who elected and employ her more than this vague, terse letter.

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