The Scioto County Children Service’s Board has been under fire lately. At Wednesday’s organizational meeting, it was their turn to level some criticism. Board members expressed frustration with Scioto County Commissioners for vacancies on the board. One spot has been open since last June.
Normally, the board of directors picks leadership for the year during the organizational meeting. However, board member Kevin E. Johnson didn’t think it was a good time. “Can we consider moving this to another meeting after we have a full board? We’re at a 70% board right now.”
Johnson, who also serves as the mayor of Portsmouth, recently announced he was leaving City Government at the end of his term later this year. He felt any new board members should be part of the decision-making process of electing officers.
Barnett Disappointed With Commissioners
Board President, Rodney Barnett, said he wasn’t sure when County Commissioners would fill the vacancies, though he’s heard rumors. “I received a text from a lady who applied to be on this board. She’s been at some of our meetings. She said they are supposed to decide tomorrow. But I don’t know for sure.”
Barnett said that while he understood the delay in finding replacements for the members who left the board at the end of the year, he feels there’s no excuse for not replacing a spot that’s been vacant since June.
Tony Mantell resigned shortly before his son Jason was named the new director of the troubled agency in July. He made the move to prevent any potential conflict of interest. The seat has remained vacant. Barnett said, “They’ve had six months to make that appointment. It hasn’t happened. I’m disappointed that the position wasn’t filled sometime within the last six months. I understand fully the two who chose not to come back. That was December 31st. But the one that’s been gone six months, I don’t understand that. I’m disappointed. We did not have that ninth member in the month of July, August, September, October, November, and December.”
If you check out the Children Services website, the place where board members should be listed, remains blank.
Director Jason Mantell suggested the board appoint a temporary president and vice president with the understanding that they would vote again in February once new members are in place.
The board voted unanimously to temporarily retain its current officers and revisit the issue when the board is once again at full strength.
Barnett said he doesn’t even know how many members the board will have. “Does anyone have any idea if we’re going to have 9 or 10? I have no clue.”
Mantell said he had an appointment scheduled with the commissioners on Thursday and would discuss the matter.
The agency was hit by a storm of criticism after the 2019 murder of baby Dylan Groves. The trial of his parents made national headlines. Both the prosecution and defense pointed fingers at Children Services. The State of Ohio moved in to take over and reorganize the entire agency.
This last summer little Annabell Greene died after CPS placed her in the kinship care of her grandparents despite previous child neglect charges against the pair.
This prompted CPS to double-check all of its background checks on foster parents.