Our opinion: Where are the servants?

Indications are that all is well in Warren County.

Our schools and their administration are virtually utopian. The City of Warren basks in the warm sunlight of governmental nirvana.

Or, so it would seem from the dearth of candidates for the Warren County School Board and Warren City Council.

Jack Werner and Tom Knapp, the incumbent school board representatives from regions 2 and 3 respectively, are unchallenged and have cross-filed on both lines.

Region 1, which includes the City of Warren, has only one candidate for two seats apparently being exited by their current owners, Dr. Paul Yourchisin and John Grant, who have not filed for re-election. Paul Mangione, the only person to officially seek election to the school board in Region 1, will join a board of directors that is responsible for the largest budget, one of the largest employment rosters, the largest local tax bills, and traditionally the most fertile environment for controversy in the county.

Maybe that last attribute is one of the reasons that no more than one person from the City of Warren or its immediate surroundings is willing to step forward and take on the work and the heat of planning and overseeing the education of our children.

As for the City of Warren, there are three seats on council up for election and only two official candidates, incumbents Jim Zavinski and John Lewis. Councilman Chris Park’s seat is also up, though Park has already given up the seat because he’s moving out of town. His interim replacement, Joe Sprentz, has not filed for a full term and neither have two other candidates who were nominated by council for the interim position.

Mayor Mark Phillips has indicated his “retirement” from council service by not seeking a new term, and Councilman Maurice Cashman is the only official candidate to replace him. That will leave the new council with Cashman’s seat to fill.

So, it could very well come to pass that someone will serve on City Council on the basis of having sufficient friends and relatives willing to type in his or her name on an electronic ballot.

Could it also be that the controversies and embarrassments that have swirled through city government over the past few years could have also chilled the interest in that board as well? And, if so, shouldn’t it be the other way around?

It’s sad that a handful of write-ins will have to pass for a popular mandate to fill positions as important as these for so many people.

The other day we quoted the old saw that you get what you pay for. In a democracy you are supposed to get who you vote for, unless of course, there is no one to vote for.