2017 General Assembly Report
More than 200 members of the General Assembly of TMACOG members met January 30 to caucus in peer groups, vote on leadership and changes to TMACOG bylaws, and listen to a keynote presentation about border security in the Lake Erie region. Caucus groups discussed a wide range of issues from cost of maintaining a police force, to Ohio’s new high school graduation requirements. See a synopsis of caucus conversation on the TMACOG Blog.
At the business meeting, members voted to retain Sylvania Mayor Craig Stough as chair of TMACOG. The new vice chair is Doris I. Herringshaw, the president of Wood County Commissioners. She replaces Richard Edwards, mayor of Bowling Green, who served in 2016. He declined a second term because of the press of duties elsewhere.
Doris Herringshaw has been active on TMACOG committees. She was appointed a Wood County Commissioner on January 10, 2013 and elected to serve her first full term in 2015. Prior to becoming commissioner, she had a long career with Ohio State University Extension in Wood County and worked with county commissioners and educators in a 10-county area. In brief remarks at the General Assembly she said, “I am looking forward to working with Chairman Stough, President Brown and the local government officials that come together to make this a stronger region. I thank each of you for your commitment to the region and for looking beyond your local entity to ask what can we do better if we do it together.”
Changes to the bylaws were approved by members. The changes cleaned up some language specifying the governance of TMACOG as the region’s Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) as required by the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration. An additional change dissolved the Programming & Education Committee. The work of planning for TMACOG Tech sessions and other professional education opportunities for elected officials will be taken up by the Membership Committee. The Growth Strategies Council was also dissolved. It had been an ad hoc group for many years and members had not requested its services since 2004.
Matthew J. Grupe, Patrol Agent in Charge at the Sandusky Bay Border Patrol Station in Port Clinton, was the featured speaker. Agent Grupe is responsible for all Border Patrol Operations and personnel in northern Ohio from areas west of Toledo to the Pennsylvania state line. Patrol Agent in Charge (PAIC) Grupe explained that his agency’s job is the protection of the borders for the regions between points of entry.
While the southern border with Mexico is monitored with cameras, drones, and other observation tools, the northern border is maintained with personnel working in concert with local residents and law enforcement. Grupe noted that more that people from more than 100 countries have been caught trying to enter the U.S. illegally. While Border Patrol agents are required to learn Spanish, he suggested that that requirement might be outdated.
Grupe described how the Border Patrol partners with regional law enforcement and brings his agency’s international intelligence to bear. He cited as an example, several separate cases of heroin trafficking around the country that local law enforcement groups struggled with. The cases turned out to be related when the Border Patrol researched where the traffickers were coming from. In the Lake Erie region, Grupe noted that his group does not own any boats (Lake Erie is considered “big water” which falls under the U.S. Coast Guard’s scope) but does partner with the Coast Guard and local governments. In the last year, his team met with more than 200 marina operators in Ohio to form partnerships with people who are on the water regularly. Learn more about the Border Patrol here.
The first chair of TMACOG, retired judge Andy Devine, shares the oath of office
with Chair Craig Stough and Vice Chair Doris Herringshaw.
Outgoing Vice Chair Richard Edwards welcomes incoming Vice Chair Doris Herringshaw
Richard Edwards, 2016 Vice Chair, with incoming Vice Chair Doris Herringshaw
and returning Chair Craig Stough.
Toledo City Council Member Cecelia Adams and Cynthia Tetterton-Williams
from the Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority.
County Commissioners and administrators meet in their caucus session at the
2017 General Assembly.
More than TMACOG members and other elected officials attended the 2017
General Assembly at the Holiday Inn French Quarter in Perrysburg.