When Dwayne Pielech revealed earlier this month he is stepping down as director of the Belmont County Department of Job and Family Services, there was no hint of controversy. Pielech merely said that, "After 14 years as director ... I'm ready for a change." He added, "I love working with (county) commissioners and our staff ..."
It appears there is more to Pielech's decision.
On Tuesday, Belmont County commissioners voted to advertise for a new DJFS director to replace Pielech, who is leaving the post July 12. But while Commissioners Ginny Favede and Charles Probst Jr. voted in favor of the motion, Commissioner Matt Coffland abstained. Earlier in the month, Coffland had voted against accepting Pielech's resignation.
Commissioners were asked Tuesday about a letter from Pielech in which the director expressed concern about problems at the DJFS. Specifically, the letter allegedly refers to the relationship between commissioners and the agency.
Favede responded that most of the issues in question were handled in executive sessions closed to the public and news media, and could not be discussed in public. Probst indicated Pielech himself may be able to provide more details.
One way or another, taxpayers deserve to know more about the situation. They pay dearly to support the DJFS; by Pielech's own estimate, the agency has cost about $2 billion during his 14-year tenure.
If problems at the agency, whether they involve commissioners or not, were part of the reason Pielech decided to leave, Belmont County taxpayers have a right to know about them - and what has been or is being done to address them.