By BILL APPPLEGATE, Vice President and General Manager of WOIO/WUAB

MAY 21, 2003

There has been a lot of news out of Parma recently, and none of it very good.

Consider this current litany of misfortune:

The Parma Police Department, burdened for years with a bad image, has dissolved into the Keystone Cops. But instead of pratfalls, these guys stick their paws in the till -- stealing heaven knows how much money in bogus overtime payments until The Plain Dealer caught them at it earlier this year.

Voters in Parma, fed up with that nonsense, reacted at the polls this month by defeating a $2 million tax levy to fund the police force. As a result, there have been police layoffs and (oddly enough) threats of reduced fire service.

But that's not all.

Just last week came allegations of financial abuse at the Parma dog warden's office.

And that's not all either.

A Parma city councilman is now in trouble after police say they found a bunch of underage kids drunk in the backyard of his house.

It's become a real and unfortunate soap opera.

At least there was some good news on Tuesday when Parma Police Chief Mark Manning announced he was retiring. Retiring, some suggest, before he was run out of town on a rail.

Fortunately, a new police chief may be able to restore some credibility to the department. Certainly, he or she will have an opportunity to make the situation better. And new leadership all around in Parma might also be a welcome event for its beleaguered citizens.

Write and let me know what you think. Here's the address:

    1717 East 12th Street
    Cleveland, OH 44114