The Herald, Sharon, Pa.


August 24, 2013

Looking to the county to advertise my widgets

---- — I’ve decided I’m going to sell some widgets. I’m looking for a good way to advertise. Aside from the obvious – in The Herald. Hmmm, let me think.

I got it. I can call the county, use its letterhead, and send out notices to all of the residents in this area.

OK, I’m not really selling widgets (whatever they are). But after all, if FirstEnergy Solutions can do it, everybody who wants to advertise anything should be able to do it on county letterhead and be endorsed by our elected county officials.

That move probably should be illegal. We taxpayers paid for the stationery county letterhead that was used in the mailings. Not only that, it could be interpreted as showing favoritism toward one energy provider over others.

I would be surprised if the county wasn’t sued if others wanted such a form of free advertising and weren’t permitted to do so.

If other providers have better rates, won’t residents who believed the county plug be a bit upset?

John Lechner, chairman of the commissioners, said it really wasn’t advertising, the county was only trying to help constituents save money.

Many private entities or businesses might save residents money, so should the county endorse them as well?

If you want to save us money, maybe we don’t need to hire the assistant fiscal director that has been requested

To me, as a resident, that advertising mailing seems to be highly unethical.

Hey, come to think of it, I don’t need the commissioners. I’ll just write in my column that I have widgets for sale.

That wouldn’t be unethical would it? After all, under John’s philosophy, I would just be offering a good deal to my readers and I “simply wanted to pass the information along.”

I’m sure our company’s owners won’t mind, right?

Oh, they did mind? After I’m fired, though, I could run for county commissioner.

• As I read the Friday front page story about Wheatland Tube’s sulfuric solution spill that may have leaked into the Shenango River, it was encouraging to hear the Department of Environmental Protection state that the impact on the river was minimal. The DEP is pretty serious about stuff like that. And Wheatland Tube should be applauded for having the proper emergency plans in place to “plug the dike” so to speak and prevent serious pollution.

The DEP did say there were some dead fish so I couldn’t help but be reminded of the old joke about a company where a leak of chemicals went into the river.

That company official commented: “It wasn’t us polluting the river - it was all those dead fish!”

The Herald’s Lynn Saternow writes this column each week for the Opinion Page. He can be reached at

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